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How do you mean, “outsourcing”?

A thought for the weekend: what exactly do people mean by outsourcing when they discuss it? At Intelligent Sourcing we tend to think of large-scale investments, whether on IT or on contact centre or some other sort of basis; understandably we also get PR pitches from people offering virtual assistant services, outsourcing the manufacturing process and soforth. OK, they haven’t read the magazine but the title doesn’t tell them much in detail.

So it’s a little bemusing when a publication such as CIO Report looks into outsourcing for small businesses. It’s looking specifically IT outsourcing and whether this is a workable idea, but even then we have to ask: how do you mean, exactly?

If you can read this blog, for example, that’s pretty much confirmation that WordPress is working – and that in turn means that we haven’t built our own server to try to get the news to you. If you can read the new issue when it comes out over the next couple of weeks then likewise, the page design application has done its work and we didn’t design that either. We don’t do our own hosting on the Web (does anyone who isn’t a huge organisation?) and we use an ISP rather than attempting to set up our own email system.

We don’t believe this makes us astonishing and we do believe this means a lot of our business takes place in the cloud, or is dependent on technologies designed by third parties. This is classic outsourcing.

So when people suggest that small businesses use outsourcing we’re often a little puzzled. From signing a contract for someone to provide a mobile phone service to something as basic as Google Docs or transferring files by Box, Dropbox, WeTransfer or any of those other facilities, doesn’t everybody outsource in one way or another?

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