TON Program Highlights: Is Outsourcing Flexible?

June 3, 2013

At TON’s (The Outsourcing Network) final program of the season on May 28, 2013 we got a chance to take a look at outsourcing’s purported flexibility. We had a case involving rapid scaling of outsourcing in India, presented by Thomas Kempf, Deputy CIO, Saxo Bank; and we had a case of shutting down an outsourcing operation in Ukraine, presented by Jesper Nyvold Larsen, Development Director, Maconomy/Deltek. Via these two cases, we were able to compare and contrast experiences with outsourcing’s flexibility. Just how easy or difficult is it to rapidly expand or contract outsourcing? Is it as “plug and play” as its reputation suggests? The presentations and the robust speed-dating discussion session following indicate that in fact, it’s not so flexible. There are substantial challenges in scaling and transferring experiences and knowledge that limit the pace with which organizations can expand or contract outsourcing, or for that matter, achieve success at all. It’s abundantly clear among the TON community who participated in the program that outsourcing buying organizations’ internal processes and environment must be properly aligned and prepared in order to leverage any potential flexibility. This means that strategy, documentation, process descriptions, and mechanisms for retaining critical knowledge absolutely must be in place to be able to garner any flexibility in outsourcing.