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Article by Mohan Babu


Outsourcing: Dual advantage for NRI techies

[If you are interested in offshoring, you may also be interested in Mohan's new book on Offshoring Management]

It is time for Indian techies in the US to take advantage of the outsourcing hype and replan their career goals. They do not have paperwork hassles and bottlenecks, allowing them to live and work in both countries, writes Mohan Babu

A few weeks ago, I wrote about outsourcing of IT systems and projects from the US, and since then I have received a number of mails from readers. I have also noticed an increasing deluge of articles in the mainstream media of the US talking about the pros and cons of outsourcing. There is little doubt that the outsourcing model is taking off, but how much and how fast is the million-dollar question.

Interestingly, among the “Top 10 Predictions” from Gartner for 2002, outsourcing ranks high. The research firm says, “Outsourcing and trusted suppliers will take more control as capital spending reduces in favour of operating budgets. This trend has already taken off in corporate America where cost cutting has become the new mantra.” Gartner goes on to add, “Softness in the consulting and systems integration markets will be taken up by growth in outsourcing and management services, which will contribute to the growth in the overall professional IT services market. Outsourcing and management services will increase from a 53 percent share of the worldwide professional services market in 2000 to 57 percent in 2004, primarily at the expense of systems integration services.”

There is little doubt that outsourcing is a highly viable business tool at the disposal of corporate executives. It is also interesting to see Indian companies graduating from being providers of low-end software coders to Business Process Outsourcing vendors, moving up the value chain. Skillful and innovative marketing is helping propel Indian companies towards bigger projects, especially as the tech spending in the US continues to be sluggish. The slowdown is perhaps a blessing in disguise for Indian software houses that are now able to afford fine talent. Indian companies are also finding that they can get an audience with executives in the US who are looking towards outsourcing as a viable cost-saving measure.

The trend towards outsourcing does not seem to be restricted to the high-end players alone. Smaller and mid-sized companies, even individuals seem to be jumping the outsourcing bandwagon. A recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Hearing I work cheap from across the globe”, goes on to talk about services like “2 Rent a coder” services that provide individuals with connectivity in the global marketplace. What may seem like a few dollars in the US translates to hundreds of rupees (or Roubles or Chinese Yuan) in another corner of the globe. Web commerce makes for a truly global marketplace this in turn makes micro-level outsourcing a very viable and attractive option for even individuals who want to jump the bandwagon.

Perhaps one of the most important factors in favour of outsourcing (to India) is the presence of a large number of NRIs who can be tapped in this endeavour. A number of Indians who came to the US during the boom time of the nineties are now green-card holders and permanent residents in the US. They are comfortable working in both American and cross-cultural teams. Employers, especially to the software executives who run Indian companies, are finding that they have ready access to thousands of capable and highly skilled professionals. Added to that, there are hundreds, if not thousands of excellent techies of Indian origin with American green cards who may be planning to make use of the current slowdown to revisit their career goals and options. Executives with some foresight and the ability to look at the forest from the trees will immediately sense an excellent opportunity, since this situation (downturn in economy) in not going to last long. Even outsourced projects need representation at client sites, people who understand both the offshore and onsite development. There are a number of compelling reasons for Indian companies to hire NRIs technologists:

  • Indian technologists, who have lived and worked in the US, understand the local culture and can interface with natives in America.
  • Technically savvy. They understand the current technologies and trends, and tend to have their ears in the ground.
  • Companies employing NRIs do not have to worry about logistical issues. For example, every new person sent to the US will need guidance and help with non-work related documentation and logistics. Having had a base in the US, NRIs will not need any such assistance, be it driving down to a client’s location or booking a hotel.
  • They generally have a good understanding of business practices in the US.
  • NRI technologists do not have paperwork hassles and bottlenecks. Many have green cards that allow them to live and work in India and US.
  • Very few travel restrictions. They can pack up and fly-down to a client’s location at a moment’s notice.
  • NRI managers can provide a big boost to companies hoping to move up the value chain.

Given the global nature of Indian software industry, most large Indian software houses have projects around the world and can market professionals in other parts of the world too. If they (the Indian companies) can see an opportunity in this economic climate, they will come ahead when things eventually start looking up. They will not only have a pool of talented workers but will also win the loyalty of the workforce that has seen worst times. There is an army of experienced professionals waiting for the right break, at the right price.




About the Author

  • A Bio and profile of the author, Mohan Babu, can be found at his homepage
  • Mohan has authored a book on Offshoring and Outsourcing (Publisher McGraw Hill, India), a link to which can be found here
  • Mohan has also authored an Online book on "Life in the US," available for free download.
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    ©Mohan Babu: All Rights Reserved 2005

    Mohan Babu is an international consultant trying to find the ‘sweet spot’ where IT meets business. E-mail: mohan He is also the author of a recent book on "Offshoring IT Services"

    All rights are reserved. Mohan Babu ("Author") hereby grants permission to use, copy and distribute this document for any NON-PROFIT purpose, provided that the article is used in its complete, UNMODIFIED form including both the above Copyright notice and this permission notice. Reproducing this article by any means, including (but not limited to) printing, copying existing prints, or publishing by electronic or other means, implies full agreement to the above non-profit-use clause. Exceptions to the above, such as including the article in a compendium to be sold for profit, are permitted only by EXPLICIT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT of Mohan Babu. 

    Disclaimer: This document represents the personal opinions of the Author, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Author's employer, nor anyone other than the Author. This Article was originally published in Express Computers


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