One thing that struck me immediately was the contention thatservice providers should not be regarded as simply a way to lowercosts but as partners in innovation. Amen to that! One of the mostfrustrating aspects of this business is the amount of potentialbenefit we end up leaving on the table because we can't get ourclients to look past their annual operating budget and to thebigger picture.

For 2008, I'm focused on creating success by designing the rightmodel. When a company outsources its corporate real estate simplyto reduce costs or to reduce headcount, the end has essentiallybeen achieved. Both goals are fairly demonstrable and relativelyshort-term focused. The client will typically achieve savings (whatI call "low-hanging fruit" savings) and will usually streamlinestaffing. However, once these are satisfied, the sentiment usuallyis: what's next? In the context of the typical design ofoutsourcing contracts, there is no "next"--like my car's annoyingnavigation system says, "you have arrived at your destination."

A better design is created when the service provider has a deepenough understanding of your business to know the strategic driversthat govern it as well as the areas where management is undecidedand open to more dialog. Most service providers will learn enoughto know about your business but without a different model mostwon't get far enough immersed to tell you where the business isgoing, why and what might be done to mitigate risks.

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