Managing IT Outsourcing

Subject ISYS90055 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours in total.
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Dr Sean Maynard



Subject Overview:


Outsourcing has become a routine part of management, yet it remains far from easy. In general, the concept of using external organizations (whether domestic or offshore) is considered an efficient and logical way to get things done, and is indeed widely accepted in many sectors of the economy. However, the learning curve is significant, it involves considerable hard work by both parties on a daily basis, and the results are highly dependent on the capabilities of the organizations involved. This subject focuses on the crucial activities that make a difference between success and disappointment.

Indicative Content

This subject provides an overview of both the theory and practice of managing outsourcing throughout the lifecycle.

Topics discussed are:

  • Architect Phase: Deciding what and how to outsource. Designing a deal, developing a Contract Scorecard, Service Level Agreements and Key Performance Indicators, pricing, and the contract
  • Engage Phase: Competitive bidding, choosing supplier/s , negotiation, due diligence
  • Operate Phase: Mobilisation, governance and contract management, relationship management
  • Refresh Phase: Disengagement (exit), next generation planning.
Learning Outcomes:

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Describe a range of managerial issues regarding outsourcing.
  2. Explain the lifecycle and corresponding ebbs and flows of bargaining power.
  3. Understand the practical difficulties and realistic success strategies for outsourcing.
  4. Justify decisions in what and how to outsource.
  5. Recognize personal negotiation styles and how that influences approaches to outsourcing as well as results.
  6. Empathize with challenges facing both purchasers and providers and form pragmatic solutions.
  7. Demonstrate a practical ability to write an SLA to a commercial standard.
  8. Independently research and argue disparate beliefs/theories of outsourcing.
  • Write an SLA: A 1500 word report in first half of semester (20%), requiring approximately 25-30 hours of work. Addresses Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 3, 6 and 7.
  • Debate: A 3500 word essay, completed within groups of 5 (25%), requiring approximately 33-37 hours of work per student, and a 20 min presentation in the second half of semester (15%), requiring approximately 18-22 hours of work per student. Topic at students' choosing (ILO's 1, 6 & 8).
  • Six tests of 15 min duration at start of each class subsequent to the first class (40%) (ILO's 1 - 6).

Hurdle requirement: To pass the subject students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for the tests.

Prescribed Texts:

Cullen, S., Lacity, M. and Willcocks, L. Outsourcing: All You Need to Know. Either paperback edition on or digital edition on

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Logic, practical long-term thinking
  • Results-orientated and economic-effect cognition
  • As well as writing and presentation
Links to further information:

Learning and Teaching Methods

The subject is delivered in 4 hour classes. Each class will be made up of a combination of lectures, discussions and tutorial type activities. Outside class, students will study through prescribed readings.

Learning Resources

Additional readings are available via the LMS.

Careers/Industry Links

This subject is relevant to careers in with purchasers and/or providers of outsourced services, in addition to those running or considering their own business in the area.

Related Course(s): Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Ph.D.- Engineering
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: MIS Professional Specialisation
MIS Research Specialisation

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