IT departments left out of outsourcing decisions

IT departments and finance need to start talking the same language if they are to reap the benefits outsourcing can provide

Most companies view outsourcing as a good way of cutting costs and don't ask for input from the IT department when making such decisions, according to research released this week by Unisys.

The company found that two thirds of the financial directors and chief executives surveyed believe the finance division is far more influential than the IT department when it comes to decisions about outsourcing.

The research also shows that the finance division views outsourcing almost entirely as a means to cut costs, which Unisys believes exposes projects to potential failure from the word go.

This view often prevails because IT directors do not have input at the highest management level: fewer than half of the cheif executives had a place on the board, with the IT function usually being represented by finance.

Paul Bevan, business development director, Unisys UK, said: "If companies simply view outsourcing as a cost cutting exercise then they actually risk weakening their business. The benefit of outsourcing is the access it provides to the technologies, people and methodologies that a business could not develop or sustain on its own. If IT is not involved in the decision making process the broader view is frequently lost."

Bevan also believes that far from taking power - and possibly even jobs -- away from the IT department, outsourcing can improve its standing within companies. He added: "When organisations come to measure what IT delivers for the business, it must be in terms of the value it adds rather than on a cost saving basis -- and this must also include IT outsourcing projects.

"This is one core area of business in which IT and finance need to start talking the same language if they are to really reap the benefits that outsourcing can provide. Organisations need to view it as an efficient way of support and enhancing the business -- not just a way to save money."

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