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Deadline: 27/03/2009

Outsourcing Strategies to Weather a Recession

CALL FOR PAPERS - Cutter IT Journal
Guest Editor: Sara Cullen
Abstract due: 20 February 2009
Articles due: 27 March 2009

Outsourcing Strategies to Weather a Recession

Outsourcing presents many challenges for buyers and sellers under normal circumstances. Under the current economic climate, when the value for money proposition of outsourcing becomes skewed toward the money side of the equation, existing outsourcing deals and potential new ones face new challenges as well. Buyers will want to reduce the costs of current contracts and obtain substantial savings in new ones. Sellers can't afford to reduce existing prices given the projections of decreased revenue, plus the increased spend and greater discounts required to win new work.
Can both parties achieve their financial goals while maintaining a good, long-term relationship?

The May 2009 issue of Cutter IT Journal invites useful debate and analyses on the current state of outsourcing and how a recession may change the landscape in terms of both current and future contracts and the provider market. We will explore the strategies that may help organizations weather the challenges outsourcing presents during these turbulent times.

The issue will be split into the buy side (client) and sell side
(provider) of outsourcing services.

TOPICS OF INTEREST MAY INCLUDE (but are certainly not limited to) the following:


1. Advice/solutions/techniques on renegotiating current deals. My recent Cutter Consortium webinar on the effects of a recession on outsouring showed that many clients want to renegotiate, the question is how. Just asking for a price reduction may get something -- but is there a better way? And what's in it for the providers?

2. Getting real cost savings. Are there other techniques besides renegotiating contracts that can contribute cost savings? For example, a bank I've worked with has made significant savings just by managing contracts better. A minor investment in a contract management group has yielded such high returns that the group has also been put in charge of getting the cost benefits of a recent merger. How can organizations achieve savings other than renegotiating?

3. Backsourcing as an option. A utility I'm involved with has investigated backsourcing and very conservatively estimated a 30% savings. While they have decided against the move at this time, are there other cases where this has worked?

4. Dealing with provider staff turnover. While high staff turnover (including management) of providers has always been frustrating, it will likely become even more of an issue during a recession. Is there advice on how to minimize turnover, or the impact it has?

5. Possibly corrupt providers. With the recent publicity of the World Bank bans on some providers, and the Satyam/PWC financial scandal, is there a way that clients can protect themselves against allegedly corrupt providers?  Do they need to?


1. Value proposition. Is there a new value proposition the outsourcing market needs rather than the well-worn ones of economies of scale, access to experience, etc?  How can providers really help clients in financial crisis? Should they even try?

2. Winning work. The need to win more work will become acute. How can providers have a better chance given the tough market ahead?
Can they bid better? Should they not bid at all (can be very
expensive) and move towards relationship selling?

3. How low should you go? There will be incredible pressure to bid cheap and to reduce prices of existing contracts. Should providers resist this?  If not, where should the line be drawn?

4. Provider recommendations to clients. Most providers have very astute insights into how clients can do things better, but are rarely asked or feel comfortable stating "the obvious" to the clients.  They know what clients do wrong which makes both parties less effective. Are there some key recommendations that clients should really take on board, not just for recessions, but for the long-term?

5. Offshoring. If clients weren't thinking of this before, does this option become an imperative? Also, so many clients only think of India when thinking of offshoring. What do other regions have to offer?

Please respond to Sara Cullen at
scullen[at]cullengroup[dot]com[dot]au with a copy to itjournal[at]cutter[dot]com, no later than 20 February 2009 and include an extended abstract and a short article outline showing major discussion points.

Articles are due on 27 March 2009.

Most Cutter IT Journal articles are approximately 2,500-3,500 words long, plus whatever graphics are appropriate. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact CITJ's Group Publisher, Christine Generali at cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com or the Guest Editor, Sara Cullen at scullen[at]cullengroup[dot]com[dot]au. Editorial guidelines are available at http://www.cutter.com/content-and-analysis/journals-and-reports/cut

Typical readers of Cutter IT Journal range from CIOs and vice presidents of software organizations to IT managers, directors, project leaders, and very senior technical staff. Most work in fairly large organizations: Fortune 500 IT shops, large computer vendors (IBM, HP, etc.), and government agencies. 48% of our readership is outside of the US (15% from Canada, 14% Europe, 5% Australia/NZ, 14% elsewhere). Please avoid introductory-level, tutorial coverage of a topic. Assume you're writing for someone who has been in the industry for 10 to 20 years, is very busy, and very impatient. Assume he or she will be asking, "What's the point? What do I do with this information?" Apply the "So what?"
test to everything you write.

We are pleased to offer Journal authors a year's complimentary subscription and 10 copies of the issue in which they are published. In addition, we occasionally pull excerpts, along with the author's bio, to include in our weekly Cutter Edge e-mail bulletin, which reaches another 8,000 readers. We'd also be pleased to quote you, or passages from your article, in Cutter press releases. If you plan to be speaking at industry conferences, we can arrange to make copies of your article or the entire issue available for attendees of those speaking engagements
-- furthering your own promotional efforts.

No other journal brings together so many cutting-edge thinkers, and lets them speak so bluntly and frankly. We strive to maintain the Journal's reputation as the "Harvard Business Review of IT."
Our goal is to present well-grounded opinion (based on real, accountable experiences), research, and animated debate about each topic the Journal explores.