Over the past few years, we've had occasion to talk about the role of outsourcing in e-commerce. In the beginning, a lot of your efforts had to be moved outside of your organization because of lack of staff or other resources.As we continue in this tough economic climate, it's hard to dismiss the role of outsourcing since e-commerce initiatives can be costly and unpredictable and therefore, take its toll on the company's infrastructure.And if you have kept your e-commerce effort in-house, you are probably engaged in constant discussions within your IT organization to figure out how much of the company's resources are being dedicated to your project.Beginning next month, I'll be on the road with our Service Level Management Technology Tour to discuss how to manage such relationships. Rick Sturm, president of Enterprise Management Associates, and I will join eight of the leading SLM vendors to talk about how IT organizations can work with departments and outsourcers to get a handle on project expectations and needs.In his morning keynote, Rick will explain what SLM is and why it's important for every IT organization to have. Beyond cost-justification, SLM tools help you get a clear view of what your network can handle and what you need to offload. Rick will also talk about how crafting and negotiating service-level agreements that clearly outline your goals can lead to the success of your project.In the afternoon, Rick will look at the actual structure of a SLM rollout, including what metrics to consider and how to make sure you're monitoring your agreements correctly.Throughout the day, I'll lead two panel discussions with representatives from the leading SLM companies. Joining us on the tour are HP, Micromuse, Metilinx, Compuware, Computer Associates, Mercury Interactive, SMARTS and Visual Networks. They will each present their company's solution to the SLM problem.Make sure you register for this event at https:\/\/www.nwfusion.com\/events\/slm\/index.html and I'll see you in one of the four cities on our tour: New York, Chicago, Richardson, Texas or San Francisco.