Thursday, April 27, 2006

Offshore outsourcing India

Offshore outsourcing to India is one of the most popular management practices today. Though it is generally spurred by the cost reduction factor, this is just one of the reasons one should consider offshore outsourcing. Most parties who outsource are unaware that Indian Service Providers do not just offer cost effective solutions, but also value addition by improving productivity and quality.

Why consider offshore outsourcing to India?
Offshore outsourcing has been popular for several years. Countries like India are popular offshore outsourcing locations which offer cost effective solutions. There is a wealth of articles and write ups about the cost advantages of offshore outsourcing with a majority claiming anywhere between 40-50% savings.

However, offshore outsourcing has come under attack recently. There is an outcry against outsourcing by parties in the US and UK because of the loss of jobs to people in these countries. Many have pointed out actual costs and poor quality of service as the hidden truths behind the attractive packaging.

Offshore Outsourcing is not just about cost.
One should understand the need for offshore outsourcing better before making a decision. Cost is definitely one of the main reasons for offshore outsourcing to India, but one should realize that this cost advantage may not be seen immediately. Initial investment in infrastructure, training, and other such preliminaries may make one believe that the cost advantage promised is just the illusory pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow.

However, this cost advantage is seen over a period of time in a outsourcing venture which involves a committed relationship and understanding between both parties involved. A recent article on IBM and outsourcing illustrates this.

So the aspect of saving money does exist, but one has to realize that initial investment may make the promise of cost reduction seem false.

There will be savings and along with these savings there is great value addition. Most who outsource only realize the quality and value addition after the offshore outsourcing relationship begins. This is not usually the primary goal when deciding to outsource, and the creativity and talent in India comes as a surprise to many.

Offshore Outsourcing to India is about quality and value addition at a reduced cost.
The shift in motivation is already apparent. The fact that so many companies continue to outsource is proof of this. Along with the sheer volume of work that is pouring into the country comes recognition of the talent and expertise possessed by Indian Service Providers.

In an article featured in COMPUTERWORLD on India's prowess in the outsourcing domain, several analysts and outsourcing parties believed that cost was no longer the only reason why outsourcing to India is an attractive option. Companies in countries such as Russia and China have begun offering better rates than Indian companies.
The article continues to explain how major Indian software vendors have developed more of a global services delivery capability than their counterparts in other countries. India's workforce also offers the largest pool of technical skills in the world, and the country's universities add 180,000 engineering graduates to its ranks annually.

Indian companies also realize that cost cannot sustain the country's current dominant position in the offshore outsourcing industry. Nandan Nilekani, CEO Infosys, points out that the way business is conducted is changing. The perfect formula two years ago is no longer the way to do business today. Now the mindset is changing from a company that simply provides services to one that provides solutions.

Offshore Outsourcing to India - A shift in motivation
Already many companies are outsourcing with quality rather than cost in mind. Google's recent announcement about setting up an R&D center in Bangalore reflects this new mindset. In an article featured in the E- Commerce Times, the author comments on Google's hiring practices as legendary, with the company "...reportedly selecting only graduates of the nation's top schools to be considered for employment".India emerging as a global brand in terms of superior quality is not only being seen in BPO but also in manufacturing which has so far been considered China's forte.
Offshore outsourcing involves a great deal of thought. One should not be spurred simply by expectations of rapid cost reduction. The new mantra of offshore outsourcing to India is quality solutions. When processes are offshored to India, companies not only get the advantage of low cost but also experience improvement in productivity and quality. These are the reasons that should motivate offshore outsourcing to India.

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