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Monday, February 04, 2002


My friend Kate Hartshorn is a competitive intelligence specialist and a savvy researcher who knows how to ferret out knowledge and information. For example, the GartnerGroup is a pricey research service that is worth the investment. What is less known is GartnerGroup also publishes high quality papers that are free. Three such papers that will prove valuable to anyone managing outsourcing are:
  1. IT Benchmarking and Outsourcing - Problem Avoidance. This paper distills the ten worst practices of outsourcing and reinforces them with real examples. The net result is a checklist of what not to do and why.
  2. Measuring Outsourcing Relationships. Worth its weight in gold to anyone who is struggling with how to measure vendor performance. I am frankly amazed that this short paper is offered for free. As I read this paper it occurred to me that it's also applicable to measuring internal IT services, so I encourage you to read and bookmark this one.
  3. Communicating Total Cost of Ownership to a Nontechnical Audience. In my honest opinion this paper is more valuable for communicating business issues to IT professionals. Why? First, the nontechnical audience cited in the paper is comprised of business people who probably know more about cost management than the average IT professional. Second, the paper places TCO into context. As an added bonus you're also be treated to a generic presentation on how to make presentations.
Another amazing cache of papers that are exceptionally useful can be found at IBM's e-Business Resource Page. This page has material that covers all major industries and addresses five topic areas that are tied to specific industry segments: (1) business intelligence, (2) customer relationship management, (3) e-business infrastructure, (4) e-commerce and (5)supply chain management. The surprise here is that the whitepapers are not self-serving advertisements, but are actually useful references that synthesize an incredible amount of information into 10-20 page PDF documents. If you're researching any of the topics for your company I highly recommend starting there.

An interesting site I recently discovered is MDE Enterprises. They publish IT Manager Development Series, which is a 10-publication collection of books on IT management. They also publish the IT Manager's Toolkit, which is comprised of 70 management tools for IT. I have seen none of the books or tools, so cannot speak to their quality or value, but am gratified to know that someone out there is publishing IT operations management tools.