On the outs

Recognition that outsourcing is not necessarily win-win should come as no surprise ("Reversing Course," July 2011). Outsourcing work that has traditionally been done internally requires tedious and detailed capture of task elements, workflow results and specific deliverables for inclusion in the contract.

Most firms should do this but do not have this information well documented or readily at hand. They don’t do a good job of documenting current internal work processes and outputs.

Further, and most importantly, you should never outsource something that touches your customers. The firm you hire sees you as their customer, and to them your customers are incidental. Want a bad example? Check out most auto dealers’ websites, as well as any other site outsourced to a technology firm. See how well the links work and how up-to-date inventory is.

John F. Adkisson
Port St. John, FL

This online survey-based article on outsourcing provides us with an opportunity to reassess this type of survey—appropriately dubbed self-selected opinion polls, or SLOPS.

SLOPS are notoriously unrepresentative or are of unknown and unknowable representativeness. Therefore, answers produced by SLOPS are "entirely useless for anything other than entertainment."1 That’s why they’re useless for those who want to know about types and effects of outsourcing.

Unrepresentative results cannot be generalized to whole populations—such as manufacturing industries, aerospace and others listed in Table 1 (July 2011, p. 39). Answers of an unrepresentative sample merely indicate what that particular group of respondents said.  That’s why SLOPS shouldn’t be used in serious investigations.


  1. Irving Saulwick and Denis Muller, "The Slippery World of Polls, Slops and Worms," Crikey, Oct. 24, 2007, www.crikey.com.au/2007/10/24/the-slippery-world-of-polls-slops-and-worms.

George Beam

This article reaffirms what I have observed is askew with outsource services management. The 25% who characterize relationships as "guard-inmate" or "predator-prey" is a stunning stat. Partnerships drive business. Leave brinkmanship on the playground.

Garry Schultz
Ottawa, Ontario

Making the link

I’m a social media consultant and have to say this is an outstanding article that fully illustrates the benefits of joining the LinkedIn network ("LinkedIn or Lose Out," July 2011). My business and clients have benefited so much from using LinkedIn as a marketing and networking tool, and also for striking joint-venture partnerships. I hope more businesses realize this and join in.

Judith Anthony Kwentoh

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