Cover image for Insider strategies for outsourcing information systems : building productive partnerships, avoiding seductive traps
Insider strategies for outsourcing information systems : building productive partnerships, avoiding seductive traps
Ripin, Kathy M., 1949-
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Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 274 pages ; 25 cm
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HF5548.2 .R564 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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One of the fastest growing industries in America is the outsourcing of information systems, with huge and small companies alike employing contractors to manage their powerful information networks. But how effective is it for executives to hire outsourcers to administer the complicatedinformation systems that are so critical to today's organizations? As Kathy M. Ripin and Leonard R. Sayles point out, what may seem to executives like the proverbial free lunch--outside experts taking responsibility for the endless vexations associated with information systems management--is far from free. Often, new systems that are supposed to respondeffortlessly to managerial commands are over-priced, clumsy, and sometimes useless. Insider Strategies for Outsourcing Information Systems offers executives and managers experience-based guidelines that will enable them to avoid the seductive myths and illusions that distort contractor selection andnew system planning decisions. At the heart of the book are three extended cases studies--a famous specialty retailer, a financial services company, and a European telecom company--that highlight the most frequent sources of new system failure, as well as how a client's measured involvement in theprocess of fine-tuning a new system can bring superb results. In clear and precise language, Ripin and Sayles make explicit the skills and solutions that have proven effective in outsourcing a wide variety information systems, from new application software to enterprise-wide networks. Today, insatiable corporate expectations, an unforgiving stock market, and a brutal global economy have made it imperative that managers at all levels effectively administer their information networks. Insider Strategies for Outsourcing Information Systems is the book that will help them insurethat their businesses survive--and thrive--in the information age.

Author Notes

Kathy M. Ripin is a consultant working on the interaction of new information systems and customer service. She has a bachelor's degree from Chatham College, and a master's from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.
Leonard R. Sayles has a Ph.D. from MIT, and is Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Of the possible internal functions that companies can contract for others to perform, information systems is the process becoming most commonly outsourced. Given the technical expertise required to implement information systems and the frustrations involved, it is not surprising that many managers want to rid themselves of responsibility for this activity. According to the authors, though, this abdication is one of the primary reasons many system implementation projects fail. Ripin has hands-on experience as a user and sponsor of outsourcing contracts, and she now heads a consulting firm specializing in the interaction between technology and customer service. Sayles is a business professor and has written a number of textbooks on systems management. Together they claim that three-fourths of all large systems are "operating failures" and that almost a third of computer application projects get canceled before completion. Automation and telecommunications are vital components of marketing, production, and customer service; and business and line managers must be directly involved for systems to work. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)0195125665David Rouse

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 The What, Why, and How of Outsourcing Information Systemsp. 3
2 The Tough Dilemmas: Why the Obvious Is So Difficultp. 15
3 Outsourcing Strategies: Avoiding the Most Frequent Blundersp. 29
4 Planning and Preparationp. 39
5 Selecting the Right Outsourcer: Why Contracts Are No Guaranteep. 61
6 Subcontracting Trends and Pitfallsp. 89
7 Outsourcing Operations: The Unanticipated Intricaciesp. 103
8 Three Superb Examples of High-Performance Partnershipsp. 125
9 A Nationwide Retailer Discovers the Power of Data Warehousingp. 129
10 Bringing Imaging Technology to Credit Card Operationsp. 139
11 Solving a Daunting Telecommunications Challengep. 165
12 What Clients Need to Know About Systems Developmentp. 175
13 How Astute Clients Exercise Leadershipp. 187
14 Project Turnarounds: In Failure Find the Seeds of Successp. 209
15 Managing Change: Transitioning and Implementationp. 223
16 Making Line Managers a Critical Component of the Outsourcer Equationp. 235
17 New Demands on Outsourcing: The Long-Run Perspectivep. 245
Notesp. 257
Indexp. 263