Today, enterprise IT is expected to do much more with fewer resources.
Large IT organizations have turned to outsourcing or offshoring IT services in the past, but according to a recent CIO report, that trend is reversing. Organizations are beginning to realize there are hidden costs to outsourcing overseas, including quality, extra governance, communication issues and lack of innovation. This year, CIO predicts 20 percent to 30 percent of services previously outsourced will be brought back in house.
But there is still a need to streamline operations. Companies today are making a shift from outsourcing to “rightsourcing”—thinking more strategically about sourcing the right expert or tool for the job, while still maintaining operational control in house.
Here are four alternatives to traditional outsourcing that enterprise IT departments can use to extend their capabilities:
1. Managed Cloud
Large IT departments can boost agility and save time by building their apps on a managed cloud, because it comes packaged with more services, support and—most importantly—expertise. This means developers can focus on developing and deploying code fulltime, rather than getting mired in full-stack system administration. The level of service goes beyond traditional break/fix; a managed cloud provider will help you figure out which cloud services are right for your app from the get-go, work with you to architect a cloud environment that meets your specific needs and apply the latest patches and firmware. Rackspace even assists with your code.
2. Automate as Much as Possible
Enterprises using DevOps Automation Service have at their disposal a dedicated engineering team to help simplify and speed up app deployment at massive scale. Using DevOps tools, customers are able to deploy code hundreds of times a day, without negatively impacting the production environment. This move from outsourcing toward automation is a trend that’s expected to grow in 2014.
Joe Nash of Pillsbury’s sourcing group told CIO that the key is “looking for ways through automation to reduce the amount of work it takes to complete an IT function or service, not the cost of the labor to do it.” Blue Prism is one company making inroads in the area of automation. It creates smart software “robots” that automate routine tasks—the kind of work that would normally be handled by entry-level IT employees—giving IT departments the ability to cut costs while boosting productivity.
3. Consulting Alternatives
While hiring outside consultants can bring a fresh perspective and a new set of skills to your team, keeping them on the payroll can strain your budget. Today, only 29 percent of all IT projects are completed successfully. It’s a scary statistic and the number one reason is staffing—the difficulty of finding the right people for the job.
In the past IT departments might have contracted a staffing agency to track down developers with the precise skills they are looking for, but new tools are streamlining that kind of administration the way DevOps is streamlining development. TrueAbility is a technical assessment platform that lets IT organizations test their applicants’ skills in a live environment, screening out everyone who doesn’t have the technical chops.
4. Plan for Disaster Recovery
Everyone knows that downtime impacts the bottom line, but exactly how much money downtime costs your business may surprise you. One way to cut costs and ensure maximum uptime is to plan in advance for business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR). A BC/DR plan covers the steps you would take to get back up and running after an unforeseen disaster, like a weather event, server outage, malware attack or even a terrorist attack.
Some steps include training backup employees to complete tasks in an emergency and investing in alternate forms of communication in the event your phone system goes down. While many of these services can be performed in-house, leveraging cloud engineers with deep expertise in BC/DR can help bolster your disaster recovery efforts. These specialists can review your environment and propose a mix of resiliency tools that can help you achieve your recovery targets—all within your budget. This degree of planning may seem like overkill, but in a climate where 40 percent of companies that shut down for three days fail within 36 months, it pays hope for the best and plan for the worst.