Offshoring as Competitive Edge?

I just reported on the NOA's recent awards for outsourcing projects, and friend Karen Watterson brought to my attention an article that ran in Customer Interface, the ICCM Journal. “Most Companies Think Offshoring Ensures Edge” is a summary of a European survey done by the National Outsourcing Association on the topic of offshoring.

What I find most enlightening is this statement:

However, the majority of organisations (55 per cent) do not believe that offshoring is necessary to overcome UK and EU skills shortages.

I used to believe that line of thought myself — that a skills shortage drove outsourcing. Maybe that was true in the US in the late '90s, but these days it's a bogus rationale for organizations that simply don't want to retrain their current staff in new technologies and new ways of working. It's dated. If your organization's managers and executives are using that verbiage in their presentations on the topic, encourage them to own up and provide the real reasoning behind the decision to move IT out of house. Direct honesty is essential to ultimate success in these endeavors.

Here's another interesting statement from the article:

The NOA study also found that organisations were 100 per cent satisfied with the calibre of personnel and data security in offshore locations.

We have a security expert who will be supplying us with a report in 2005 on the topic of security in outsourcing engagements. If you have questions and concerns around this subject, we'd appreciate hearing about them, since it'll make the content we provide that much more practical. You can post a comment here or email me at