Seventhman Blog

  1. Keeping Agile in the World of Offshore Outsourcing

    "agile outsourcing"Gone were the days of labor arbitrage as we enter a new era where finding qualified talent for your team is as quick as a mouse click.  While it is true that many businesses are looking offshore to cut down on cost, there is much more benefit to be had than meets the eye.  Those who were first to take a bite have now harbored mature offshore outsourcing relationships that resulted to an overall increase in service quality, as well as maximum flexibility when it comes to the organization’s enterprise strategy process.  Many of those who have been practicing offshore outsourcing see more improvement in their organizational agility as an effect of sending work over to global sourcing hubs.  But, innovation in this area is not without a multitude of challenges.

    The Immigrant-Driven Economy

    As I’ve been following the hot debate between Obama and Romney when it comes to immigration, I can’t help but wonder just how have these people born outside the U.S. helped in growing the economy.  In this infographic from Entrepreneur online mag, it will surprise you that more foreign-born workers and entrepreneurs are driving economic growth.. and the number is rising.  What’s more amazing is that they dominate service-based industries, regardless of the language and culture barriers.  There must be a stigma right now on local businesses taking jobs abroad, but I’m hoping that whoever wins the presidential race will not forget about the efforts of these migrants who are helping reshape the economy in such uncertain times.

    How Do You Play the Sourcing Game?

    While there’s news of GM bringing back 10,000 IT jobs on-shore, many other early adopters of offshore outsourcing may just follow suit.  Manufacturing is one of those areas where we’ll surely hear more news where sourcing is concerned.  But in this age of globalization where the fast beats the big, to survive the game, you have to multi-source… or simply, take the best of both worlds, of what insourcing and outsourcing can bring to your business so you can maximize productivity and increase your ROI.  As the adage goes, fortune favors the brave.  Many may still be reluctant to go local because they may not be able to scale their operations like what they currently do now overseas, like in India.  Investing in domestic resources may just not be a viable option for some.  Are you willing to take the risk?

    Offshore Outsourcing and Agility

    Some say that you can’t outsource agile for the simple fact that distance works against close collaboration among your team.  Can you really adopt an agile work process when it comes to outsourcing?  Though it comes with challenges, especially in the matter of managing people and technology, the good news is that it is manageable.  The core value of organizational agility comes with the right preparation, of taking baby steps, starting things slowly but surely, investing in on-site training, choosing the right partner, and having project managers who lead by example.  It’s all about taking advantage of the best available resources, onshore and offshore, that works for many successful teams.  In this case, we’re more likely to see hybrid sourcing models bloom just to make ends meet, as they call it.

    The decision is yours to make.  Experiment and Learn.

  2. Outsourcing and Job Creation: A Two-Way Street!

    "outsourcing"I have always wondered if the world today can survive without outsourcing and if it can, just how will the economy look.  Last year, I have asked a couple of folks if they think that outsourcing is a one way street ( see responses here ) and I’m amazed at the clashing insights I have received, and each answer has a point to make.  It’s pretty much obvious that the term ‘outsourcing’ is still a misnomer for many and the debate over this topic grows with favor ( and disdain ).  It’s not really a question of how emerging outsourcing destinations can become more attractive to investors, but more of a question on how to get jobs back to the U.S. – and if the latter is even possible to start with.

    Outsourcing: The Beginning of a One-Way Exodus

    Like many people who have asked the same question, they are inclined to think that outsourced jobs aren’t coming back, that unemployment rate will soar higher.  This may be said in the manufacturing industry where we see factories shut down and work is outsourced offshore to cut down on costs while staying competitive.  Should we blame the demand for a faster, cheaper and better product these days?  When customers demand the best value for the best price, most often, sacrifices are made and for this reason, repetitive tasks ( and a large number of it ) are outsourced and may never come back.  It’s simply a play of numbers, where lower wages and operating costs in developing countries tip the scales.  More American workers are out of work while outsourced work is reaching a saturation point. Before, it’s only low-skilled jobs which are outsourced overseas but now, we are experiencing a loss in intellectual capital as highly-skilled work is sought outside.  Is it lack of talent onshore that finally drives businesses to seek skills offshore?

    A Peek at Outsourcing’s Controversial Loophole

    While many fear that jobs won’t be coming back, there are those who say that offshore outsourcing is a two-way street.  In this age of globalization, many firms are doing businesses across the globe and this means creating jobs in first world countries too.  Just take a look at India’s Infosys with onshore facilities in the U.S.  Then, there are multinational firms who are insourcing as they do outsourcing.  Small businesses have also reaped rewards in finding help offshore so they can grow in a competitive market.  Not only can they control capital costs and increase productivity while reducing labor costs, but outsourcing helps them focus on their core business so they can start on new projects much faster than before.  Yes, there were failures along the way and yet, many are transforming their business model in a flat world.

    It All Comes Down to Cost, Quality and Time

    Going back to the question if outsourcing is a one-way street, I’d rather say that it isn’t.  In the end, it doesn’t matter where you source, for whatever investment is made will always come back in new forms ( jobs, companies, business opportunities ).  Perhaps, western media may be biased in educating people about facts where matters of outsourcing offshore is concerned.  Besides, there are other reasons why companies outsource and it is directly proportional to attrition rate.  We  should also be asking why people change jobs too.  Let us start asking ourselves how we can deliver the best service, a class-A quality product… in the shortest time at the right cost to satisfy our customers instead.. What do you think?

  3. The Future of Outsourcing: Rising Trends and Predictions

    "outsourcing trends"Last year’s outsourcing scene has been marked with plenty of talks on cloud computing and many have been debating on how sustainable it is for businesses to take a plunge into outsourcing these days, especially when negative sentiments about it is on the rise.  There are speculations on how emerging technologies will help bring outsourcing to the next level, making it possible for people to collaborate easier – anytime, anywhere.  The new year brings a mixed feeling of hope and gloom when it comes to the trends that will shape the outsourcing world from what we know today.

    The Dirty Li’l Secret.. Remains Untold

    When offshore outsourcing has been blamed to contribute to unemployment in the U.S., it only makes sense for large businesses to declare that they are creating more work at home… or do they, really?  Perhaps, lack of transparency has compelled the move for rallying this anti-outsourcing bill that will seek to punish those who are moving business offshore.  It only makes sense, as a protectionist act that any country will be compelled to do when the economy is down.  By offering local government incentives, this may drive companies to look for talents on shore – from crowdsourcing, rural sourcing, insourcing to near sourcing.

    When Opportunity Lost Means Opportunity Gained

    As outsourcing deals get smaller, we can see new price models that are tailor-made to fit every client’s budget and needs, no matter how small their enterprise really is.  Last year, IAOP (International Association of Outsourcing Professionals) predicted that we will see a surge of BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China, as major outsourcing hubs.  There will be more room for innovation and outsourcing to work hand-in-hand when it comes to technologies, collaboration and strategy – for coming up with value-added services in a higher demand, more than ever.  A stronger emphasis will be set on various social media platforms in the hunt for global talent and we will expect to see a rise in job matching/freelance portals on the Web.

    Outsourcing: Embracing the Risk

    It may be too late to bring back jobs on shore and there are still many who are taking the risk to outsource some or most functions of their businesses, offshore.  And to outsourcing vendors, they may just have to take on the risk of signing for several smaller contracts than going for a large deal.  You may not like to hear it, but lower labor cost is always the top driver for companies to consider offshore outsourcing.  You may put a lid on top of this running water, but it won’t hold businesses off from outsourcing, though you can slow down the process.  In the end, one has to ask:  Is outsourcing the cause.. or the effect of a much bigger problem out there?

    Will 2012 be the end of offshore outsourcing?  How about 10, 20, 30… 50 years from now?  You may have to see the world in a bigger picture – climate changes, world population, global economy, inflation, technology shift and so on.. It’s really too soon to tell..

  4. Conquering the Cultural Divide

    "cultural divide"Back in the 90’s, I remember hearing lots of news on the future of business as going ‘global’.  With technology today, time and place almost cease to exist as it bridges workforce across the cultural and geographical divide.  No longer does the adage ‘Divide and Conquer’ holds true these days, as collaboration happens in a speed of type.  The only question left now is: Have we really mastered our way through this global game?

    Is Having a Global Mindset Your Ultimate Key to Outsourcing Success?

    If you’ve watched the controversial TV series, Outsourced, you might as well know that adapting is more than a skill these days; it’s a must if you want to tackle problems together with your outsourced team and have an almost seamless collaboration process.  You may be too enthusiastic to work, only that it leads to frustration just because you forgot to do your research on your outsourced team’s culture, which affects the way they think and do things.  We are all stewards of global capital these days and having a global mindset is a social skill, just as important as technical skills.  How open are you to working with people in different cultures?

    Harnessing the Collective Brain

    One of the major impediments when it comes to success in outsourcing is not only the case of innovation, but also of the ‘Us versus Them‘ mentality that defeats the whole idea of team work in the first place.  This makes it easier to blame somebody just because s/he is from a culture totally different from yours.  Just how well you understand the culture beyond your own is crucial in building the trust you need to make your outsourcing efforts work.

    Get Out of Your Bubble

    You may not be too eager to learn more about the culture of your outsourced team, and the challenge here is to stretch yourself just a bit and do more than just trying to get work outsourced into foreign countries.  What are the customs of the countries you’re outsourcing to?  When you overcome this cultural divide with your willingness to learn, you can be better attuned to the pros and cons of taking your business on the global arena.

    When the office doesn’t anymore define the place of work, it doesn’t matter if your workers are on the same building, a floor below, or on a country thousands of miles away.  It’s a hot trend that businesses work with talent from any place on the planet, attracting an untapped gold mine of skills, of the best people you can find for your team.  The economic pie is growing and you have the power to make things work.

    The choice is yours.  Are you ready to stretch your mindset this 2012?

  5. Is Offshore Outsourcing Hanging By a Thread?

    With the recent move of Ted Strickland, governor of the state of Ohio, to ban offshore outsourcing, people can only wonder if he has just pulled off the pin from a massive grenade that will trigger a cataclysmic event that threatens offshore companies worldwide.  Is this the witch hunt of the 21st century?  What does it mean for locals in South Asia whose very own living depends on outsourced work opportunities?

    There were telltale signs that will make offshore outsourcing as hot as the planet Mercury, where debates won’t simply fade away as legislations are passed to stop work from being sent to developing countries.  This act of protectionism is innate in every living species, to protect your own kind, and humans are no exception to the rule.   Who can really blame Strickland for putting down the lynch on offshore outsourcing?

    ” Outsourcing jobs does not reflect Ohio values, ” the Governor said in a press release and with the US unemployment rate hitting a record high, this move might have been one of the best option in an effort to revive a stricken economy.  A legislation on the increase of H-1B visa has also been passed by the US Congress and countries like Canada has already put a stopper at its immigration doors.

    Is outsourcing to blame for the loss of jobs of many?  Media may be to blame for this biased question, causing a mass hysteria founded in half-truths.  Bear in mind that offshore outsourcing has helped struggling entrepreneurs rise as new business innovators in a tough time where Wall Street has faced major relapses from big time players.  It is not fair to point fingers without considering the pros and cons of a good idea gone bad.  Perhaps, an international council must be called to address the issue and truly define what fair trade in this flat world is all about.

    The only question needs to be answered is.. ” Why do businesses outsource jobs these days? “