Despite many of its shortcomings, outsourcing is here to stay. Businesses are addicted to outsourcing and outsourcing is viewed as low risk (we have someone to pass the buck or blame if things don’t go right). IT departments have come to view outsourcing as a normal mechanism by which costs can be lowered. While this is true most of the time, sometimes uncontrolled outsourcing can limit IT’s ability to take advantage of emerging trends such as SOA. Let’s see how things can get ugly fast. In a typical data center outsourcing scenario, the outsourcer will probably assign a pool of resources to manage the infrastructure with the assumption that individual familiarity with the environment is irrelevant as long you have robust process (read: bureaucracy) in place. It works in theory but the reality is that in a shared services environment, you simply can not assign just any systems administrator to troubleshoot problems. The familiarity with the environment is essential or else you risk impacting many applications. At least at this juncture, most outsourcers are good at monitoring and troubleshooting applications but not services.
Those of you in IT management, who are negotiating contracts with outsourcers, you must make sure there is enough flexibility in the contract to accommodate appropriate monitoring, troubleshooting to handle shared services environment. The other option is have your employee augment the gaps to make sure your SOA infrastructure is operating smoothly.