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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Outsourcing is here to stay, regardless of how employees feel about it since businesses continue to save money as a result. It is, however, evolving into something less threatening to employees as companies discover savings--by using other companies to manage a part of the business that's not considered one of their core processes. Smartsourcing looks at the why and how of this new take on outsourcing -- where all involved benefit and innovate.

The authors state that companies aren't realizing the full benefits of outsourcing, as most simply send a process to another company and leave it at that. Smartsourcing adds innovation to the outsourcing formula as companies consider outsource firms as partners. This leads to the creation of more American jobs, not just the loss of jobs overseas as many fear.

Implementing a smartsourcing strategy takes time, but companies that want to grow and compete need to carefully review their outsourcing strategy, find gaps and outsource the right processes the right way.

One of the most important things to do in planning a smartsourcing strategy is to review a company's existing processes, determining which are core and which are non-core. Companies have been surprised to find out which processes fall under which category. For example, a hospital may think information technology is one of its core processes only to find out it's not, and instead their essential process is patient care.

Some of these concepts can be difficult to grasp, but executives and managers who read Smartsourcing will gain insight on how to intelligently outsource so that they can increase innovation and effectiveness while getting ahead of their competitors.
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HALL OF FAMEon July 12, 2006
Outsourcing is a trend that's not going away, at least not as long as companies can save money by hiring other companies to manage some parts of their business, even as they continue to perform their core competencies. This book focuses on the reasons and rules of outsourcing. According to authors Thomas M. Koulopoulos and Tom Roloff, many companies aren't taking the right approach to outsourcing and, therefore, are not realizing its full benefits. The book covers a complex topic and, though it sometimes gets too technical, it will help you take a hard, honest competitive look at your outsourcing strategy, diagnose its gaps and improve the way you outsource. We believe executives and managers should read this book to learn how intelligent outsourcing can help their companies save money, innovate and compete.
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on August 12, 2007
Driving Innovation and Growth Through Outsourcing
Smartsourcing by Thomas M. Koulopoulos and Tom Roloff - is sub-titled 'Driving innovation and Growth through Outsourcing' this goes straight to the point which seems to be an habit of the authors who does not beat around the bush and dive directly into the nuts and bolts of their subject, which makes Smartsoucing a very insightful read.

Like Thomas Friedman, the authors agree that the world is flat, that we are now evolving in a global economy where work flows like water along the path of least resistance, leading jobs to be moved out of the United States and Western Europe and to be reallocated to Asia or whatever other places where wages are more attractive. That is what offshoring and outsourcing are all about, cost reductions. Smartsoursing presents a different approach and is based on the premise that outsourcing for the only intend of cost reductions is highly dangerous and does not yield the return on investment it promised. In the Smartsourcing framework, in order to outsource any organization has to go through a strategic reorganization of itself, to understand what could be, and more importantly what should be outsourced, and of course what is core to the enterprise and therefore should be not only kept in-house, but also invested in.

The point is simple, in order to success on a global scale an organization must focus on what it does the best, and to do so it must shift from the traditional Functional thinking to a Process thinking. Indeed, processes offer visibility, agility and a set of metrics can be used to evaluate their performance and therefore compare them to the industry standard. Doing so, an organization can understand what its strength and weaknesses are. Outsourcing or offshoring non core processes will boost the efficiency of the complete value chain, since the sourcing partner will execute those processes more efficiently because what is non core to an organization should be core to its sourcing partner. Of course this is an high level view, Smartsourcing provides the tools by which organizations can thrive in this new framework, creating value by: keeping the light on for less, creating more innovation for the given dollar, transferring risk between the partners and optimizing risks transference

After a keen analyze of the technical solution available to organizations nowadays, the Authors share their view on that market and the way it will evolve to a new generation of BSPs creating a new generation of smartsourcing hubs orchestrating business components across executable business processes. According to the Authors, the evolution of the software industry will "dwarf the technology industry of the next fifty years" and B2B vendors have a key role to play in that move to a purely efficient market where the transfer cost, that is the cost of "unplugging and plugging back to another ecosystem" would no longer be a measurable impediment.

Once a process has been identified as core to an organization, the rate of the innovation on that given process must increase, allowing it to keep its competitive advantage. And the cash flow to aliment the innovation trend comes directly from the money made out of outsourcing. According to the Authors, for every dollar of work offshored $1.20 to $1.40 is created in additional return and this money should be the venture capital of the innovation economy. Don't underestimate this point, after an agricultural based economy, followed by an industrial age, followed by a service based economy, we are now entering the area of innovation and the "invented in" label will have more value attached to it than the "made in" label. Therefore the innovation process becomes a challenge, and it requires its own set of skills. It is vital for our economy that we learn how to innovate through learning tools such as CPS - Creative Problem Solving for the future begins with the challenges we face today.

Smartsoucing is a hell of a good read and is fascinating because of the insightful, visionary comments of its writers. Thomas M. Koulopoulos, is known for his colon in The Economist, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal and his broadcasts on CNBC and CNN. He is also the CEO of the Delphi Group. Tom Roloff is a leading business strategist, Vice President and CTO of EMC corporation. Both made a very good work with this wake-up call book offering us a glance at what will be the future of the software industry as well as the way businesses will evolve.

As they wrote :

"We apologize for sounding the fire alarm. But don't confuse the inconvenience of being awoken from a sound sleep with the greater threat posed by the flames at your backside."
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on January 26, 2007
The book takes a slightly different tack on how outsourcing should be viewed and how companies should use it. The overall effect is a little like that described by Hagel and Seely-Brown in The Only Sustainable Edge, but Tom writes a very readable book covering three key trends, all described cogently and without too much MBA-speak. In particular he does a good job contrasting outsourcing and smartsourcing - there is a focus on differentiation over commoditization and on strategic excellence combined with agility (one of my favorite topics). Anyway, the book outlines three themes:

Movement to external economies of scale

Shift from ownership to strategy

The evolution of the placeless job

The overall approach can best be summarized by one quote from the book where he says that an "organization's intellectual resources are maximized because they are not distracted by nonessential work".

A highly recommended book.
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on October 15, 2008
This is a great book about the fascinating current trend in the global market. Personally, one point I found interesting was about innovation; it gives us a new outlook on outsourcing and off-shoring.
In our company we are talking about "Right Shore": the right resources at the right location at the right time. If reorganization is done successfully and strategy is right, then come Right Shore and smart-sourcing. They leverage the capacity, capabilities, cost advantages and competencies of your company across geographies.
Vital factors in this process of outsourcing are the choice of an outsourcer and the location chosen for outsourcing. The authors remind once again that the trend toward offshore/outsourcing is a lot more complex than simply seeking skills and resources in the lowest-cost locations. For instance the driving forces in the IT outsourcing market are quality and speed to market, not just cost of services.
Last but not least, the book is easy to read and without too much of abbreviations and MBA jargon.
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on April 18, 2006
I was looking for a book about "outsourcing" and came across this title. "Smartsourcing" I said. What's that? Intrigued, I bought the book. I'm glad I did. It opened my eyes to a new dimension in business thinking. If you are planning to outsource or want to be an outsourcer, this will change your perspective of this evolving industry. If you have said "no" to outsourcing and want everything done internally at your company, this book will change the "no" to "yes" for some aspects of your business. Reading this book may mean the difference between success and failure in the 21st century.
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on May 1, 2006
In this book Koulopoulos and Roloff provide an often overlooked facet to outsourcing, the how. This makes the book a wonderfully powerful complement to any and all other texts on the subject of outsourcing. In Smartsourcing, I received keen insight on how to build an outsourcing strategy. Most importantly, the approach to strategy includes the positioning of increased innovation in the enterprise. This book does what few others accomplish. It not only provides vision, but also practical advice.
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on April 27, 2006
Tom has again taken a topic that is critically important for any business and created a lucid set of guidelines for doing outsourcing the smart way.

Every business (and individual for that matter) is going to be affected by the trend, so we might as well get it right. Tom's provides a roadmap that will benefit us all in innovation and results. He's right, the United States cannot compete with the world just on price alone. Smartsourcing will become a trend amongst those not just outsourcing, but doing so with intelligence.
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on May 27, 2009
This book is a great resource for outsourcing and offshoring, but as technology grows, as mentioned, online sources can be used just effectively, particularly for research. Sites like [...] give a massive workforce at very little cost to the user. Outsourcing simplified- finally! It is a simple fact that in today's world, nearly every growing company will have to outsource at least some work at one time or another and this is just one of the many great places to get what you need at a fair rate.
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on November 3, 2006
The book exceeded my expectations as I thought it to be the University material I didn't have available during my studies. I would very much like to see it hitting the Greek market as well. Very competent writing and numerous opportunities for creative thinking. A very useful tool for people involved in the process of successful business strategy formulation and implementation.
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