If you've read this blog for a while, you'll no doubt have noticed that I'm a nerd thinly disguised as a semi-eloquent submitter of prose. Nothing should drive that point closer to home than the inspiration for this article.

Today, while reading my daily torrent of RSS feeds, I came across a link to this article in Slashdot. Yup – I read Slashdot. Religiously. I'm a nerd.

Anyway, that article by Paul Venezia struck a cord. In it he posits that businesses should not outsource everything to vendors. Essentially, he's saying that vendors have a role, but that you need really smart people to drive your business. Your own really smart people. I couldn't agree more. But I'd take it another step and define the role of what your smart people should be doing.

In this age of limited personnel and diminishing budgets, it's imperative that smart people work smarter. Thus, you should focus on outsourcing things that are making your people spend time ineffectively. I had a smart customer once tell me, "I'm in the business of making sandwiches – not of doing backups." What he understood very well is that doing backups of his IT infrastructure is necessary, but by-and-large not something that his smart people need to focus on. He'd much rather have one of his smart people figure out what the policies and procedures for backups should be, and then have someone else actually execute them. With that, his smart people are focused on making sure that IT is meeting the business requirements and the rest is delegated to someone who's business is to execute.

I'm being a bit self-serving discussing managed backups because that's a big thing that I do for Datalink, but the same concept can be applied to any discipline in IT. The equation is simple: hire really smart people, outsource the execution of the drudge work. There's economies of scale at both ends of this. You get smart people that help you drive your business. Outsourcers like us can hire smart people that can drive our business − across multiple customers.

Kinda cool how that works, huh?