MIS Quarterly Executive


IT offshore outsourcing means using an offshore provider to handle some of an enterprise’s IT work. Offshore outsourcing now has a track record, so it has become an option that IT leaders need to consider. But the practice has raised the issue of how to manage expertise dispersed across sites. Both clients and providers now realize that knowledge management is an important contributor to successful offshore outsourcing.Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is a large IT services provider with headquarters in Mumbai, India. Much of its work is IT offshore outsourcing. We identified the following eight practices that TCS uses to manage dispersed expertise: 1. Implement an organizational structure that is a mirror image of the client’s structure. 2. Implement a knowledge transfer methodology. 3. Implement a knowledge retention methodology. 4. Monitor expertise development and retention at project and organizational levels. 5. Make expertise development a key organizational value. 6. Offer mechanisms to search for expertise at project and organizational levels. 7. Implement a reuse methodology at the global level. 8. Continuously measure the contribution of reusable assets.Based on our research, we believe that over the next five years, offshore providers will need to develop a system for managing knowledge and expertise, just as TCS has done, to compete and deliver on client expectations. We also see TCS’s experiences and practices as valuable to clients of IT offshore outsourcing providers.