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Is outsourcing coming of age? December 19, 2011

Posted by Mark Hillary in Current Affairs, IT Services, Outsourcing.
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As we head into 2012, it’s worth taking a moment to consider just how much the entire outsourcing market has changed. This is the year that the cloud really shifted from being an entirely separate concept to being intrinsically linked to the process of outsourcing.

A senior manager who made budget decisions always led the traditional market in services. It might be the CIO or the business line head – like the HR head for example – but it would always be a senior figure with a well-planned objective for the future state of the company.

This led to the traditional outsource, where an entire business process would be analysed, passed to the third party, and delivered by a service company – whether on site or remotely.

But ever since the growth of tools such as salesforce.com the model has been changing. Salesforce turned everything around by being a system that could be used over the web, with no need for any additional software, and paid for by user by the month… simple, clear, and without the need for big plans, vendor comparisons, or training programmes.

Salesforce is used by sales teams who buy it themselves on their own budget. They don’t ask a CIO to buy the system and then have maintenance teams install it.

So are cloud products like this really outsourcing? I believe so. If sales teams are trusting a third party with their information and using those tools as a part of what they do then it is just the same as if the CIO had outsourced CRM to a partner.

But it is a much more disparate world in which individual business line staff are making decisions about the tools they use to get the job done, making the job of those trying to control all of this much harder than before.

Outsourcing is not dead, it has just embraced the cloud and it now changing into something new.

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Time travel with Facebook December 13, 2011

Posted by Mark Hillary in Current Affairs, IT Services, Software.
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Facebook has launched their new Timeline feature to the world this week. Much attention has focused on the improved look and feel of the user interface, particularly the large cover photo that now dominates a Facebook profile.

But much less attention has been paid to the more interesting aspect of the Timeline – the ability to move back in time to any point and see what the user was doing at that time. In effect, Facebook has created an open diary because you can go back in time on your friend’s profile to see what they were posting on the system last year – or even on a specific date.

This is an interesting development, not least for those interested in privacy. It used to be that you updated your Facebook and as the update dropped off the screen because new ones replaced it, that would then be lost forever. Now users can move back and forth in time examining every little post you made.

Many web watchers have already warned avid social networkers about the danger that they will arrive at a job interview only to find the interviewer has found some compromising photos online. But with the ability to move back and forth in time scanning the entire online history of a person, this danger just became a whole lot more real.

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