Gartner Research: A little help here?

Today, as research for an article I'm writing, I read a Gartner research report on offshore deals:

Management Update: Five Reasons Why Offshore Deals Fail

You'd have to pay to read the whole article, but here are some highlights (I don't think I'm giving away the store here):

The five key failure points that Gartner identified:
  • Unrealized cost savings

  • Loss of productivity

  • Poor commitment and communications

  • Cultural differences

  • Lack of offshore expertise and organizational readiness
Pretty good so far, and at least they confirmed my own thoughts. And really, isn’t that why we buy research: to reinforce our own thinking? Here are some of Gartner’s suggestions for addressing these issues:
  • Make sure that your business case takes into account all of the costs, rather than just looking at wage disparities

  • Be realistic about productivity assumptions

  • Have a communication plan that focuses on having the right people say the right things at the right time

  • Identify the cultural nuances and train staff to adapt to them

  • Review the maturity and readiness of your organization before making an offshore delivery decision
So, I can’t find anything objectionable in this advice (except, perhaps, in the emphasis on cultural differences: a good manager should be ready to identify and deal with any personality type, and laying that responsibility on a whole culture instead of the individuals on a team smacks of lazy thinking to me), but I don’t find much that’s useful, either. This is the business equivalent of your mother telling you to wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident. They tell you that you need to think about these things, but they don’t tell you how to actually do anything about it if your thinking reveals a problem.

I guess this is my objection to management-focused research and analysis organizations like Gartner and Forrester: they charge large sums of money to tell people where their problems might lie, but they don’t help them solve those problems. Forewarned may be forearmed, but I’d still rather get at least one practical (or is it tactical) tip for my money. When I go to the doctor, he doesn’t say, “Well it looks like you might have a broken arm there. I’d avoid falling off of any high places for a while.”

I realize that these organizations are serving a large client base, and that any advice must naturally be tailored to a specific environment. Still, it would be nice if they could put some of that vast brainpower to work on solving the problems rather than just pointing them out.

File under: ,
1 comment

Top Posts

The Giving Season

Wanted: Someone to Make My Life Easier

Do You Really Want to Be CTO?