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Taking Charge: What Is The CIO's Role In BPO?

One hallmark of successful CIOs is their ability to creatively influence outsourcing relationships, Cutter's Hayes says.
At the start of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island's outsourcing contract with Perot Systems, the CIO at the time was in charge of both the BPO and IT components of the deal. That has changed under acting CIO Lance Kirk, who's employed by outsourcing advisory firm EquaTerra and has been working on BCBS of Rhode Island's outsourcing project since its inception 3-1/2 years ago. Earlier this year, as the two companies shifted to a co-management approach, responsibility for the BPO functions moved to Brad Weaver, assistant VP of operations. Since then, benefits have ranged from improved service-level agreements to better communica- tion with senior management.

There's been momentum that "since outsourcing started in the IT realm that IT should own that transaction," Kirk says. But, "I'm not a claims person, so having claims report to me versus someone who's been in the business for 15 years will lose something in that transaction."

It's not always so cut and dried. Brad Tobin, CIO of FirstEnergy Corp., says the role "needs to be reflective of the companies' organizational culture and structure." He believes it's up to him to bring in the necessary technology "and then lead the change to make sure it's successful and values delivered."

The difference between CIOs who succeed at BPO and those who fail is the ability to creatively influence and manage these relationships, says Ian Hayes, who consults for The Advisory Council and is with Cutter Consortium. They may be one of a thousand BPO clients, but those that leverage their clout with outsourcers--such as supplying business knowledge to help a partner launch a service--will ultimately deliver the best value to their organizations.

Return to main story, Letting The Process Go

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