Another good idea for Outsourcers

Outsourcers are always looking for an "edge", a way to compete against other options. There is a competition against other outsourcers of course. There is also a competition against "in sourcing," where their corporate customers decide to turn inward for their coding needs.

The most important asset that an outsourcer brings, besides lower costs and higher personnel flexibility, is technology expertise. After all, if a particular technology is a core competency for a company, then outsourcing it is a really Bad Idea. This is why it is critical for companies to figure out what value-added activities are core to their success, and which ones are candidates for outsourcing.

For example, if a company's core business is paper products, they should become experts in applying the best technology they can afford to the design, manufacturing and distribution of paper products. Anything else, like delivering email, providing HR applications and supporting desktop systems, are candidates for having another company do them.

By the way, this is why IT companies should be careful not to rely too much on outsourcing. After all, in-house IT can be a terrific way for an IT company to demonstrate the value of their products in a real world environment.

I have advised some outsourcing companies to use their love of technology become a competitive advantage for them. In this, it's best not to disdain hardware technology, since this is one of the technologies that your customers are counting on you to advise them in.

One idea here (that I cannot take credit) is in taking advantage of Intel's new vPro platform to deliver that "edge". If you are not aware of it, vPro is Intel's desktop platform optimized for Business IT. It delivers better security and manageability while still delivering great performance and lower power. Think of it like "Centrino" for the desktop world, though that would be an incomplete analogy.

In particular, we're starting to see more and more businesses buy in to the concept of having features like Active Management Technology (AMT) available in all of their platforms to enable such things as asset discovery and out of band diagnosis, to save them money.

The way an outsourcer could profit from this would be to offer their services to be "vPro enabled." This would enable them to provide really valuable services to companies who are buying into having more of these vPro computers in their enterprise.

Think about it... would you rather provide the same-same management services that every other of your competitors are offering? This puts you in the uncomfortable position of competing on price! Or wouldn't you rather be in an uncontested space of offering advanced management services to companies? After all, like other Intel technologies, vPro is available from multiple computer manufacturers, even smaller local computer companies.

For those familiar with Blue Ocean strategy, this is a perfect blue ocean opportunity! Offer something that your competitors can't!

And as I said earlier, this is one of those cool opportunities to take advantage of the serious brand-building that Intel is famous for. Why leave money on the table?

Your next step to explore this is in the Software Partner Program which has a manageability initiative which fits this perfectly. Or just go to the Intel web site and search for vPro.

Happy "partnering",

Dave

The opinions in this piece are mine alone and do not reflect the official position of Intel on products or strategies
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