This year's event took place at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida on November 7 - 8. There were several keynote speakers from Forrester analysts, IT leadership in large organizations, and IT outsourcing services firms.
The theme of the event was based on IT sourcing best practices and lessons learned as well as vendor management challenges and trends. Most large organizations have a vendor management office; however, small to medium organizations appear to be challenged on which area of the organization should be responsible for monitoring and managing vendor risk and performance. Procurement departments traditionally provide the sourcing and purchasing processes, but the identification of who is responsible for making sure the operations with the vendor is moving smoothly after a contract is created, is still an area of challenge and opportunity for small- to mid-sized organizations.
There were many discussions about working with vendor on innovation. Thus, if vendor risk or performance is a question and needs improvement that an organization should not only get the vendor managers and procurement departments together, but also consider bringing in the vendor as they may have solutions on how to optimize the relationship.
Since this forum's overall focus was on IT goods and services, mobility in the workplace played a large role in the conversation. Companies are not only battling on what applications should be supported on mobile devices, but also how to incorporate mobile device hardware into the corporate infrastructure. This provides challenges from selected vendors, IT infrastructure such as wireless bandwidth and security concerns with the content and applications on the device. The need for mobility in the workforce really depends on the type of industry served. For example, the medical field requires a greater use of tablets because of the convenience of portable electronic records and diagnosis. One of the larger concerns with mobility is being able to react quickly to adopt the applications and support for the new versions of devices that hit the shelves every six months or so.
Another theme was the key benefits and challenges with IT services outsourcing. There is an uptick in in-sourcing and near shoring IT services. In-sourcing is the bringing back of IT services to the United States from offshore, not necessarily back to the same company but to another IT outsourcing organization in the U.S. Near shoring (a term new to me) is bringing the off shoring closer to the U.S. Instead of places far away like India and China where the time zones and cultures are very different than the U.S., there is now a larger trend to bring services work to Mexico, Central and South America to allow travel and time zones to be easier to manage.
The biggest buzz phrases I heard during the event were SaaS contracting, mobility in IT, and IT services outsourcing. I think in 2012 we will see a growing trend of moving outsourcing closer to the U.S. and provisioning the use of mobility devices, especially the tablets, to the enterprise.
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