New Careers in Outsourcing A Reality Today
January 4, 2010
Today is a great day.
Why? Because, although I have been forecasting these changes for at least the last 5 years, I just saw a major news article on Bloomberg that demonstrates that these changes are here now and are bigger than most of us can imagine.
There are two things that you should look at. First, in the face of unprecedented negative media regarding offshoring, several US states are wooing the biggest offshore companies. These companies receive tax breaks, state dinners with the Governor, and access to state contracts that they have never had before. According to the article, Indian offshoring companies like TCS and Infosys are now better able to compete against IBM and Accenture for projects within the US.
Second, read between the lines of the article and you will see that allowing offshoring companies to gain a foothold in government contracts, even if no offshoring is allowed, opens the door to all kinds of collaborations that would never have happened otherwise.
Let’s imagine that the proposed new law goes into effect in the US and bars “… companies with more than 50 U.S.-based employees [like TCS] from using temporary visas for more than half their U.S. workforce”. This means that if TCS has 1,000 employees in the US, it cannot use temporary visas to get more than 500 new employees into the US.
Will this force TCS to hire more Americans at 7 times the labor cost?
Not necessarily. If they have good relations with governments in the US and identify a need, they can do the following:
- Define, together with their client, a new technology solution that addresses the client’s need.
- Set up a joint venture, with the [state government] client to build the solution in India at a fraction of the cost.
- Generate a new project or line of business in the US with their [state government] client paying for implementation on-site in the US.
Think now about the job categories that would be required:
- TCS needs business analysts, project managers, technical architects, etc. to define the solution in the US.
- Client needs the same skill sets as part of the joint venture.
- TCS needs people in both the US and India to work together to further define the solution, work out technical design details, and form a project team to build the solution.
- Client needs subject matter experts AND people who can effectively manage product development where teams are in the US and India.
- TCS needs people in India that can do the work to build the solution.
- Client needs people that can work with both an offshore team and an on-site team to ensure business requirements are met, quality assurance is effective, and timelines are met. This means a team of project coordinators, business analysts, QA specialists, and documentation experts.
- TCS needs a technical deployment team in the US and a product support team in India.
- Client needs a technical deployment team and deployment coordination specialists in the US.
- TCS needs technical writing, CBT, or other training materials to be developed in India.
- Client needs a team that is capable of working with the offshore team to create these materials.
- TCS needs post-implementation team in the US and a support team in India.
- Client needs a product liaison in the US that can work with the India support team.
You might say that this is all just supposition. However, I have worked with different governments for 12 years and have seen similar scenarios in the past. While none of my personal experience in this area has been with offshore teams, I distinctly remember one project where the client was a Canadian federal government department in Ottawa while the product was being developed more than 1,000 miles away in a remote province in Canada. I have also seen cases where the product was developed in Canada while the client was in the US, or vice-versa.
What this means is that the business models used by offshoring companies are expanding. They are no longer limited to simply providing cheaper labor. They are not simple master/servant relationships. They are partnerships that involve complex configurations of people, processes, and infrastructure. And they are no laws now or in the near future that can put a stop to the maturation of global collaborations like the one described above.
The above scenario gives a picture of the types of jobs that would be created in a new project. You can take this further and imagine that after success in one state, TCS could take their solution to 49 other states. This means a large sales effort and jobs to support that. They could establish an SaaS (software-as-a-service) infrastructure in one of their world class facilities in India. This would mean US-based support staff as well as India-based hardware and software support.
And if you change the scenario or extend it even further, you can see a wide variety of jobs created where you need to become expert in working with remote teams, managing physically separated processes, or serving widely disparate user groups.
Next article, we will look more into the specifics of the opportunities this opens up for smaller companies.