I was discussing outsourcing with a friend the other day. I work in government IT, and outsourcing is used widely in government. He was discussing the tricky nature of being brought in as an independent vendor to the outsourcing vendor. What this brought up was something that is often overlooked in outsourcing deals, especially major ones. That is: any organisation that outsources a function (such as its IT) usually does so in the hope of saving money by shedding large amounts of staff. But, they usually don’t factor in that they will need additional staff with different skills to manage that outsourcer.
This rather amusing article in Slate appeared in my LinkedIn feed – Google Reader Joins the Graveyard of Dead Google Products. The article invites you to leave a flower on the grave of your favourite dead Google product. The startling thing is how many there are: 39 by their count! The lesson that I draw from this is not that Google kill off a lot of products, it is that with cloud computing we must account for the risks around continuity of supply, and specifically that continuity of supply risks are not solely due to companies failing.