IT strategy: the vendor view

Jonathan Steel, chairman and CEO of consultancy The Bathwick Group, gives his views.

The test of the applicability of outsourcing is: can it deliver the objectives of that business just as flexibly, but quicker and, if necessary, more cheaply?

Many early outsourcing deals were seen as a way of getting rid of a tangle of problems where there wasn’t enough management talent or time to sort them out. This approach should have been, and often was, doomed to failure.

Smartsourcing is a natural development as both the providers and customers of outsourcing mature in their understanding of a complex problem.

Of course, businesses must understand what they are buying and manage the process, just as they would in any other part of the business, but the promise of smartsourcing is timely and effective. Who could have predicted a few years ago that the Internet would have such an impact on the way businesses work?

Smartsourcing offers the opportunity to gain new systems and skills rapidly, while learning what knowledge needs to be transferred into the organisation and what can be sourced more efficiently outside.

Perhaps there is no such thing as a new idea, but there is certainly a better way of applying old ones; smartsourcing can be, and will be, just that.

Bathwick’s SmartSourcing conference is at Ascot on 14 April. More details at

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