Putting a Muzzle on Outsourcing

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    Paul McDougall hit the nail in his column in today's InformationWeek's Outsourcing Pipeline, titled, "Outsourcers Should Embrace the Media." Writes Mr. McDougall:

    Earlier this month, organizers of an annual conference on outsourcing rescinded invitations to the media to cover the event. Outsourcing World Summit staffers told one publication that the event is meant to be "educational" and isn't designed to accommodate the press–even though reporters were invited in previous years.

    Similarly, an annual January event hosted by outsourcing vendor Cognizant Technologies, open to the press in the past, was this year closed to scribes. Last year, I was personally kept out of several sessions on offshore outsourcing at a Gartner outsourcing conference.

    My intuition is that the event organizers aren't shutting out the media of their own accord. Most would privately tell you that it's the conference speakers–typically CIOs and other execs from Fortune 500 companies engaged in offshore outsourcing–that don't want the spotlight. They don't see any upside to topping Lou Dobbs' "Exporting America" hit list.

    He advises executives to reconsider their shyness for many good reasons. And I would too, though for a different reason than those he lists…

    I can already tell what a challenge it's going to be for us to develop the drill-down case studies we plan to feature on Sourcingmag.com, when it finally launches. Apparently, if you want to get good information from the "horse's mouth," you need to have it channeled through a consultant (sharing anonymous information culled from people involved in other projects he or she has worked on) or by attending high-priced sourcing events — like the Corbett show or the SIGS conferences — and networking like you're a doctor on the putting green.

    Why is it important to share the details of our outsourcing activities? If we don't, others will make the same mistakes we're' making; we'll make mistakes others have already sorted out. And any progress made in getting it right will resemble the lurching activities of a 16-year-old driver at the seat of a manual shift.

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