IT services. Materiel - Part 4. Professional IT services. IT outsourcing

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I wrote in a previous article that people for IT services are not a prerequisite, since they are not involved in creating the utility. But none of the IT services at this stage of technology development can do without people.

There are two root causes for this:
  • Technical components fail over time and require maintenance;
  • IT services are used by some people and designed by others. And people, in turn, are unpredictable for each other:
    • They do not always behave predictably;
    • They are unpredictably mistaken;
    • Their needs change unpredictably.

To be more precise, different people can predict the behavior of other people with varying degrees of accuracy and different time horizons. But there are no people who do this with 100% accuracy and with a horizon of more than a couple of years. As a result, over time, an increasing part of life situations cannot be handled by systems that support the IT service.

As a result, IT services must be complemented by people in order to:
  • Restore its performance after untreated technical failures and environmental changes;
  • Assist in resolving unprocessed situations in business processes;
  • Design an IT service;
  • Implement a change in IT service.

To meet the needs of people, the owner of an IT service has two options:
  • keep people on staff;
  • Use professional IT services.

If you decide to use professional services, the next task will be to determine the set of services that you will need. To better navigate professional services in the field of IT, I will give several approaches to their categorization.

Considering that the main value of professional services is that the supplier has people with deep competencies who have undergone special training, the obvious way of categorization will be to divide services into areas of competence. Using the ICL Services website as an example, this approach is used for the main categorization of services in the menu and on the Services page .

Often, the services defined in this way are difficult to choose. It helps to categorize the assets of IT services that professional services help maintain in an effective state. Using the ICL Services website as an example, this approach is used on the “Service Selection Assistant” page : Since a change is a landmark event for IT services, it is possible to separate professional IT services in relation to changes. Thus, they can be divided among themselves into:

“And where are the IT outsourcing services,” you ask?

To be precise, according to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals , outsourcing is not a category of services, but the level of development of business relations between a supplier company and a customer company.

Outsourcing relationships are long-term, which implies that the customer company has strategically decided to abandon the ownership of its own facilities to perform work, choosing as a replacement the acquisition of services in the market of available suppliers.

On the other hand, outsourcing relationships are results-oriented, which implies that the supplier assumes responsibility and part of the risks for people, processes and technologies, along with responsibility for ensuring that they together provide the results specified by the customer in the contract. Responsibility for results, and not just for resources, is what distinguishes outsourcing from narrower and more traditional types of transactions, such as contracts for understaffing or contracts for individual tasks. Results usually mean the achievement of operational performance in terms of customer processes.

As can be seen from the above explanations from OPBoK,Outsourcing is, in essence, a qualitatively higher level of maturity of services, which implies the full transfer of more costs and risks to the supplier, which is manifested in a qualitatively different description of the supplier's responsibility in the contract .

The provision of services for the IT operations phase is a key sign that you are in an outsourcing relationship. Otherwise, how can you be responsible for achieving operational performance? Among other things, outsourcing relationships are characterized by much closer contacts and the ability to quickly expand the interaction.

The topic of IT outsourcing is not limited to professional services and may also include IT services.

Exercise A4:

  1. On the ICL Services website, in the Applications and Infrastructure sections, find the services that, by description, can NOT be services for the IT operation phase, as defined in this section.


  1. Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge v9.02 (OPBoK). Section 1.2 “What is Outsourcing?”

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