Saturday, May 15, 2004

Outsourcing and responsibility

Hewlett-Packard is settling a claim with the government of Canada. But what I find interesting about this is their comments that their own employees aren't responsible, but instead that one of their subcontractors hatched a scheme to defraud both parties.

And this matters?

Businesses must be cognizant of their responsbility to provide a contracted service. Customers don't and can't monitor their arrangements on how to service that contract. There are whole businesses (general contractors) whose sole job is to manage these sorts of complexities.

To their credit, HP seems to accept this notion in that they settled the claim.

But even raising this as an excuse is laughable and worriesome. Is HP somehow less responsible because it failed to scrutinise its suppliers?

Is your medical insurer or financial company less responsible because the leak of your personal data happened in India rather than in their own office? Or is a software vendor less responsible for a back-door because it was inserted by a contract programming house in India or Russia or other grossly-stereotyped labour market?

I wonder how long it will take for some enterprising lawyer to argue for punitive damages in a confidential disclosure case in an amount comparable to the labour savings the defendent enjoyed in outsourcing the work in the first place.

[Comments from my previous blog]

1. a reader left...
Saturday, 15 May 2004 1:57 pm
Now that a shame less title to get high click rate.
2. glen martin left...
Sunday, 16 May 2004 4:41 am
If you say so. Personally, I thought and think it closely related to the content.

3. john left...
Friday, 21 July 2006 10:53 pm ::
Outsourcing comes with a set of great responsibilities however some peoples presenting them not as article but as onion hoof.
4. bedava oyunlar left...
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 6:05 am ::
good works

5. BPO Manila left...
Wednesday, 2 June 2010 5:51 pm ::
Great post! I think that people are forgetting that outsourcing doesn't mean that you are handing over your entire company to an outsourcing partner. You are still the boss; you still need to constantly monitor the workings of the outsource company. As in all businesses, the leader or manager is still responsible if an employee does something wrong. The leader may not be directly to blame, but he has the responsibility of overseeing the entire operation, making sure that everything is going smoothly.

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