[thelist] In-house vs outsourced credibility

Sam-I-Am sam at sam-i-am.com
Tue Jan 20 17:17:38 CST 2004

 From the agency ivory tower:
Very often the clients we work with do have capable in-house people who 
could or have been doing the same work we are being asked to do. The 
reason they pay us large amounts of money to do what (arguably) they 
could do can include:

* The in-house talent is already busy.
* The in-house resources are best focussed where they add real value - 
leveraging specialist knowledged gain from working at that company and 
in that problem space - not handling work that could just as easily be 
done by an outside agency.
* The exec wants to see/hear something new (by the same token, on longer 
term engagements, this is the same reason we are eventually fired)
* The exec want to step outside of internal politics (see above)
* The exec needs accountability. He/she will pay a premium to know the 
job will get done, there'll be a paper trail on every decision, 
documentation delivered, etc. etc.
* The exec has money left over and needs to spend it fast to ensure the 
same budget next year!
* The exec gets an ego rush from dishing out large contracts, and having 
his opinions listened to by expensive professionals.
* The exec want the benefit of experience gained solving similar 
problems for similar companies.
* That experience is on display in an extensive portfolio of relevant 
projects undertaken, and being talked up by enthusiastic sales staff of 
the outside agency.

..to name but a few. I've seen all of the above, sometimes in the same 
client. What is very easy to lose -  when you contract outside for 
design work - is history: the agency doesn't have the benefit of all the 
lessons learned over the years. When the system is working well, you get 
the best of both worlds and the work produced is a meeting of minds, a 
collaboration, and greater than the sum of its parts. Also bear in mind, 
by engaging an outside company, a project might get new momentum - time 
wasted is quantifiable as a cash expense. Resources are guaranteed, and 
not liable to get swiped by some other internal effort, and so on.

who works for a well known design agency, AND knows about FTP (and SFTP, 
SCP and WebDav, not to mention HTTP(s), CD-ROM, DVD, and plain old email 

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