September 06, 2007

Subsequent to my recent Editor's Note and article about alternatives to offshore outsourcing, Ed Williams of EWA reached out via e-mail with some further thoughts.It's not clear that Williams meant to address the following comment left in response to the Note, but he might as well have:

A student out to "make a buck" or your average retiree does not have either the maturity or the skill set required to do the job in these areas. And getting them to the point of being able to do what India has been doing for years now will take a dedicated educational infrastructure to bring it about.

Of course retired IT professionals could very well have skills on par with anyone anywhere, but the commenter makes an excellent point. Here's what Mr. Williams had to say:

1. The federal Government allows the affected unit to bid and compete with outsourcing (on-shore). I am not aware of U.S. industry allowing the affected group to compete.

2. Greater involvement from internal and outside auditors on cost and savings, before and after the deal. Hold the management responsible for outsourcing to achieve savings.

3. Our best Universities are educating international students to compete against us. They should have a preference for U.S. student admissions. Federal and state govt. need to offer scholarships, tax benefits lower cost loans to encourage our young people to study technology.

4. Develop centers on American Indian territory.

5. Increase corporate internships for disadvantaged American students.

Mr. Williams' point might be synthesized as follows: To some extent offshore outsourcing might enjoy more advantages than it ought to owing to a lack of domestic interest in developing under-utilized talent at home (points 3 to 5), and also due to a lack of internal scrutiny at the businesses that use it (points 1 and 2).

I'd be interested to hear whether others (who may prefer to remain anonymous) agree that insufficient efforts are made by companies to seek alternatives and whether, as Ed suggests, management is often less than diligent in evaluating the success of outsourcing initiatives, placing CYA before ROI.

Other comments on the subject are welcome, provided the commentor doesn't misread me as saying that offshore outsourcing is an unmitigated good for everybody-and doesn't affect to have "obvious" arguments without being willing to expose them to scrutiny. Losing your job stinks, but outsourcing is simply part of the world we live in.

Posted by Anthony O'DonnellSubsequent to my recent post and article about alternatives to offshore outsourcing, Ed Williams of EWA reached out with some of his thoughts

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek ...