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The January 2013 issue of WIRED Magazine had an interesting article written by Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan, “The Age of Insourcing: How Tech Helps Megacompanies Rope Us In.”

“This past summer, General Motors announced an initiative to bring 90 percent of its information-technology positions back inside the company. The decision was newsworthy for its creation of US jobs at a time when the country’s economic recovery remained anemic and unemployment sky-high. Even more notable was GM’s plan to grow its own payroll instead of handing the work to subcontractors. In truth, though, the auto giant’s latest move was following, not bucking, a trend: For all the focus on outsourcing, economic forces are actually pushing corporate giants to grow larger.

Since the birth of the Internet, we’ve been told that our unbounded connectivity will favor the rise of small, nimble organizations—microfirms linked through contracts and T1 lines. And indeed, the web does make it cheaper and easier for firms to do business with one another. In the same way that would-be entrepreneurs can raise funds through Kickstarter, they can find contract work and contract workers through online marketplaces like Elance and oDesk.”

According to Margaret Rouse in What, “Insourcing is a business practice in which work that would otherwise have been contracted out is performed in house.

Insourcing often involves bringing in specialists to fill temporary needs or training existing personnel to perform tasks that would otherwise have been outsourced. An example is the use of in-house engineers to write technical manuals for equipment they have designed, rather than sending the work to an outside technical writing firm. In this example, the engineers might have to take technical writing courses at a local college, university, or trade school before being able to complete the task successfully. Other challenges of insourcing include the possible purchase of additional hardware and/or software that is scalable and energy-efficient enough to deliver an adequate return on investment (ROI).

Insourcing can be viewed as outsourcing as seen from the opposite side. For example, a company based in Japan might open a plant in the United States for the purpose of employing American workers to manufacture Japanese products. From the Japanese perspective this is outsourcing, but from the American perspective it is insourcing. Nissan, a Japanese automobile manufacturer, has in fact done this.”

So how do we “Insource” proposal writing within our community colleges? We need to look at our internal assets, our human capital. Who within our organization can effectively contribute to the development of a successful proposal?

If we start analyzing the Request for Proposal (RFP) as to the various sections that need to be written in response to the actual solicitation, we discover that there are numerous assets on campus that can help in this writing enterprise. Normally, there is a requirement for describing the needs which will be addressed. The institutional researcher can provide current data that clearly describes what our specific needs are, how they correlate with regional, statewide and national data. Your public information officer can provide with institutional history, accomplishments and newsworthy items. Depending upon discipline, your faculty can provide you with research studies, resumes, and methodology for reaching the proposal’s stated objectives. If you have a faculty or staff member who is experienced in conducting evaluations, they can assist in writing the evaluation design for the project. Finally, engage a representative from your Business Office in helping develop the project budget. They will have an in-depth understanding of salaries, COLA’s, salary increases, fringe benefits and future increases for multiple year budgets.

You need to remember that insource folks have a commitment, passion, and deeper institutional understanding than and outsourced writing consultant. Not only will this be more cost-effective in the short term (savings by not hiring outside person), but will have key institutional buy-in from campus constituencies. Your chances of getting funded are higher by insourcing the institutional passion vs. outsourcing to a consultant. On your next proposal submission, try “insourcing!”