Taking Outsourcing to School

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Everyone knows that real estate is all about "location, location, location." With outsourcing, it's becoming obvious it's all about "management, management, management."


Despite this, Gartner found that fewer than a third of the companies it surveyed had formal outsourcing management strategies in place. Indeed, many of them made outsourcing decisions on an ad-hoc basis.


Perhaps part of the problem is that management strategies have not kept pace with outsourcing's stratospheric growth. Managing remotely is always a challenge, and it's an even bigger one when it involves employees at sites that cross multiple time zones and cultural differences.


Realizing this, the University of Colorado at Boulder this fall began offering a class called Global Engineering that gives students hands-on management experience supervising engineers in India as they create products based on specs provided by the students.


It sounds like the school has done a fine job with the curriculum. Among topics covered in the course: inventory and logistical considerations, protection of a company's core competencies, intellectual property, and cultural differences between Asia and America.


We think this is a great idea. And we aren't the only ones, apparently.


Digging far back into our archives, we found a silicon.com story from 2005 that mentioned a proposal by the UK's National Outsourcing Association that British universities should offer an MBA focused on outsourcing. Courses designed to emphasize outsourcing were slated to begin in October of 2006, according to the story.


We expect to see more of these kinds of courses as academia catches up with the real-world management challenges of today's economy.