Knowledge in software-maintenance outsourcing projects: beyond integration of business and technical knowledge

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Knowledge processes are critical to outsourced software projects. According to outsourcing research, outsourced software projects succeed if they manage to integrate the client’s business knowledge and the vendor’s technical knowledge. In this paper, we submit that this view may not be wrong, but incomplete in a significant part of outsourced software work, which is software maintenance. Data from six software-maintenance outsourcing transitions indicate that more important than business or technical knowledge can be application knowledge, which vendor engineers acquire over time during practice. Application knowledge was the dominant knowledge during knowledge transfer activities and its acquisition enabled vendor staff to solve maintenance tasks. We discuss implications for widespread assumptions in outsourcing research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 48th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Publication date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ID: 83248739