Offshoring: Conflicting Reports?
It's pretty easy to find conflicting data, especially when it comes to research reports. More often than not, though, key similiarities can be found.
Take, for instance, a new survey by IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology, which found that more than 90 percent of CIOs resist sending IT jobs overseas.
The findings, released today, also show that 86 percent of respondents don't expect more offshoring in the next two years.
Those results differ sharply from CIO Insight's March 2007 survey on outsourcing trends. We found that 45 percent of IT executives had outsourced IT jobs to offshore firms in 2006 or planned to last year.
There are some clear reasons behind the differences.
Robert Half interviewed 1,400 U.S. CIOs; we polled just over 400. Of those Robert Half polled, 11 percent were from companies with 1,000 employees or more. In our survey, we differentiate by company revenues--and the numbers jumped as the companies got bigger. Bottom line: bigger companies are more rampant offshorers. (Robert Half found similar results in those terms.
And there's another--albeit less tangible--issue at play. Companies often employ outsourcing firms to delegate work outside the client's walls. While the company itself may not send work overseas, the outsourcer could. So it could be a matter of semantics.
Despite the differences, Robert Half's findings are telling due to the large number of CIOs interviewed. And the firm points to several major obstacles to managing outsourcing deals. "Challenges such as language, culture and time-zone barriers can sometimes outweigh the benefits of outsourcing," executive director Katherine Spencer Lee said in a news release. "Smaller companies, in particular, may lack the resources to commit to an effective long-term offshoring strategy." Keeping IT work in-house, she adds, helps build collaboration among internal staffers.
Very true, and a fair warning to the next generation of IT leaders. A large number of prominent experts and CIOs expect the role of the IT executive to change, with a greater emphasis being placed on managing relationships with outsourcing vendors. The hurdles Spencer Lee points to should be top of mind for any IT leader considering an outsourcing/offshoring strategy.