Rewind-to February 2004. Outsourcing, in particular offshore outsourcing, was a bad word in the American lexicon. Merely one year later--with the presidential campaign over and President Bush still in office, it's not such a bad word anymore. In fact, industry sources say, outsourcing-even offshore outsourcing-has actually been growing, even while it was under fire. What's more, they say, "global sourcing" is here to stay."Outsourcing captured so much attention around the world in 2004," notes Lorrie Scardino, research director, at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc., during a recent teleconference. "A lot of people would say there was a lot of political rhetoric and attention that kept outsourcing at top of mind in many industry sectors-especially the IT sector, while others would say there were a lot of economic issues that kept it top of mind," she says. "But the reality is: Outsourcing in the IT services sector is a mainstream business practice."

In fact, in 2003, outsourcing captured 26% of total IT services spending across industries, according to Gartner. By 2008, that number will grow to 33%. Forty-seven percent of insurers are using or plan to use outsourcing within the next 18 month--and the insurance sector alone spent $6.26 billion on IT outsourcing in 2003--a figure Gartner predicts will grow to $10.3 billion by 2008.

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