When is outsourcing not outsourcing? When it’s co-sourcing.

I’ve never liked the term ‘outsourcing.’ We use it at Hartman to describe the work we do for our clients (strategic, independent technology leadership and advisory services), and it’s better than some of the other terms out there – fractional or part-time CIO – but it’s never been quite the right fit.

Outsourcing IT conjures up visions of overseas call centers and help desks. Managed network services can also be outsourced, which is often a great way for small businesses to handle basic network administration tasks. However, when you engage a C-level executive outside of your company, you’re not simply passing off a function. Rather, you’re bringing a more strategic focus and accountability into your organization – and that is a big difference.

Just the other day, I explained the Hartman business model to a professional colleague over lunch. After listening patiently, he said, “Dave, what you’re doing at Hartman sounds more like co-sourcing than outsourcing to me.” Co-sourcing? I hadn’t heard the term before, but right away, I knew it was exactly the right way to describe our work.

After some Googling, the best definition of co-sourcing I’ve found is as follows:

Co-sourcing: A situation of partial outsourcing, in which a business function or process is performed by both internal staff and by an external party or resources with specialized knowledge of the business function. Compared to full outsourcing, co-sourcing has advantages of staying in control, a non-transactional partnership and the ability to grow the own knowledge level of the co-sourced process. (www.mbabrief.com)

Since 2004, Hartman has existed as a purely independent, strategic leadership and advisory firm focused on the marriage of IT and business strategy. We never sell or profit from any technology solution, which means we are always looking out for our clients’ best interests. When a company engages a Hartman CIO, they are doing so to augment their own internal capabilities, benefit from the CIO’s specialized skills and experience, and to eventually be able to transfer that knowledge to rising leaders within the organization.

Of course, it’s easy for me to talk about the myriad benefits of co-sourcing, but I truly believe in the model and the value it brings to an organization. At Hartman, we work with a co-sourced CFO and CMO, both of whom are instrumental to our long-term success. In our daily work, we also provide co-sourced CIO, CTO and CISO services to hundreds of companies and nonprofit organizations.

As I was growing up in the business world, the old adage was, “insource what is core to your business, and outsource what’s not core.” That’s very black and white, but the idea of co-sourcing brings a much-needed gray area to life. So, let’s outsource email, help desk and administrative services, but let’s co-source strategic service areas, such as those managed by a CFO, CMO or CIO. In today’s modern and dynamic business world, I have a feeling co-sourcing is a term we’ll start to hear much more in the very near future.

Are you ready to talk about co-sourcing your IT? Get in touch today to schedule a no-cost consultation.

Hartman Executive Advisors is an independent, strategic technology advisory firm that works alongside executive management to align innovative IT solutions and overall business strategy. Learn more

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