Yesterday, there was a listserv discussion about Outsourcing email to Google or some other Hosted Email platform. I was suggesting that for some, especially residential ISP's, the move would be a financial decision because if you are paying for Postini, it's mere pennies more to move everything - mail servers, power, bandwidth, hardware costs, spam fighting - to Google (or other hosted email vendor).
I kind of got tainted in this discussion. As if Outsourcing was bad and my suggesting it was wrong.
May I point out that as an ISP you outsource SO much already. Dial-up modem pools for one. IKANO and Global POPs wouldn't exist if thousands of ISP's didn't outsource modem pools.
DSL infrastructure. You outsource all of your DSL to the ILEC. I know, how else could I do it? Well, it's your primary business (for many of you) and you have no control over the hardware, infrastructure, pricing, repair or anything else. There are alternatives: put in your own DSLAMs; build a fiber network; build a WiMax network; or be the provider for MDU or MTU buildings.
ISP's outsource almost all of their transport circuits to another carrier -- and usually to just one carrier -- so if something goes wonky with the ILEC, they lose it all.
The reason I mentioned the Google Apps for Service Providers program was because the number 3 issue that people contact me about is email. And in some instances it would be a smart financial move. (In others, it may not be).
One reason to Outsource is because you want to Leverage the assets and skills of another company (like you did with modem pools and do with DSL). That applies to Apps and Value-adds as well. It's a way to provide additional services to your client base without taking on more work or employees or CAPEX.
Outsourcing is mainly a business decision. If you think that you have to do it all yourself, you will plateau. There are only so many hours in the day and only so much that can get done - either because we run out of time or we exhaust our skill set. It's just food for thought.