At the Ref Desk (7/11/20): After 6 hrs of chat-reference, I got out of the house and hiked north on Broadway all the way from Diversey to Howard. Nice evening. (Took the bus home.) [more...]

Perils of Outsourcing Your IT Expertise

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/24/12 (3:51am)

This article on the differences between the Obama and Romney campaign operations has been making the rounds. I think the best approach to its catalog of hits and misses is a healthy dose of skepticism. I mean, did the fate of Romney's campaign really hinge on whether they put together a documentary film showing "how Romney had helped average people in personal ways"? Who knows? Anyway, what really caught my eye, was this comment about the organization of Obama's IT team:

As [Harper] Reed assembled his team, he insisted on being given leeway to hire some of the best techies in the country, from ­Facebook, Craigslist, Twitter. Moreover, he insisted the team be largely internal, rather than have the enterprise be divided up among outside consultants.

Meanwhile according to this great article in Ars Technica, the Romney campaign was stricken with a severe case of outsource-a-ritis:

... [T]he Romney campaign did what many corporations have done in tight times—it kept its IT budget in check and heavily outsourced technology relative to its budget, keeping only a few strategic efforts in-house. At the same time, top executives took care of their own base, bringing in their own companies and those of friends to provide key services. While it wasn't exactly a consulting feeding frenzy, the Romney campaign left most of its technological fate in the hands of outsiders—and even internal projects like Orca were dependent on quick fixes from outside talent.