IS/IT outsourcing : issues, evidence, and lessons from Kuwait, a developing country
This study presents an overview of a national case study exploring the IS/IT outsourcing phenomenon in the different sectors of a developing country. The study is empirically based and provides a logical extension to earlier research studies/endeavours in the field of IS/IT outsourcing. Kuwait has been used as an example of a developing country where the data collection for this study was carried out. The primary data on IS/IT outsourcing practices, obtained for the first time in Kuwait, were collected by means of survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews supported by organisational documentation. To the best of our knowledge, this research represents the first effort in IS/IT research to address and discuss outsourcing issues in the context of developing nations using a holistic approach. The research seeks to identify the factors that give rise to this phenomenon, and the degree to which they influence the practices, procedures, and outcomes of IS/IT outsourcing arrangements in Kuwait. The overall research aimed to provide a comprehensive pragmatic picture of IS/IT outsourcing practices, including motivations, risk analysis, contract drafting and legal issues, vendor selection criteria, evaluation practices, decision-making process, and post-evaluation experience. There is growing evidence within the Kuwaiti environment to suggest that organisations are not achieving the desired benefits from their IS/IT outsourcing operations. IS/IT outsourcing projects in Kuwait are still undertaken in ways that are not clearly related to strategic change. IS/IT outsourcing decisions are rarely taken from a thorough and detailed strategic perspective, and efficiency improvements remain an overriding consideration. A central argument of this thesis concerns the need to understand the complex cultural and environmental implications of IS/IT outsourcing within developing countries' context, as this practice is becoming increasingly important in developing nations. It is, therefore, the aim of the this study to contribute to the growing body of knowledge in this area by exploring the theoretical foundations underlying the process of outsourcing and developing a better understanding of this process based on a holistic view in terms of the critical success factors that lead to success and failure of IS/IT outsourcing projects in Kuwait. The findings of this study have emphasised the importance of proposing best practice guidelines for IS/IT outsourcing practices in Kuwait specifically and other `similar' developing countries and such a set of best practice guidelines is set out in this thesis. A better understanding of the IS/IT outsourcing process as embodied in the-best practice guidelines is important, as it can be said with certainty that the drive towards outsourcing of IS/IT services/applications in the different sectors of Kuwait is on an increasing trend and gathering momentum.