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What Would You Outsource?

I know "cloud" and "outsource" are dirty words with some IT folks for a variety of reasons. But let's set aside, just for a moment, all of the baggage those two words carry and conduct a quick thought experiment:

We all have things we'd rather not have to do when it comes to IT. For me, it's always been backups. This comes from an unfortunate environment early in my IT career: We lacked a LAN, and PC backup literally meant lugging a Colorado DAT drive around to people's computers at night to run backups one PC at a time. I still have nightmares about it. If you'd told me, back then, that I could somehow outsource that onerous task to some mystical "cloud," I would have been all over it. I had lots of other projects that were more interesting and more value-added that could have more than occupied my time.

Just because something is "mission critical" doesn't mean we necessarily want it in our own datacenter. Take e-mail: Few organizations are professional e-mail hosting companies, yet we all (mostly) host our own e-mail services. We may not enjoy it, but we do, because in most cases we still have to. In most cases, we've all got a long backlog of projects that we'd like to work on, except that we can't get additional headcount these days and the staff we do have are overwhelmed.

It's the "build it vs. buy it" question, to a degree. Some of us won't outsource anything willingly, because we want the control that's offered by doing it ourselves. Nothing wrong with that! Others would prefer to just bring in as much as possible as a service, so that we can focus on the things we have to do ourselves, which aren't available from someone else -- usually business-specific stuff. Nothing wrong with that, either. Most of us wind up somewhere in between: There's a few things we could stand to have someone else manage, but some things we'd never, ever give up control of without a fight.

So indulge me for a second: Assuming that outsourcing one IT service would not endanger any jobs within your organization, that price was no object, and that concerns like security and performance were well-addressed, what one IT service would you gladly get rid of first? What's stopping you from outsourcing that service today?

Drop your comments below – or, if you've got a moment, answer in a one-question survey. I'll consolidate the results and share them in a future post.

Posted by Don Jones on 12/22/2011 at 1:14 PM


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