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Carnegie Mellon Spins Off IT Sourcing Certification Group

A set of standards developed at Carnegie Mellon University will be expanded in a certification program that establishes the proficiency of companies providing IT outsourcing services. The university has issued an exclusive license to a new spin-off company, ITSqc, founded by the same academics involved in setting up the standards in the first place.

ITSqc (for Information Technology Services Qualification Center) will continue the work of establishing best-practice models and a certification program for companies that either provide or purchase services such as IT operations, applications development and management, back office operations, engineering design, payroll, and telemarketing support. Its "eSourcing Capability Models"--one for service providers and one for client organizations--describe standards by which to evaluate and improve service delivery, reduce risks, and assess the value of the services. The standards were refined by a consortium of IT sourcing firms, client companies, and other advisors.

Organizations can be certified at one of five capability levels, based on their use of and adherence to the best-practice models. The ITSqc certification has been pursued by companies such as IBM's global delivery centers in Brazil and Argentina and Infosys in India to demonstrate their capabilities. As a spin-off company, ITSqc will develop new options for small and medium-sized service providers and clients.

"The evolution of the Internet and the growth of the world's telecommunications infrastructure now enables companies to seek out IT expertise from providers anywhere on the globe," said Raj Reddy, professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon and chairman of the ITSqc Advisory Board. "But without a set of commonly accepted best practices, many providers will routinely fail to deliver on their promises and potential clients will have no basis for comparing prospective providers. By establishing these best practices, the ITSqc has helped to bring order to the sourcing marketplace."

Founders of the new company include Bill Hefley, a former associate teaching professor in Carnegie Mellon's Institute for Software Research (ISR) who is now on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh's Katz School of Business; Jeff Perdue, associate teaching professor in the ISR; and Jane Siegel, senior systems scientist in the ISR and the Human-Computer Interaction Institute. All have played key roles in ITSqc's development.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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