Editor's Note: We are very pleased to introduce you to Steve Hultquist, the new author of the Outsourcing newsletter. Hultquist is senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates and has 20 years' of IT leadership experience in both engineering and executive management. He is also editor of slm-info, an online learning forum for service level management. With his solid IT background and knowledge of SLM, we're honored to have him on board and we're sure you'll enjoy his weekly columns. We also would like to thank Tim Wilson for guiding us through the outsourcing maze for the past two years. Tim has decided to leave EMA for pastures new and we wish him all the best.Editor's Note: We are very pleased to introduce you to Steve Hultquist, the new author of the Outsourcing newsletter. Hultquist is senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates and has 20 years' of IT leadership experience in both engineering and executive management. He is also editor of slm-info, an online learning forum for service-level management. With his solid IT background and knowledge of SLM, we're honored to have him on board and we're sure you'll enjoy his weekly columns. We also would like to thank Tim Wilson for guiding us through the outsourcing maze for the past two years. Tim has decided to leave EMA for pastures new and we wish him all the best.I have spent the past 15 years or so in various service provider organizations, including a couple of years with IBM's outsourcing arm developing its approach to outsourcing non-mainframe computing. As times changed, so too did I, as I adjusted to providing engineering services, Internet services, and eventually application services over the Internet. However, the fundamentals of service provision haven't changed as the focus continues to be on surpassing expectations in terms of both service and costs.On March 8, the "Wall Street Journal" published an article by columnist William M. Bulkeley that described the impact to the U.S. job market of IBM's success in outsourcing. Because saving customers' money is a primary IBM business strategy, the focus of outsourcing projects is to improve productivity and efficiency. Bulkeley contends that this overall improvement, while benefiting customers, is harming the U.S. economy because fewer total IT staffers are required to manage the same IT requirements. When some of those positions are sent offshore, he argues, the U.S. economy suffers even more.This line of reasoning points out a fundamental drive behind every IT effort - much less every outsourcing project - that is the need to wring out the maximum value from each investment.This goal is achieved by using higher levels of automation, making available expertise to multiple customers, and by using better processes and procedures gained through extensive industry and technology experience. You can easily discover the power of automation simply by looking at how far products that help manage service levels have come. For an excellent overview of this marketplace, visit slm-info, an online learning forum for service-level management. From its Web site (https:\/\/www.slm-info.org\/) you can download a free copy of the "SLM Solutions: A Buyer's Guide, Second Edition." The book covers the marketplace in general and discusses 80 vendors' products in particular. It gives some solid guidance on launching an SLM\u00a0initiative.While this kind of efficiency has been the promise of IT for many years, we are now beginning to see some of its consequences. For the first time in memory, technology is not a growing marketplace for employment. Many highly experienced senior technology professionals are finding themselves unemployed or underemployed as a direct or indirect result of the very efficiency that they have been developing over the years. As a result, IT is looking for a foundation from which to launch the "next big thing." That foundation is the creative force of human capital. Developing and empowering that creativity is not a simple task, however.For years, information technologists have pointed out the value of automation and said, "Let's get the machines doing what machines do best, and let the people do what they do best: be creative." At the same time, that creativity is difficult to understand, direct, and manage - for the simple reason that it is creative. Creativity is the only source for the quantum leaps we need in products, services, and their management. But, whenever something is new, we have to figure out how it fits into the puzzle of our business. At the same time, however, it is also far more difficult to find a fit for an individual's creativity.Decades ago, Peter Drucker, a renowned writer, teacher, and consultant specializing in strategy and policy for businesses and social sector organizations, proclaimed the emergence of the Knowledge Worker, noting that in knowledge work, the task is not given or structured. However, many workers continue to fight to maintain a more structured work environment while it is that very unstructured nature that holds the promise of a more powerful future.As I begin the weekly privilege of sharing with you the latest news on the emergence of this creativity in outsourcing and service provision, I plan to rely on my 20 years of IT leadership and your input to analyze the emerging trends in outsourcing. I have been an engineer and a senior executive in a broad range of organizations from IBM to a small company that I started. I believe that we are on the cusp of understanding a new model for successful business leadership, and I am looking forward to sharing the journey with you.