Issue No. 3: Keep the core and outsource the rest. This is phenomenally stupid advice, no matter how often it's repeated. Outsource to gain economies of scale, to gain access to scarce expertise, or to gain competence in a discipline more quickly than you could achieve by building it internally. The keep-the-core theory assumes that when a company outsources a function, it no longer has to pay attention to it; instead, it can focus on its core.
To the extent Carlson's claims are legitimate, they demonstrate the fallacy -- in the end, whether outsourced or not, Carlson's management still was responsible for the results of the arrangment, which means it still had to keep an eye on the job.
Issue last: Loss of flexibility. Employees can do favors for other employees. An outsourcer's employees can't -- they can only, with approval through the contractual governance mechanism, agree to do extra work as an add-on.
Meanwhile, management can change priorities for an internal department more or less as it needs to. To change them for an outsourcer generally requires renegotiation of the contract or additional statements of work.
I know of one case where perfectly reasonable small projects never get started because the terms of the outsource require use of an outsourcer-provided project manager, at a cost roughly four times what the company would pay for an employee doing the same work. That price differential kills the business case for a lot of proposals that would otherwise make sound business sense.
Back to Carlson vs IBM. Whose fault is it? I have no idea. Blame the Outsourcer, like Blame the Consultant, is a popular game no matter what the facts of the matter. Some of Carlson's claims, on the other hand, seem pretty hard to chalk up to anything other than botched work (serious outages are bread-and-butter work and aren't in any way subjective).
Still, I'd say that whether or not IBM's execution was poor, Carlson's judgement in going this route in the first place was seriously flawed.
Its judgement in not giving me a call first to get my opinion was, of course, even more seriously flawed.