Seventhman Blog

  1. 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?

  2. Can the World Survive without Outsourcing?

    "world without outsourcing"I’ve been asking people lately if they can imagine a world without outsourcing.  It seems that everything can be outsourced these days and thanks to new technologies, we are transcending the barriers of geography to get the best solutions at the right cost.  There are many reasons why companies are into outsourcing and it all comes down to the value it brings to their business. In this era where globalization has brought changes in the way we do business, outsourcing is definitely a plus when it comes to competitive advantage – from manufacturing, service outsourcing, marketing, management, accounting, legal and human resources.  We’ve become accustomed to the practice that I can’t help wondering: Can we survive without outsourcing?

    Surviving the Free-Trade Syndrome

    In this age of uncertainty, endless debates have been spurred and outsourcing has been full of misnomers since.  The issue perhaps is that governments should leave the markets to organizations, instead of making a controversy that can make things worse.  There’s simply no way to reverse the laws of economics and free trade puts everyone on an equal plane to prove their worth in a globally competitive market.  Think of it this way:  The reason businesses are hiring offshore is because of the talent they find there and it goes beyond cost play.  If we look at outsourcing in a different perspective, it’s simply trading services.  In the olden days, they might have referred to this as some form of a barter system that forged ties between nations of various race, age and religion; it helps in overall economic growth.

    Outsourcing: Stealing Jobs from the Middle Class

    And I have to put a big question mark to that!  It’s so easy to point fingers at outsourcing in the name of job creation.  Uncle Sam may have a reasonable cause to stop companies from sending jobs abroad in an effort to protect the interest of its citizens.  Many have even argued that there’s simply no other choice but to outsource overseas to lower costs and remain competitive.  Come to think of it, outsourcing is no different in mass migration to greener pastures.  For the sake of organizational expansion, outsourcing is a strategic business response in a global economy that thirsts for something cheaper, faster and better.  Will hell freeze over if one day, legislations passed a bill that puts a total ban on outsourcing worldwide?  There will be a domino effect.. of catastrophic events. Small to large-scale businesses in the first world may run down and workers in developing nations may have to look for other means of being self-reliant.  If that happens, we’re going back to the dark ages, instead of moving forward.

    Outsourcing and the 21st Century Global Economy

    Like it or not, outsourcing is the new paradigm in the way we do business these days – in the name of efficiency and productivity.  The truth is, there’s simply no ‘out’ or ‘in’ these days because what matters is getting quality work done – wherever that may be.  Perhaps, in the future, we may do away with ‘Made in America’, ‘Made in China’… as everything is made in the world, by the world.  And to answer the very question I’ve asked, I don’t think we can survive without outsourcing.  Besides, it’s simply about where I’m planning to get things done.

    This is the outsourcing evolution.  What’s your stand?

  3. What You Don’t Know About the Global Workforce

    "global workforce"The global workforce is rising and we can’t ignore it this time.  What started as tech startups are now operating online services to countries across the globe.  We hear plenty of businesses join the global market, as they utilize workforce from countries like India, Philippines, Mexico, China and so on.  There have been plenty of predictions written in the outsourcing arena as well and too many success stories to tell.  But little do many know that it all started with a dream… a seed that took plenty of time and money to grow into a global business, thanks to the help of outsourced service providers.

    Let’s take for example the case of  Xoom, a business that provides money transfer service to 30 countries.  If you notice, the industry once dominated by Western Union is now having to compete with businesses online which employ workers offshore to provide customer service on a much more personal and cultural level.  This strategy can also help where customer service is called for.

    Yet, there are those who view this as a monopoly on a global scale – where cost is the main driver to winning the game.  Not everyone has a happy ending to tell and managing a global workforce is a daunting task.  If you want to succeed, you need to have a global mindset that’s open to new ways of thinking and solving problems, no matter where you are located.  It’s all about agility – in talent, management, and culture as each business face this new world where expertise becomes a rarity.  Just how can you set up a business utilizing the best skills at the right cost?

    Having a mix of workers from various backgrounds can become an asset or a challenge.  Just imagine this: By the year 2050, there will be an estimated 1.5 billion people who are 65 years and older.  Demand for labor will increase and the median age as well, as technologies make it easier for people to work anytime, anywhere.  As global networks grow, we will realize that the more diversity we have, the better it will be for us to come up with solutions.  The question now is: Are we ready to learn how to work with people outside our demographics.. so we can bring out the best in everyone?

    Perhaps, we’re one step closer to crushing these road blocks in this age of uncertainty, where we will have to find ways to working around time zones and trust issues – which is the most basic problem of them all.

  4. Top 3 Questions You Have to Ask When Hiring the Best Outsourced Provider

    "hiring outsourced provider"Outsourcing has become a popular trend these days that small, medium and large scale businesses are doing it altogether.  Despite the fact that many have been ranting about the drawbacks of an outsourcing contract, the race is still on to finding the cheaper, faster and better alternative service available on the market.  Just how do you know if your potential outsourced service provider can do the job?  If so, will they do it right?

    The Big Outsourcing Lie:  It’s Simple!

    Just like hiring a new employee, you would not sign the dotted lines without asking a few important questions.  In fact, looking at an outsourced vendor as an extension of your in-house staff will help you approach the situation with much better results.  Outsourcing is never that simple, no matter how others may seem to have that luck in spotting rare talents in exotic locations the world over.  So, what do these businesses know that you don’t?  It starts with just three questions, namely:

    What Makes You a Better Choice?

    Sometimes, the simplest question of them all will help you read between the lines.  Or more precisely, it’s like asking ‘Why you?’ when there are hundreds to thousands of service providers out there.  Watch out for warning signs if they stumble in response, or when you get a long and winding reply which can be summed up in a single sentence.  Those who are confident about the quality of their service will give you no reasons to doubt.

    How Can You Help My Business Achieve ROI?

    The best outsourcing providers will go beyond the usual ‘set it and forget it’ setup, and will want to learn more about your business goals.  They should be able to help you understand how they will work on your project to make sure that quality work is delivered, helping you make more money for your business in return.

    Who Will Respond to My Needs?

    If you’re going to outsource your internal operations to a third party provider, you must at least know what technology is available, in spite of the virtual workplace.  Does the service provider have a physical office?  How will you keep your communication lines open?  It’s important to know what type of support you’ll get and you have to be specific about it.  Do they allow on-site visits if issues arise which can’t be fixed remotely?

    Other than these, you may want to check references – not just the ones your candidates provide.  It’s easier to do a check these days and all you have to do is Google a name.  Having this kind of due diligence will help you in your search for who will really fit in the job requirement, making it easier for you to come up with a better hiring decision.

    And if your outsourcing contract works out well, then stick with it!  As they say, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

  5. 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..

  6. Outsourcing in the Age of Uncertainty

    "outsourcing"As businesses are becoming more dynamic these days, not only a global mindset is called for – but a move towards leadership and resiliency in this age of uncertainty.  Yes, we are living in times when change happen in a blink of an eye and where there is danger, there is also a hidden opportunity waiting to be discovered.  Outsourcing has never been the enemy here and what is lacking are innovative strategies and planning that will help businesses become more competitive, no matter where they are located in the world.

    An Open Invitation to a Better Outsourcing Relationship

    What makes a winning outsourcing relationship these days?  The key may lie in our flexibility and willingness to invest in expertise that will make things work for our business.  If both parties are open and honest, it will pave the way for problem-solving scenarios that will create positive results for both clients and outsourcing service providers alike.  If there is an issue of trust when the economy is barely recovering, perhaps, both parties can meet halfway in addressing needs and resolving issues to set expectations right in the first place.

    This will then lead to this personal sense of accountability where there is just this initiative to create solutions for the success of the outsourced project.  It’s a chain reaction, with the benefits, if you would like to call it as such.

    Learning to Survive in the Outsourcing World

    There have been recent fears about Obama’s outsourcing bill that can have significant effects in major outsourcing hubs like India and the Philippines.  If this is viewed as an opportunity instead, where helplessness is transformed into power, one can survive this by seeking out new and unexplored terrains where outsourcing can still thrive.  There is a shifting trend to insourcing once more, where clients are wanting to bring back roles in-house.  There will be short-term gaps in contracts and yet, if one will commit to improving the quality of service, processes and managing business cost – one can still compete in times when businesses are looking to add more value, without adding extra costs.

    If there’s going to be a slowdown in outsourcing in the coming months, what we can do for now is see this niche in a bigger picture.. so we can have better visions of the present situation that will help us address it in the future.  Will sending more work to outsourced providers result in a mutually beneficial business relationship?  In the end, change is constant and just how you respond to it makes a huge difference in the world.

  7. 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?