Legal Information Management


Outsourcing Business and I.T. Services: the Evidence of Success, Robust Practices and Contractual Challenges

Mary Lacity and Leslie Willcocks


In this article, Mary Lacity and Leslie Willcocks review the practice of outsourcing business and information technology services. Research finds that outsourcing can deliver value to client organisations, but that it takes a tremendous amount of detailed management by clients and providers to realise expected benefits. The proven practices that contribute to positive outsourcing outcomes can be summarised as contractual governance, relational governance, client retained capabilities, and provider capabilities. Despite outsourcing's maturity, some enduring contractual challenges remain, particularly in the areas of incentive pricing and contract adaptability.


  • business management;
  • outsourcing;
  • information services

Dr. Mary Lacity is Professor of Information Systems and an International Business Fellow at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her research focuses on global outsourcing of business and IT services. She has published 12 books, most recently China's Emerging Outsourcing Capabilities (Palgrave, 2010, with Leslie Willcocks). Her current research focuses on high performance BPO, impact sourcing, and rural outsourcing.

Dr. Leslie Willcocks is Professor of Technology Work and Globalization, Head of the Information Systems and Innovation Group, and Director of The Outsourcing Unit at The London School of Economics and Political Science. He has published 34 books, most recently The Outsourcing Enterprise: From Cost Management to Collaborative Innovation (Palgrave Macmillan, London 2011), and The Practice of Outsourcing (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010, with Mary C. Lacity). His current research focuses on high performance BPO, cloud computing, and bundled services.