Getting IT in Line; Life Time's valuable lessons.

Getting IT in Line; Life Time's valuable lessons.

December 5, 2003

3 Min Read
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Too Late?
I'm not sure why MIT's attachment-blocking is making news now ("MIT: Executables Be Gone!," BuzzCut, Nov. 13, 2003). It's too little too late to stop the virus/worm problems we've seen over the past year. If more people had banned attachments years ago, viruses would be almost nonexistent now. My company banned most attachments more than three years ago.

Brian Bergin

Terabyte Computers

Getting IT In Line
I appreciate Rob Preston's assessment of the issues separating an IS department and the rest of an organization ("A Bridge Too Far?," Oct. 30, 2003). Aligning the IS department with the company's goals and objectives appears to be a consistent challenge for many of my peers.

I have yet to converse with a peer whose organization lacks business goals and objectives or a strategic plan that outlines where the company is expected to be in the next five years. On the other hand, I have yet to hear a colleague say his or her IS department identified technologies that support those objectives, prioritized which technologies offer the greatest ROI or bring the organization closer to its goals, and then condensed the findings into an IS strategic plan, which could be used for budgeting, resource requirements, policies, standards, operational procedures and, perhaps most important, answering the CEO's questions before they are asked.

Manny Gomez; Technical Project Manager
Company name withheld by request
[email protected]

Valuable Lessons
The root causes pointed out in "Why Offshore Outsourcing Failed Us," (Oct. 16, 2003) no doubt contributed to the problems Life Time Fitness faced, but I see other reasons for the failure.

For instance, it seems to me that the onsite liaison--the key bridge between Life Time and the offshore project team--did not clearly understand and convey the project requirements to the development team. This person should have been a Life Time employee--someone who clearly understood the business requirements. In addition, the liaison should have been providing more feedback to the Life Time team during the development process.

Also, I question the strategy of outsourcing while Life Time has a strong internal development team.Finally, outsourcing has been used by many businesses, but selecting the right provider is often a challenge. I wonder if Life Time chose the right offshore team.

Tommy (Hong) Gu; Manager, Quality Assurance
Computer Associates
[email protected]

A client recently asked me about the risks associated with offshore development. Your article was very helpful to us in that discussion. I was especially impressed with the "Lessons Learned" summary, as I have long suspected that the increased communications costs would significantly offset the reduced cost of labor.

Larry Cummings; Business Development
Integral Pro

[email protected]

There is always a chance of failure when dealing with something innovative. Consequently, Life Time's offshore outsourcing experiment should not be considered a total failure, but rather an achievement that emphasizes the problem-solving skills gained.The article pointed out the major issues associated with proper management, which is essential for any success.

Suhas Sharma
Polytechnic University
[email protected]

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