New service models - some lessons learned

Outsourcing no longer means 'sending work to India'.  Instead there are as many blended solutions and approaches as there are firms looking to change the way information services are delivered.  While early attempts to outsource were focused primarily on cost containment, more recent initiatives have been focusing on value and impact.If last night's extremely lively SLA Europe event was anything to go by, the opportunities and challenges presented by new business models for corporate information services are exercising many minds.The oversubscribed session, chaired by Morgan Stanley's Stephen Phillips, heard contributions from Liam Brown (Integreon); Greg Simidian (Perfect Information); Kate Stanfield (CMS Cameron McKenna LLP) and Sarah Fahy (Allen & Overy).  Each speaker presented their views and experiences of the adoption of new business models, from outsourcing and offshoring to blended approaches and questions and observations were offered by the participants.  The reasons behind Allen & Overy's recent decision to create an onshored, blended support centre in Belfast were outlined, as was CMS Cameron McKenna's decision to work in partnership with Integreon.The law firm perspectiveLaw firms are relationship and reputation businesses. They rely on high quality support services to maintain reputational capital.  Quality services and high professional standards are vital to their continued success.  The experience of developing new models for information provision provides opportunities for information professionals to raise their profiles - and their game.Other key pointers from the session

  • maintain contact with your users and your senior clients to help you innovate
  • be flexible about what works
  • ensure you solve a true business problem - and work in consultation
  • focus on who has the expertise to do it right irrespective of where they are based/who employs them
  • increased use of vendor capability is another form of outsourcing
  • outsourcers acknowledge the need to focus on professional development
  • any changed model will require significant investment of time and resources in the early stages
  • information providers are responding to the high usage of products in offshored locations by providing local customer support
  • ask senior level manager what works for them
  • when it comes to big change programmes, remember to keep communicating with your staff and your users
Outsourcing, in its many guises, can complement a service and help deliver flexibility and value.