Friday, July 22, 2005

Outsourcing: Odious or Out-of-the-box?

A-2 Outsourcing: Odious or Out-of-the-box?
Sunday, July 17

The target audience for this program was law firms, but clearly, outsourcing is here to stay and in fact will only increase in every business environment. For that reason, any type of library (or business) could benefit from information given in this presentation. Program coordinator Lee Nemchek (Morrison & Foerster LLP) succinctly informed the audience on the myriad of terminology used in professional journals about outsourcing, described various models, and, as evidenced by the subject's growth in the literature, was convincing in that outsourcing is something libraries need to prepare for.

Two following speakers elaborated on outsourcing's global aspect from interesting, rather polar positions. H. Larry Eiring (Thomson - Elite) spoke about his experiences as a firm librarian who successfully coordinated outsourcing services. He detailed critical steps in the outsourcing process that would effect a successful outcome - strongly emphasizing the forged partnership between the two entities (library and outsourcer), replete with each party's responsibilities.

Ganesh Natarajan (Mindcrest Inc.) discussed outsourcing from the provider's position.
Although outsourcing is not new, Natarajan equates its rapid growth to the growth of information technology beginning about twelve years ago. Other driving factors include the high costs of legal services in the U.S., the availability of U.S. legal resources on the web, and (Natarajan’s company is based in India) that India is a low cost source of legal talent.

Interestingly conceived, this program served to demystify somewhat the outsourcing concept. Eiring’s sage advice in particular was empowering; i.e., if this should happen to your firm (library), what is the best way to handle it?

Contributed by Deborah Dennison

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