Nike "Just Do It" approach to outsourcing fails

A Nike management style, where IT purchasing decisions are made with a "Just Do it" approach, has been central to failed outsourcing contracts between government agencies and the private sector.

Speaking at NEC's annual user conference, the company's ACT state manager David Rose said business and technology need to be aligned.

Little interaction between business and technology units leads to a "mismatch" and decisions are made without a planned objective.

Rose said government contracts are made at the business level but with little interaction with technology units, so the full benefits of an outsourcing partnership may not be realised. "An agency might see CRM or read about a business application and simply state they want that capability, just do it, without a real understanding of how best to achieve it," he said.

Presenting a paper on "balancing conflicting expectations -- lessons from the government experience", Rose said some vendors may be happy to sell departments that capability, but it may not always meet the customer's business requirements.

Ideally, he said, an agency should go with a single-vendor relationship, because multiple contractors inevitably leads to "finger pointing".

NEC has been a key player in the Federal Government's IT outsourcing program since it began five years ago; customers include the Department of Immigration and the Australian Taxation Office.

NEC business solutions director, David Haynes, said the key to successful outsourcing is knowing what can be outsourced and what should remain in-house.

"Never outsource your strategy, that is the key. Also, maintain a level of technical expertise in-house to effectively manage the outsourcing contract," he said.

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