Executive Training in Enterprise Outsourcing and Cloud Computing

I am teaching again on our one-week executive education course on Enterprise Outsourcing at the LSE, contributing  my Cloud Computing expertise into a wider course on Enterprise Outsourcing and Innovation. Join us if you are able! http://bit.ly/eRIlxZ

Managing the Outsourcing Enterprise: From Cost to Innovation and Cloud Services

Professor Leslie P. Willcocks 
Dr Edgar Whitley
Dr Will Venters
Professor Mary Lacity

Dates:  25 June – 29 June 2012
Fee: £4,650

Course Objectives

This course offers in-depth coverage of the key issues, developments and management challenges in today’s global sourcing marketplace. It provides a learning vehicle and tools , in terms of key frameworks, principles and practices, for those preparing themselves for general management  in major organizational functions or for more specific global sourcing roles, and also for experienced managers who wish to move to the next level. It  focuses on the needs of managers and senior executives working in client companies and service suppliers. It covers global sourcing, strategy, Information Technology outsourcing (ITO) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) including the most recent developments in sourcing and offshoring  for such major areas as HR, Finance and Accounting, Procurement, Legal and Knowledge (KPO) functions.


  • Gain a thorough knowledge of effective management lessons and techniques to develop and implement sourcing strategy, operate as an informed buyer, select suppliers,  and manage and deliver outsourcing services from both client and supplier perspectives
  • Develop in-depth understanding of global trends in the sourcing marketplace and how sourcing fits with corporate competitive and collaborative strategies.
  • Draw on an unrivalled LSE Outsourcing Unit research base of over 1500 outsourcing arrangements in Asia Pacific, USA and Europe, and 20 years of publications and working papers on global sourcing trends, country and IT industry analyses, together with case histories of effective client and supplier practices.
  • Learn from up-to-the-minute case studies, negotiating exercises, guest executives and cutting edge research projects, including on bundled services, cloud computing, selective sourcing strategy, offshore locations..
  • Improve your ability to analyse sourcing challenges and questions and make more effective assessments and decisions
  • Develop your skills and marketability in increasingly key areas for contemporary organizations in a global context.

This course will address the following key topics

  • Global context and trends –offshoring, country attractiveness, key decisions
  • Moving To The Strategic Agenda – alignment, configuration, distinctive capabilities
  • Preparing For Outsourcing – 9-phase life-cycle, negotiation, selection, requisite supplier capabilties
  • Making The Transition – Contracts, HR and service challenges, change management, SLA and scorecards,
  • Managing Outsourcing – control, relationships, leveraging suppliers
  • Regeneration and Outsourcing Futures – options decisions case histories, trends to harness.

The course reader, especially prepared for this executive practitioner module is: Leslie Willcocks, Sara Cullen and Andrew Craig (2011) The Outsourcing Enterprise: From Cost Management To Collaborative Innovation (Palgrave, London

Google persuades Spanish bank BBVA to use the cloud

BBC News – Google persuades Spanish bank BBVA to use the cloud.

So a bank finally “goes Google” for its enterprise software (albeit for desktop productivity applications only).

Iceland’s future in Cloud Computing.

Once you move to the cloud you can locate your data-center anywhere where network connectivity is available. Given the cost of powering and cooling data-centers is significant it makes sense to find somewhere with green electricity and lots of available cooling – but also with a stable society and reasonable laws. Iceland is a good candidate.

Hence it is unsurprising to see the following from the Register:

Green trans-Atlantic cable set to launch in 2012 • The Register.

This cable will provide “Iceland with the required connectivity to support the anticipated explosive growth of low cost, 100% carbon free, renewable energy powered data centres, in which the Wellcome Trust, has a major investment,” said EA president Greg Varisco.

Third Report – The Impact of Cloud Computing

The third report in our series for Accenture is now available by clicking the image below:

Cloud and the Future of Business: From Costs to Innovation - Part Three: Impact



In this report we consider the potential short and long term impact of Cloud Computing on stakeholders. Using our survey of over 1000 executives, and supported by qualitative interviews with key Cloud stakeholders, we assess this impact on organisational performance, outsourcing and the supply industry both in the short-term and long term.

Second Report is here! The Challenges of Cloud.


In this second (of five) reports for Accenture on Cloud Computing we explore the challenges faced by firms.

Unlike other reports we do not dwell on technologically deterministic problems alone (security being one example). Instead we extend this discussion to include issues such as institutional lock-in. Such lock-in occurs when an organisations adoption of a SaaS can lead their users to become quickly locked into the ongoing development strategy of that SaaS whether it aligns with the organisations strategic aims or not. It is hard to get users who like a SaaS to stop using it if it aligns with their desires and aims even if it is against overall company objectives.

We also discuss Service Level Agreements – discussing why the challenges are not what people believe. The key is understanding the challenge of multi-tenancy for a service provider.



List of 100 Cloud Vendors

A student of mine forwarded me the following “top 100” cloud vendors list. I take such ratings with a pinch of salt but it is useful to see a list of companies who are significant players in this market. As a resource for ideas on different vendors offerings it may prove useful  – once you wade through the advertising to read it that is!



Cloud and the Future of Business: From Costs to Innovation

I have not been updating this blog for a while as I have been busy writing commercial papers on Cloud Computing. The first of these, for Accenture, has just been published and is available here


The report outlines our” Cloud Desires Framework” in which we aim to explain the technological direction of Cloud in terms of four dimensions of the offerings – Equivalence, Abstraction, Automation and Tailoring.

Equivalence: The desire to provide services which are at least equivalent in quality to that experienced by a locally running service on a PCor server.

Abstraction: The desire to hide unnecessary complexity of the lower levels of the application stack.

Automation: The desire to automatically manage the running of a service.

Tailoring: The desire to tailor the provided service for specific enterprise needs.

(c) Willcocks,Venters,Whitley 2011.

By considering these dimensions to the different types of cloud service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and Hosted service (often ignored – but crucially Cloud-like)) it is possible to distinguish the different benefits of each away from the “value-add” differences. Crucially the framework allows simple comparison between services offered by different companies by focusing on the important desires and not the unimportant technical differences.

Take a look at the report – and let me know what you think!


This is a company to watch http://www.cohesiveft.com/ – they have two products:

VPN-Cubed provides a virtual network onto the network of a cloud provider. This enables first to keep a standard networking layer which is consistent even if the cloud provided network changes (e.g. IP address changes).

Elastic Server allows real-time assembly and management of software components. This allows the quick creation of easy to use applications which can be easily sent to various cloud services.

However it is the fact that together these services allow virtual machines and cloud services to be moved between cloud IaaS providers without significant real-time work which is important. If their products live up to the promise then users can move to the cheapest cloud provider with ease so driving down costs to commodity supplier levels… and creating the spot market for cloud.

How big is cloud computing?

For those desperate to understand the market size of Cloud, two articles in the recent news provide interesting insight. The first, from the Economist, demonstrates ClockKick’s attempts to estimate Amazon’s virtual computer provision, and estimates 90000 servers for Amazon – in the USA East-Coast only!

Quote: “Randy Bias, the boss of Cloudscaling, a IT-engineering firm, did not use these results when he put Amazon’s annual cloud-computing revenues at between $500m and $700m in 2010. And in August UBS, an investment bank, predicted that they will total $500m in 2010 and $750m in 2011.” (Economist 29th December 2010).

Information technology goes global: Tanks in the cloud | The Economist.

Another interesting thing to watch is Intel’s profits which have risen “thanks to server sales”. Making profits of $3.4bn in current economic times is tough – as the flat sales of PCs is testament. It is in the sales of servers that this profit has been made. A large proportion of these servers must be going into cloud,  either to replace ageing (and power-hungry expensive data-centers) with virtualised servers (as private clouds in some form) or to provide  public cloud offering (and SaaS services such as FaceBook and Google) within newly developed data centers.