Almost every week in the last few months someone has asked me about the general mood on the streets of Bangalore. What are the IT professionals in the Silicon Valley of East making of the changes in the industry? How is the senior management of offshore headquartered service providers preparing for the future? While there are several versions of the predicted future, everyone agrees that this is a watershed moment in the evolution of the IT outsourcing and offshoring industry.
A 2012 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that nearly 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, with the highest concentrations found in countries in central and southeastern Europe and in Africa. With complex global supply chains the main vehicle of global trade and commerce, regulators face a stiff challenge policing against workplace abuse, especially given the pattern of outsourcing production to jurisdictions where labour standards and their enforcement are weaker than at home.
Over the past two decades, networking has been severely limited: it simply could not keep up with new demands from businesses in an increasingly digital world. However, that is all about to change thanks to the creation of software-defined networking, or SDN. Part of an ongoing wave of “virtualisation” in the IT industry, SDN allows people (particularly businesses with large IT systems) to control network behaviour through a handy piece of software, instead of having to go into the network infrastructure and alter things manually.
I was thinking of what I could say about the outsourcing market at the end of 2016. My initial thoughts were about how I feel that the term itself is dying out. Companies are much more likely to be exploring partnerships today.
The Register likes to put the boot in when they comment on IT stories, so it was no surprise to see a recent feature about Fujitsu in which The Register summarised that Fujitsu needs to "get a move on" if they are going to transform their business to meet the expectations of customers today.
Not too long back, many global IT service providers were known to move delivery of IT services of their clients to offshore locations (like South Africa, Latin America or India) without informing their clients. This was seen as an internal lever to make customer contracts more profitable in a multi-year deal as services were first stabilised in a high-cost onshore delivery location before being shipped to an offshore location.
For years, the outsourcing world has been buzzing about reshoring (or "backshoring"), taking the jobs we sent offshore years ago and bringing them back to the US and Europe. Low wages, cheap property, and favourable taxes made offshore manufacturing very attractive. But in recent years property values rose, staff turnover increased, and wages just keep heading up. Despite weakening economics, offshore still made sense. Until today!
Hard to believe half a year has gone by so quickly, but Outsource finds itself once again at a SIG Summit – taking place this time round in delightful (though, today, surprisingly drizzly) Carlsbad, California.
For as long as I can remember, arguments about outsourcing have played a part in the US election cycle. In the final stages of the presidential election the two candidates will make promises they can’t keep and declarations about how bad outsourcing is for the American economy.