The increasing tendency of consulting firms to outsource certain practices to foreign countries (primarily to India, but recently to Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe) has gotten more than a few consultants' panties in a twist. Some firms, like Accenture, have made a strategic shift toward outsourcing, sending transactional, administrative and other functions overseas. (Revenue from outsourcing contributed to 42 percent of Accenture's earnings in 2006, compared to 24 percent in 2002; the firm has continued to open new outsourcing facilities across the world, most recently in the Philippines and the Czech Republic.) To say the least, Accenture consultants are not always thrilled about these developments. As one consultant told us, "[Outsourcing is] replacing people who've worked hard with cheap labor." The source reasons, "It makes good business sense, and if I were at the helm I would do the same. But still, if they want a league of technical drones, this is how to do it."
But there was an interesting article in The New York Times today about the future of outsourcing. The article discusses how Infosys, Wipro and other India-based consulting firms, are opening their own back-office facilities and development centers--many of them in American "states that are less developed," according to Wipro Chairman Azim Premji. Some of these low-cost states include Idaho, Virginia and Georgia, in addition to new facilities in Mexico, Thailand and China. It will be interesting to see how these forward-thinking, reverse-commute outsourcing trend-setters impact the growing global landscape, and whether American consultants will be as dismayed by domestic outsourcing growth as they are by overseas developments.
For what it's worth, Infosys Managing Director Romil Bahl seems to be pleasing at least some folks. In July, he was named one of the top-25 consultants of 2007 by Consulting Magazine.
I think our friends at Getting Drunk in First Class express it best:
"Globalization rocks!" (typety-typety) "Occasionally, they even let me talk to clients!"
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