(Redirected from Sole source)

Multisourcing is the concept of working with multiple suppliers – who are also competitors – in a trusted and collaborative effort.[1] Large-scale buyers, such as the U.S. federal government, may want to feel assured that there is more than one supplier for an item.

It has been described as the opposite of "one neck to wring".[2] The opposite is called sole-source.

Intel, a large corporation, was not "enough" for the x86, and so others such as Advanced Micro Devices and Cyrix were needed.


There are two primary models for Multisourcing: Prime Contractor and Client models:[1]

Prime Contractor modelEdit

A Prime Contractor may use subcontractors. Either way, the client has "one neck to wring".[2]

Client modelEdit

The client is the system integrator.[3] Multiple outside sources,[4] each with their own "perceived core ompetencies",[1] provide services. This does not preclude the outside suppliers from further subcontracting.[1]

Sole sourcingEdit

Although "no-bid contracts are illegal under European Union procurement law",[5] "there are exclusions and exceptions" in the UK's rules,[6] and "U.S. law permits .. sole source contracts under specified circumstances".[5]

The assurance that the identical and in some cases, certifiably equivalent,[clarification needed] item is available seems to defy a statement that "[t]here is no optimization achieved through working with a single provider",[7] especially when "sustainable" capabilities exist.[8][5][7]

Cost plus and other arrangementsEdit

Both the much-disputed Iraq reconstruction no-bid contracts and those awarded after Hurricane Katrina contained "cost-plus" provisions which "guarantee contractors a certain profit regardless of how much they ultimately spend", according to the Wall Street Journal. Critics claim that such agreements "remove any incentives for private companies to control expenses, which are paid for by the tax-payer".[9]

A no-bid contract is a military or government contract that is made directly with a corporation, bypassing the standard process of bidding. These contracts can be made much more quickly than a typical contract, however they are often fraught with suspicion. After the 2003 war in Iraq, the Halliburton company, previously headed by then vice-president Dick Cheney, was issued a $2 billion no-bid contract for fuel distribution. Speed is usually the rationale for such contracts.

Just days after Hurricane Katrina, in September, 2005, the Bush administration awarded no-bid reconstruction contracts to companies such as Fluor Corp., Bechtel, Shaw Group, CH2M Hill Cos, and Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown and Root.[10][11]


Although it was recently defined, multisourcing has been practiced in the market since competitors started to produce alternatives to IBM’s datacenter products in the late 1980’s.[12] Firms like Gartner[13] and Forrester Research[14] pushed the term into the public eye.


Multisourcing's strength, first recognized by Gartner Group in 2005, is to continue providing disciplined services via a blend from internal and external sources.[13]

In workshops, providers are taken through business scenarios to confirm details like method, data content and timescales for each cross-provider interaction. The outputs of these workshops are operational level agreements (OLAs)[15] which are signed and agreed upon by all providers to maximize performances and ensure that everyone is aware of the requirements of their job.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Nick Gill (2008). "The Keys to Successful Multisourcing" (PDF). Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Christopher Calnan (October 6, 2016). "Software maker Real Savvy raises new funds after pivoting, hitting profitability". (Austin Business Journal). ... one neck to wring ... a single source of technology
  3. ^ "Sourcing" (PDF).
  4. ^ Sarah Burnett (May 2012). "Why the public sector is turning to multisourcing". Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Sole Source" (PDF). Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  6. ^ "Public tendering rules: UK decision to invoke Article 50". Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Bobby Varanasi (September 2006). "Multisourcing - a comparative to outsourcing" (PDF). Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  8. ^ 48 CFR Ch. 1, Part 6
  9. ^ Thought pieces: who pays
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround. Collins (November 12, 2002). pp. 76
  13. ^ a b Linda Cohen; Allie Young (2006). Multisourcing: Moving Beyond Outsourcing to Achieve Growth and Agility. Gartner Inc. p. 236. ISBN 1591397979.
  14. ^ Outsourcing Providers Need A Strategy Rethink To Address Buyers' Shift To Multisourcing
  15. ^ Mansel Luke (September 17, 2013). "How to make multisourcing work". Information Age. Retrieved November 1, 2015.