Book Brief: Outsourcing Morphs into Multisourcing

Outsourcing isn't a yes or no question any more. The question is which parts of a specific process should be insourced, outsourced, or something in between.
Multisourcing: Moving Beyond Outsourcing to Achieve Growth and Agility
By Linda Cohen and Allie Young
Harvard Business School Press, Oct. 2005
288 PAGES, $35

Most executives tend to think about outsourcing only in binary terms: Either we outsource a function (accounting, marketing, R&D) or we don't. But as more functions are outsourced, managing a portfolio of providers becomes more difficult. The authors, both research vice presidents at Gartner Inc., propose a solution—"multisourcing"—which they define as "the disciplined provisioning and blending of business and IT services from the optimal set of internal and external providers in the pursuit of business goals." They spend the rest of their time explaining what to do and how to do it. Note: This book deals solely with handling service providers. Manufacturing outsourcing, they say, creates its own unique set of issues.

This article was originally published on 11-05-2005
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