The IS/IT Outsourcing Phenomenon in the Public Sector of a Developing Country: An Exploration of Critical Issues
Abdulwahed Moh. Khalfan (College of Business Studies, The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, Kuwait) and Tom G. Gough (University of Leeds, UK)
Copyright: © 2003
This chapter presents an overview of a national case study exploring the IS/IT outsourcing phenomenon in the public sector of a developing country. The study is empirically based and provides a logical extension to earlier research studies/endeavors in the field of IS/IT outsourcing. Kuwait, where the data collection for this study was carried out, has been used as an example of a developing country . The primary data on IS/IT outsourcing practices, obtained for the first time in Kuwait, were collected by means of survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews supported by organizational documentation. The research seeks to identify the factors that give rise to the IS/IT outsourcing phenomenon, and the degree to which they influence the practices, procedures, and outcomes of IS/IT outsourcing arrangements in Kuwait. The overall research aimed to provide a comprehensive pragmatic picture of IS/IT outsourcing practices, including motivations, risk analysis, contract drafting and legal issues, vendor selection criteria, evaluation practices, decision-making processes, and post-evaluation experience. There is growing evidence within the Kuwaiti environment to suggest that public organizations are not achieving the desired benefits from their IS/IT outsourcing operations. IS/IT outsourcing projects in Kuwait are still undertaken in ways that are not clearly related to strategic change. It is clear that IS/IT outsourcing is a multi-faceted phenomenon that should be studied broadly in context. The lesson is that the solutions must make sense for the particular context in which they will be implemented, considering all cultural and environmental factors. It was found that culture plays an important role throughout the outsourcing process. The findings of this study also suggest that there will be an increasing utilisation of IT outsourcing services in the public sector of Kuwait.