In, out, Shake it all about

The line read: ‘You know what this leads to… in, out, in, out, shake it all
about!’ There followed a series of (one would hope) not entirely serious quips,
one reading: ‘Whoa, the hokey cokey.’

With outsourcing trends moving faster than ever, some companies seem to chop
and change their strategies quicker than many football teams swap managers.

In the early days, every business seeking more for its money piled into
Bangalore and made use of its qualified and seemingly endless talent pool, cheap
rates and, as one source told me at a recent roundtable event, their
‘machine-like ability to get things done’.

A few years later, the boom had continued with companies growing their
offshore operations and expanding contact centres in order to meet the
increasing demand in invoice processing and document management.

The choice of location also grew and India, despite still expanding at a
substantial rate and offering the same qualities, lost some business in favour
of Eastern Europe, South Africa and China. The outsourcing world was starting to
open up.

Now, it appears consultancy has come full circle, with several large
multinationals, including Prudential, JP Morgan Chase and Sainsbury’s bringing
‘low-level’ IT-based operations in-house to save cash and have more control.

This just goes to show how divided businesses are, and how strategies will
continue to change even faster in the future. Despite a slight dip in contract
values, outsourcing is growing at a healthy rate. But on top of their original
investment, companies now want added value, as well as a blend of onshore,
offshore, nearshore, outsourced and insourced work – depending on what suits
them best. As a result, firms have to react positively to meet their clients

Securing outsourcing contracts is tough, but if you’re prepared to go in,
out, in, out and do the client hokey cokey, then that’s what it’s all about.

James Bennett is editor of Management Consultancy

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