Outsourcing support functions: Identifying and managing the good, the bad, and the ugly
Raiborn, Cecily A.
Butler, Janet B.
Massoud, Marc F.
Outsourcing the purchase of components or "hard goods" is not a new phenomenon: it is known as the "buy" portion of a company's common make-or-buy decisions. In the current service-oriented economy, however, make-or-buy decisions are now often do-or-buy decisions that reflect the strategic question of whether outside entities should be hired to perform significant support service activities. Support functions such as information technology and customer service can be outsourced to provide many organizational benefits. Companies frequently point to the cost savings for labor and training, but also cite the benefits of releasing corporate resources for alternative uses and allowing the business to focus on its core competencies. Outsourcing support functions is not simple, though, and companies must manage the related strategic, quantitative, and qualitative risk factors. This article discusses some of the potential risks that must be faced when a company outsources internal support functions, and describes how the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission's Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) model can assist in managing and controlling these risks.
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