The Key Role of Interfaces in IT Outsourcing Relationships

The Key Role of Interfaces in IT Outsourcing Relationships

Francois Duhamel (Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico), Isis Gutiérrez-Martínez (Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico), Sergio Picazo-Vela (Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico) and Luis Felipe Luna-Reyes (Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/jitsa.2012010103


Many IT outsourcing operations fail, and when they do not fail they often impose renegotiations over the life of the contract between outsourcers and service providers. Possible remedies include the improvement of knowledge-sharing processes over organizational boundaries between partners, who may learn more about the problems that occur while looking at possible solutions together. Ensuring the right flow of knowledge in the two directions is central to the success of IT outsourcing operations, particularly in the transition stage of the relationship. However, these solutions do not fully acknowledge the different interrelationships between the main factors affecting knowledge transfer in outsourcing relationships in a dynamic way. In this paper, previous research on modeling knowledge-sharing across boundaries is applied to IT outsourcing contracts during the transition phase of the IT outsourcing relationship. Simulation experiments suggest that four reinforcing processes play key roles in the progress of the outsourcing relationship: trust, outsourcers’ and providers’ knowledge, commitment, and interfacing.
Article Preview

Literature Review

The relationship between the outsourcer and the service provider unfolds over several stages in which objectives and outcomes are constantly negotiated: before the contract, over the duration of the contract, and after the end of the contract (for potential renewals and extensions) (Cullen, Seddon, & Willcocks, 2005). This process of continuous negotiation helps partners develop a mutual understanding about the work to be done and how to correct mistakes based on common experiences. We consider IT outsourcing as a project, focusing on the successive phases of transition and adjustment between a client and a service provider that occur before the service can be considered in a “steady-state” (Cullen & Willcocks, 2003; Tiwari, 2010).

Articulating IT outsourcing requirements in that context often requires addressing many issues associated with knowledge sharing, collaboration, and communication problems between partners as they seek to reconcile differences in practices, languages, culture, and worldviews (Levina & Ross, 2003; Levina & Vaast, 2005). Knowledge exchange in outsourcing relationships is facilitated by the creation of interfaces as a bridge between the outsourcer and the provider during the different phases of the outsourcing relationship (Levina & Vaast, 2005).

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 13: 2 Issues (2020): Forthcoming, Available for Pre-Order
Volume 12: 2 Issues (2019)
Volume 11: 2 Issues (2018)
Volume 10: 2 Issues (2017)
Volume 9: 2 Issues (2016)
Volume 8: 2 Issues (2015)
Volume 7: 2 Issues (2014)
Volume 6: 2 Issues (2013)
Volume 5: 2 Issues (2012)
Volume 4: 2 Issues (2011)
Volume 3: 2 Issues (2010)
Volume 2: 2 Issues (2009)
Volume 1: 2 Issues (2008)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing