As outsourcing has grown, so have the models of engagement and service delivery. In their attempts to be more competitive, cost effective and with the advent of new players, most mid/large IT services contract have some remote IT services play. The “remoteness” has also morphed from being ‘somewhere in the country’ to being few thousands of miles across the globe. Most service providers today have offshore service delivery factories which provide cheaper labor and in some cases more skilled ones. While enterprise clients are glad to see the same work being contracted for less (or more work being done for the same cost), reality strikes soon as the full implications of an offshored service model plays out.
This is not to underestimate their preparedness of most CIOs and IT Directors. Of course they knew that they need to expect differently but reality dawns on the first and second generation offshorers pretty sharply. Collaborating with teams which have a different cultural background is a totally different experience beyond the language and accent issues. In most cases there is a local onsite team which works with the client but in the first few months it becomes clear that there is an internal divide that exists between the teams at onsite and offshore within the service providers’ organizations. Further, when connecting with the offshore based teams, the whole approach to work seems different if not alien. Also, there are fewer opportunities to work with the leadership team at offshore as most of them do not work post local business hours, which is really prime business hours for most clients in the US. European clients do find some overlaps in time zone but the model at offshore is largely built on a pyramid of low cost labor almost like a factory against the boutique experiences of a dedicated balanced team.
Business colleagues of CIOs are not getting any lenient in their ever growing expectations from IT. This makes the job of CIOs, IT Directors and their team challenging in managing the fine balance of high expectations and a different service model. Frustrations early or during a contract cannot always be met with a plan to change the service provider. In making it work, need for specialized skills and deeper understanding of the local nuances of the offshore teams are key for a stronger partnership with IT service providers.