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IT Execs Mull Outsourcing

IT execs at two large companies say they're considering farming out some computer operations to service providers.
Executives at two large companies said in separate interviews Friday that they are considering farming out at least some computing operations to service providers--an indication that companies that have yet to jump on the outsourcing bandwagon are at least giving it serious thought.

Bill White, director of IT operations and planning at energy provider Emera, says he's reviewing requests for information from a number of major service providers as part of a sourcing review at the Halifax, Nova Scotia, company. And Andy Miller, VP of technical architecture at Corporate Express, a $5 billion supplier of office products in Broomfield, Colo., says he's in the process of determining which of the company's IT operations may be candidates for outsourcing.

Both White and Miller say any decision to outsource would be driven primarily by cost. Other factors could also play a role in the decision. White says outsourcing would help put all of Emera's operating units, including Nova Scotia Power, Emera Energy, and Bangor Hydro, on a uniform IT architecture. Miller says outsourcing would let Corporate Express separate "core from context," a notion popularized in the business book "Living On The Fault Line" that urges companies to outsource everything not related to their main line of business. "But actually deciding what's core and what's context isn't that easy," Miller says.

Both White and Miller also say they would consider moving work overseas if it meant lower costs, and that external politics wouldn't play into the decision. "Our job is to get the best value for shareholders, period," White says.

White and Miller were interviewed at a computing-industry lunch in Manhattan.