CIOs are frustrated at the lower quality of output from mainframe outsourcers, with over two thirds encountering hidden costs, according to a Vanson Bourne survey.

The poll, commissioned by Compuware, showed that many of the 520 CIOs approached from enterprises across the UK, US, Australia and several other nations were impacted by poor quality when mainframe application development was outsourced.

Many CIOs are faced with the need to reduce expenditure by outsourcing mainframe application development. Yet 71 percent said that hidden costs were causing frustration when such work had been entrusted to external organisations.

This is often down to the poor quality of work completed, the survey highlighted, with 67 percent of respondents reporting dissatisfaction with the level of work carried out on new applications or services. This was due to a number of factors, with CIOs citing a widening in-house skills gap, as well as knowledge transfer problems and high staff turnover within outsourcing organisations.

The low quality of outsourced work is also impacting on total cost ownership, demanding additional time and resources to be spent on completing projects.

Just over half of companies, 54 percent, have had to subsequently increase investment in performance testing and troubleshooting as a result. A similar number, 51 percent, claim to have also had to increase investments in internal staff to compensate for outsourced work.

In addition, IT staff were forced to spend an average of 10 days fixing bugs and performance problems created by outsourcers on any given project.

“It is true that outsourcing can help companies reduce costs and gain access to technical expertise they might not have in house, particularly as experienced mainframe developers move on and take their applications knowledge with them,” commented Kris Manery, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mainframe Solutions Business Unit, Compuware.

“However, as the research shows, there is a growing frustration that outsourcers are failing to meet expectations."
Manery added: "Because there is no means to easily transfer application knowledge to the outsourcer--and to verify code quality and performance when it is delivered--application quality suffers, thus undermining any potential savings.”