January 4, 2004

The Pitfalls of Outsourcing Programmers

The enthusiasm for overseas outsourcing, also known as offshoring, mirrors the enthusiasm for Internet companies in the Nineties. In a recent article, Ravi Chiruvolu, a partner at Charter Venture Capital wrote that "Venture Capitalists decided that because of cheap engineering talent in countries like India it would be more cost effective to outsource software development. If Nike could outsource sneaker manufacturing, we could do the same with code." Following similar logic, Oracle has announced it will more than double the number of software engineers it employs in India to 6,000. Although the offshoring trend has resulted in a net transfer of jobs outside of the US, this article isn't about job losses in the United States. We live in a global economy and people in India deserve jobs as much as people in the United States or anywhere else. It's worrisome when companies are criticized solely because they have hired people overseas.

Offshoring is a mistake when technology companies confuse operational effectiveness and strategy. Operational effectiveness is about working cheaper or faster. Strategy is about the creation of a long-term competitive advantage, which for technology companies is usually the ability to create innovative software.

Link: forio.com

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