It seems somewhat surreal that, little more than 20 years ago, Russia was a communist state within the former USSR, and nations such as India and China were competing in the third tier of industry prior to the digital revolution. How times have changed.
Two decades on, Russia is no longer pigeon-holed for just producing top gymnasts, but a leading provider for outsourcing software development.
Meanwhile, the Asian market finds itself battling it out for global outsourcing supremacy as the talent pool migrates away from the UK to more vibrant offshore markets.
We were once considered the hub of innovation in the UK, yet now,. are we finding ourselves playing second fiddle to more competitive Asian markets? The row is no longer about unit cost, but the knowledge-gap developing between those educated in the UK and those up-skilled overseas. This complacency has not only seen offshore providers compete with the UK, but surpass it in the outsourcing equation.
For end users looking to offshore their operations, service providers are no longer only faced with winning business, but also with obtaining and retaining the best staff. Just look at Bloomberg Businessweek; with the recession over, wages are shooting up and workers are starting to job-hop for better packages.
The revolving door shows no signs of slowing down, in fact, quite the contrary. All this means that the relationship between service providers and end users is at risk which could lead to increasingly poor levels of customer service, severely damaging the industry’s reputation.
So, while the customer is king, continuity is key. More than ever, service providers need to invest in their staff and reassure end users that the migration of skills is kept to a minimum, and relationships are not jeopardised.
Undoubtedly, one of the main drivers for companies to look favourably at outsourcing their operations to India, China and Eastern Europe is the meteoric rise in the number of university graduates with more relevant BPO qualifications.
We should, therefore, be indebted to the English language and GMT (Greenwich Meantime), which continues to keep the UK at least in arms reach of its superiors, but for how long will these factors alone help us stave off the competition? We cannot afford to be complacent any longer and must do something about it now.
The NOA is already addressing this issue, holding a number of Talent Management workshops throughout the year, run by NOA board member and Talent Management specialist Yvonne Williams.
In addition, we have invested in and are running the only accredited qualifications in Outsourcing, Shared Services and In-sourcing. We’ll continue to do our bit, but so can you, by taking part!
For more information, please visit the NOA website.