IT Labor Boomerangs Back Home

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2004-09-06 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Hidden offshoring costs are frustrating enough that disillusioned enterprises are starting to bring the work home.

For all its promise of cost savings, enterprises disillusioned and dissatisfied with offshoring IT labor are starting to bring that work home.

Language barriers, time zone differences and even unscheduled overtime are just some of the issues causing some U.S.-based enterprises increased frustration and pushing them to not just reconsider their offshoring policies but scrap them outright.

Joe Baca, for example, is backing out of a contract with an India-based company that has handled his organization's SAP AG enterprise software installation for the past two and a half years. In doing so, Baca expects to lose about six months' worth of service fees and pay about $5 more per hour to have the work done in the United States. But for him, it's worth it.

"The cost savings [of outsourcing] are not enough to outweigh some of the frustrations with the cultural differences of having outsourcers based in India," said Baca, director of application development with a $400 million Midwestern manufacturer that he preferred not to name. "We can't do anything in an emergency. Our hands are tied," Baca said. "We have to go back and say, 'Please translate this.' In a service-level environment, the overruns are what are killing you. Overtime is an hourly rate, and it's not built into the [outsourcing] budget." Baca is talking with Milwaukee-based CCI Corp. to pick up SAP R/3 software monitoring and plans to hire SAP ABAP programmers to update the applications in-house.

Baca is not alone. A recent survey by Boston-based IT research company AMR Research Inc. reported that less than one-third of the 220 companies surveyed that currently outsource some IT work are satisfied with the cost savings enjoyed by the process. Still, AMR predicts that the number of companies that will use IT outsourcing in the next two years will grow significantly.

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While large software developers such as Oracle Corp. and SAP have shifted a lot of internal development to places such as India and China, some vendors are finding that "Made in the U.S.A." has a certain cachet.

Enterprise applications management software developer Enetfinity Technologies LLC is considering moving its financial application programming back to the United States for just such reasons. Kelvin Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing and a technical consultant at Enetfinity, is experiencing difficulties with an India-based development center.

"Our experience [has been] that a lot of people there are good at programming, but they aren't good at the business-logic part of application development," Johnson said. "You can give them a project to work on, and they'll do maybe a good 75 percent of what you want. But there's that 20 percent you'll end up pulling your hair out about that you'll have to redo or bring other people in from over here to finish or redo."

With his current contract up in December, Johnson is considering his alternatives. "I'm not sure what we'll do, to be quite honest," said Johnson in Wayne, Pa. "They have done some good things, but you contract for more—we expected more than we've got. Most people are just looking for results. When there's money involved and you end up losing, that doesn't put a good taste in your mouth."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
























 
 
 
 
 
 

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