In a highly competitive industry, offshore destinations all over the world are fighting to achieve credibility as they look to win foreign investment. Indeed, the past decade has seen India build a name for itself in offshoring BPO, and ITO services, all offered at a fraction of the price compared to Western service providers. So, then - what’s the problem?
The last few weeks have seen a number of well-publicised problems surrounding India’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games, including rumours of corruption, greed and disorganisation on a grand scale, which have led many to question India’s credibility when it comes to handling high-profile contracts.
It’s no exaggeration to say that India’s reputation for outsourcing excellence has come under fire, as a result of the international condemnation it has faced over its organisation of the Commonwealth Games, with some critics joking that India should have outsourced the games themselves. With budgets escalating, construction work running behind, and warnings of further technical hiccups to come; businesses could not be blamed for wondering how much value there is to be found from offshoring to India.
It is clear that some serious damage limitation measures are needed, with a recent poll suggesting that 97% of Indians have themselves been left appalled by the mishandling of the Commonwealth Games. If this is the view of the locals, it’s prudent to ask how those with an interest in offshoring will view the news.
Despite this setback, and others - Ohio’s ban on offshoring for government projects was a real blow - it’s clear that India is still a highly cost effective offshore destination for businesses, with reliable and efficient staff. However, if you are concerned about offshoring to any destination, then there a number of steps you can take to safeguard the success of your projects.
First and foremost, it is important to find mutually agreeable ways to measure performance with your offshoring partner. You can achieve this by setting business orientated metrics - these are key business objectives and tasks the project needs to achieve. It does look like this is something the Commonwealth Games organisers failed to recognise, with perhaps undefined and differing standards & performance ratings that exasperated cultural differences and tensions.
Secondly, businesses also need to find suppliers who share the same cultural values as them if projects are to be successful. This will make it far more likely that the relationship will succeed and flourish.
Perhaps multi-sourcing is another answer? By not putting all their eggs in one basket, organisations are able to take advantage of, for instance, a diverse number of offshoring partners, so that if there are difficulties with one, the entire business process needn’t be affected. In other words, if there is a crisis, strike or natural disaster in one location, work can still continue at another destination without any disruption.