In a study late last year of 98 Australian and 50 New Zealand firms, ANZ Forrester analyst Sam Higgins found that 52 per cent of companies listed the adoption of core management processes such as ITIL as a priority. Reflecting that eagerness, 75 per cent said that they were retraining their staff to make use of such processes as part of their ongoing education investment.
ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), a vendor-neutral approach to measuring IT service delivery, was first introduced by the UK government in 1989, but has grown in popularity in recent years. CMM (Capability Maturity Model) and its successor, CMMI, were developed by Carnegie Mellon, initially for use in defence software development.
However, companies didn't show anywhere near the same level of enthusiasm when it came to assessing external service providers. None of the surveyed customers listed expertise in ITIL or other service management approaches as "very important" in their selection of external vendors and only 20 per cent even ranked it as important. "The majority didn't care," Higgins said.
The disparity in such figures would appear to reflect confusion over the roles process management can play in large enterprises, since a lack of clearly defined processes and measurement strategies are frequently cited as causes of outsourcing failure.
Other recent data also suggests that local businesses have yet to clearly define their outsourcing strategies. A survey last month by Gartner found that 84 per cent of Australian companies had no formal outsourcing strategy in place.