Sunday, July 11, 2010

Career mistake: Is anti-sourcing viewpoint a Career-limiting-move for a seasoned technology professional?

Basab, a former Infosys executive recently posted a query on his blog: Why is Local Hiring in Offshore Services so Sparse? The post also generated several comments, most from those in the sourcing industry, who sounded like hiring managers who had failed in their attempts at scaling up hiring of locals in the west.

I would extend Basab's query to ask if anti-sourcing viewpoint a Career-limiting-move for a seasoned technology professional in the west?

A while ago, I posted my two cents on the topic online, based on my observations from inside the industry and also inputs I gave to my former colleagues and acquaintances about internal dynamics at Indian software service firms, their recruitment strategies.

At a more rudimentary level, lack of local hiring may also have something to do with the hunger of 'Kids' in India and China, eager to explore global opportunities

During a seminar on globalization that I attended nearly a decade ago, the late Prof. C.K Prahalad gave a keynote address where he talked about some of the key drivers. An example he quoted stood out. While explaining the tenacity of Indian professionals, he alluded to the fact that the real edge of people from India and other developing economies moving to the west to participate in global projects was their cultural adaptability forced by the economic disparity between their home countries and the client countries. Prof. Prahalad gave an example of "a kid fresh from engineering college in a small town, say Tumkur, in South India" more than willing to relocate to any corner of the globe with minimal lead time. The ‘kid,’ said Prahalad, needed little cultural re-orientation or insights, and was motivated enough to travel with just his passport stamped with a visa, a few technical manuals, the address of the motel and client and some traveler’s checks.

Nearly a decade after I heard Prof Prahalad's talk, the Indian services industry has grown exponentially, employing over two million in India, many of them “kids” a few years out of college; the example he quoted still holds true. The fact is that offshoring has become a widely accepted business practice. So much so that one doesn’t even need a book (including my ) to guide one through the nuances.

While this has happened, some technologists and professionals in the west still cling on to the notion that offshoring is a passing fad, which is also probably a reason why Local Hiring in Offshore Services sparse. Let us take the example of James McGovern. I have been following his blog on technology and Enterprise Architecture for a while. He is certainly opinionated – as any good blogger should be – and has shared his views on a wide ranging topics. However, when it comes to sourcing, especially offshoring, his views have been bordering on protectionism and nationalism. Sometimes ignoring the general business practice. The past few of James’ blog posts have been on his career mistakes. One reason James does not address in his list: are professionals like him ignoring opportunities in sourcing managing because of their personal views on protectionism and globalization?

- Mohan

Links: