Six out of 10 companies outsource at least some portion of their IT operation according to a new IT outsourcing study from InformationWeek. But there's growing dissatisfaction with quality and deadlines as 29 percent of the 530 surveyed business technology professionals reported firing a vendor during the last 12 months.

"With end user support and development of customer-facing applications, more than half of survey respondents say outsourcing has delivered lower quality."

The author of the study Mike Healey, president of Yeoman Technology Group, concludes that IT departments are failing to manage outsourced vendors or provide enough guidance and oversight to make the relationship successful. He also cites SaaS and cloud computing as attractive alternatives, with the majority of respondents saying they've been satisfied with the performance of cloud vendors and plan to expand their contracts.

But here's the concern, nearly six out of 10 respondents rely on cloud vendors to monitor their own performance and only 17 percent monitor the performance and uptime of cloud and SaaS applications. As cloud vendors exit the honeymoon phase and increase their base of customers, their performance could deteriorate unless they are monitored by qualified vendor management professionals.

Cloud computing extends vendor relationships further than ever for some companies, and customers must stretch their management practices to cover it. According to business technology professionals, unforeseen costs, communication problems, and lack of industry expertise are three leading concerns to evaluate before selecting a partner.

Certainly this report validates the notion that vendor management is an up and coming IT career, whether it's drafting a statement of work or service level agreements and monitoring vendor adherence, procuring services, negotiating rates and contracts or communicating requirements and managing projects.

For those who have been displaced by outsourcing, a vendor management career will utilize your technology knowledge, provide you with new skills and give you added mobility in a rapidly changing business environment.

-- Leslie Stevens-Huffman