Thursday, 15th May 2008
Tim Buckley Owen
Sorry to harp on yet again so soon about offshoring – see http://www.vivavip.com/go/e5884 for the last posting – but more evidence is emerging that that the issue is returning with a vengeance. The news isn’t necessarily all bad though – especially if you read the runes and come prepared.
First off is Outsell’s recent Offshoring Update – details at http://www.outsellinc.com/store/products/728 price $695 – based on a webinar for information managers held earlier this year. It includes some really useful advice: don’t wait to be told to offshore, for instance – it will be too late to do anything about it by then.
Instead, pick the services that have to be provided in-house, and try farming out the others on a trial basis, Outsell suggests. And don’t look upon it as a punishment either; use it as an opportunity to decide what are the core things you really want to do, and what you’d just as soon let someone else handle.
Develop your success metrics in advance and insist on an experienced vendor relationship manager located with your offshore colleagues, it says. The net effect of Outsell’s advice is to make it all seem like an opportunity rather than a threat.
Advice from Gartner, aimed at IT managers this time and previewing its Outsourcing & Vendor Management Summit http://digbig.com/4wxjq seems no less reassuring. Yes, offshoring can save as much as 30 to 40 per cent on costs – but those savings aren’t much help unless companies have taken customer satisfaction into account in their offshoring decisions.
‘For most IT organizations, the help desk is the primary end-user-facing organization,’ says Gartner’s research vice president Richard Matlus. ‘If end users are not satisfied with it, then it will have a negative effect on the IT organization.’
And there’s another concern that companies are increasingly having to throw into the offshoring mix: skill shortages. But not necessarily the ones you’d expect.
According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, employers in the developed world are facing a new challenge – how to fight off recruiters in emerging economies, luring skilled staff away from the west. Talent Wars: The Struggle for Tomorrow’s Workforce – report free, background at http://www.eiuresources.com/mediadir/default.asp?PR=2008050601 – suggests that when talent isn’t available locally, companies in emerging markets will look to Western Europe and North America to fill their vacancies.
So, far from wanting to export their functions, it mightn’t be too long before employers start getting desperate to nurture the talent they’ve got – especially, apparently, in the ‘soft’ skills such as the ability to manage change, think strategically and communicate effectively. Life’s getting tough for information professionals in business at the moment – so maybe it’s worth looking east.
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