Public Release: 

IT sourcing: 'Workforce trends and skills development'

Bullen will present preliminary findings at SIMposium, Boston

Stevens Institute of Technology

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Information Technology (IT) sourcing is a growing trend, and the rise in popularity of US and international corporations entering into sourcing agreements is well documented. Headlines often focus on the "problem" of skills and capabilities leaving the US and moving offshore.

As the IT sourcing trend has become increasingly widespread, universities have introduced courses at the graduate level that focus on grooming skills required for managers who are faced with the sourcing decision. A unique program is now offered in The Howe School of Technology Management at Stevens Institute of Technology. The need for in-depth understanding of the four key aspects of sourcing was recognized and developed into a program that can be undertaken as part of the Master's of Science in Information Systems and MBA degrees, as well as in a stand-alone certificate program.

"All four courses are important elements that must work in concert to bring value to the organization from any sourcing effort," says Christine Bullen, senior lecturer and sourcing program coordinator. "The unique aspect of this program is that Stevens is the only university tying together four courses into a coherent program."

The four areas are governance, legal issues, relationship management and organizational impact. Governance addresses the initial decision and strategy formulation, as well as day-to-day management, once a decision is taken. Legal issues looks at one of the critical elements in sourcing that can make or break an engagement. Relationship management focuses on how to bring two (or more) different organizations together to support the effort, managing cultural differences, distance challenges, and the other diverse relationship issues. Organizational impact examines the positive mechanisms that can be used proactively to manage the change that sourcing can bring to an organization.

"In an effort to understand better the impact of sourcing on the workforce," says Bullen, "the Society for Information Management (SIM) is sponsoring an international research project examining the current and future needs of IT skills and capabilities in client and service provider organizations."

Current trends indicate declining university IT enrollments in the US and informal reports show that US client-organizations are devaluing basic IT skills and capabilities because of the ease of purchasing them through sourcing. This research, which Bullen and two other researchers will discuss at the September SIMposium in Boston, is addressing these issues with organizations to determine whether there is such a trend. The following are the goals of this research:

  • understand the current and future needs for IT skills and capabilities in organizations, including private and public sector organizations and client and service provider organizations;
  • determine how organizations do/will recruit, develop, and retain in-house IT skills and capabilities to meet current and future needs;
  • determine how organizations do/will access IT skills and capabilities through third party global sourcing; describe what skills universities should be providing in their graduates;
  • identify the patterns of skills and capabilities that will change over the next three years.
The research is on-going with preliminary results scheduled for a session at SIMposium 2005 in Boston, September 11-13.


For more information on the SIM Workforce Trends research or the Stevens program, contact Professor Christine Bullen at

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Established in 1870, Stevens offers baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science, management and technology management, as well as a baccalaureate in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. The university has enrollments of approximately 1,780 undergraduates and 2,700 graduate students, and a current enrollment of 2,250 online-learning students worldwide. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at For the latest news about Stevens, please visit

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