Not surprisingly, the road to effective sourcing begins with upper management support. This support might lead to establishing a "sourcing strategist" internally to determine what business processes should be farmed out or kept in-house.For instance, it would not behoove a property/casualty carrier to outsource its underwriting function, says Bill Pieroni, general manager, global insurance, at White Plains, N.Y-based IBM Global Solutions. "If you're good at something, you should keep it in-house," he says.

One approach carriers can take in determining a sourcing blueprint is to "step back, take a look at long-term goals and ask the question: 'Can someone do this better than we're doing it?'" says Rick Enright, marketing director for CIMR, a subsidiary of Columbia, S.C.-based BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. The Blues plan offers a complete outsourcing solution for healthcare systems featuring full back-office support services for payers and health plans that's marketed as cimrONE.

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