If you’re like most media, publishing or information companies, over the last several years you have outsourced much of your application maintenance, development and support. You have likely moved your on-site employees into new roles or off the payroll. You’ve seen efficiency in the form of cost reductions, and have probably gotten easier access to scarce technology skills than you might have otherwise. But to what end? As rapid changes in technology force you to reevaluate how you deliver your products and services to your customers, you are probably finding that you have sacrificed innovation for efficiency. How did this happen?
The result should not be surprising. To gain the costs savings you wanted, work was broken down into smaller parts that were easily repeatable and required relatively little understanding of the business context. Carry on that model for several years, and over time your knowledge base disappears, and there is no one left who can effectively look at the entirety of your application environment and recommend real changes to drive innovation. You now need to put the pieces back together, reassess where you are, and come up with an approach that emphasizes not just efficiency, but innovation as well. To do this, you need to ask yourself four questions:
1. What work makes sense to outsource?
2. What service levels does the business require?
3. How much risk am I willing to accept?
4. Can my current technology partners get me to where I need to go?
These are not simple questions, and a good answer will likely require a fair amount of work and reflection. However, not taking the time now to reassess where you need to be increases the risk that your current technology support approaches put you increasingly behind the technology curve, and worse, increasingly behind your competition.