July 19, 2017

CATA Leadership Council member, Alex Braskow, responds to Op-Ed Article on Outsourcing

The recent op-ed article – When the public sector is Outsourced, Canadians suffer – has some serious misunderstandings.  It is written by the President of the Union, thinly disguised as a recruitment drive looking for more membership revenue!

The premise is that employees deliver better results and more cheaply.  Given that about 40,000 employees work in the IT industry in 101 departments and agencies, who would believe that all their projects deliver quality work to a budget of time and money?  The reality is that contracts, by their very nature, define deliverables as well timelines, a contractual commitment to getting a job done rather than simply best effort.  There is visibility and public scrutiny through public accounts and the like for contract work and none for projects done by only employees.   

The other reality is that large projects complex projects require large pools of staff that have specific expertise.  Try hiring 200 staff within 2- 3 months that have the requisite skill set.  And once that project is done what do you do with that staff?

The union president should also know that there are multiple other benefits to contracting for IT staff.  Contracting turns fixed costs – employee ones and the requisite support costs of building, pension, etc. – to variable ones, ones that can be turned on and off.  GoC managers have a choice among multiple vendors and are not simply held captive by in house expertise, or lack of it.  GoC managers can draw on the expertise of global firms, lessons learned from around the world.

The real issue is understanding the complexity of large IT projects and not doing them on a DIY basis.

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