Is there any benefit of shipping IT jobs to India?

My entire IT organization is being outsourced. We’ve gone to school, gained experience in the work place practicing our trade and now we’re finding ourselves out of a job. India has people that will do our jobs for half the cost of US based IT people. I don’t know anyone that enjoys having their calls answered by some Indian person when they need tech support. I don’t want to stereotype but the support just isn’t that good and is downright terrible most of the time. Not to mention, you can hardly understand them as they aren’t required to speak proper English. I’m an IT engineer and I’m about to loose my job to an outsourcing company that my company is bringing in to run our entire IT dept. I feel that this is killing America and IT and no one gives a shit. How is this helping our country? What’s the plus side to this? I’m sure there are arguments on both sides of the fence and I’d like to know how this helps America and IT professionals in general…

well, if the task you are doing is simple enough, yes, they will manage fine. They will probably mismanage their way into cost overruns, but the job will get done, more or less. OTOH, if the work is of the more complex type, chances are it will all explode in the face of the dumb suits who initiated the move. Just because somebody from India tells you, we can do this, that and the other, does not make it so. Many outsourcing companies have already found that out (too late) but the knowledge has not yet fully sunk into the popular imagination.

The word is lose, not loose.

There’s no factual answer to this question, but it makes business sense for the company that chooses to do this. They get their IT work done for cheaper, which allows them to save more money; money which can be spent focusing on their core business. If their core business grows and generates more profits, they would then need to hire more people to do more work, many of whom might be Americans with different or better skill-sets.

On preview: To answer code_grey’s point, just because they are cheaper does not mean they are not good. Yes, there are a lot of sub-par companies offering outsourcing services, but there are also a lot of very good companies with excellent employees doing the same. It’s up to the business to make a decision on whether to go with an established Indian company that bills at $70/$30 (onsite/offsite) per hour, or with a fly-by-night operator that bills at $10 (offsite) an hour.

Outsourcing has been successful enough that US companies have done it for years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Ignoring this does not make it go away. Companies that do not leverage the advantage of outsourcing will lose out to their competitors who take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing.

I recommend The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman.

Full disclosure: I’m Indian.

The plus side to this is obvious: cheaper IT. Whether the quality suffers too much to make the trade-off worth it is for the employer to decide. But no one owes you the job instead of them just because you happen to be American rather than Indian (not that you can’t be both; full disclosure: I’m Indian American).

It makes sense on an individual company basis to send the American jobs overseas so they can sell whatever it is they sell cheaper to their American customers or make more profit doing it or both.

The problem is, if too many Americans are outa work or poorer overall, they sell less or HAVE to charge less, which kind of defeats the reason for doing it in the first place.

Capitalism at its best. You answered your own question. What skills, knowledge, education and experience you bring to the table has business value. If someone can do the job at less cost to the company it is a better value, for the company. Your business value is now irrelevant.

On its face, this opinion has racist overtones. We’ve done this before in other threads so I won’t delve into it here. At the same time, the opinion also has a relevant business concern. If a company is unable to communicate with its customer base at an acceptable level (to the company), it will lose money. Think bad business decision. But what is acceptable to the company may be a different standard than you or I may express, let alone from a human condition perspective. It’s a matter of defining business risk. In an ideal world business would have a social conscience, and people would be valued for who they are, regardless of national origin, skin color, etc. Well, the world isn’t ideal, business is cold and unforgiving, and people of all persuasions may be biased, racist, even downright turd buckets.

Donald Trump is wrong. Business is always personal. It’s the personal part that really hurts, when you are on the receiving end of a business decision that values you only as a business commodity instead of a human being. I’m sorry you are losing your job, and for the reason stated. Been there, done that. I understand the pain quite well. I ended up making lemonade out of the few meager lemons I could find. It will take time. But it will get better when you actually realize no one owes you a job, and that a company that values itself primarily by the bottom line will get its reward eventually (see code_grey’s response). Good luck.

xash, I’m not saying that outsourcing isn’t successful for businesses it’s just that I’m concerned with the repercussions it will have on the US job market. At this rate, we wont need US based employees. Where does it end? I’m not a fan of big government but here’s where I think Obama needs to step in and do something about it. America doesn’t produce the goods it used to and all of this “source the work for the cheapest possible” is the reason. Once someone does it, everyone else needs to just to stay in business and that sucks.

Not if that company produces goods that Americans must have. People are brainwashed into buying products that advertising makes them think they need so even companies that have the worse support will still make money so I don’t agree with your argument. Take video game companies that release their products too early riddled with bugs. People will still buy the games. I doubt the companies loose much. This is common practice.

  1. Sorry to hear about your job loss.

  2. Indeed, it is at least half the cost to do it there, which is the reason.

  3. While I think many people don’t like the idea of having their call answered by Indian support, not enough people complain about it for the company to figure the complaints outweighs the cost-savings.

So, yes, there are benefits to shipping IT jobs to India. It saves money and does not generate enough backlash from customers.

Interestingly enough, this is something we covered in Six Sigma training. Most people are surprised to hear when jobs are outsourced to places like India and Ireland (yes the Irish are also a huge outsource for phone centers), the customer service satisfaction rate goes up. Usually by 50% and if you discount the complaints of “poor English” it goes up nearly 75%.

In India especially, those not cutting it with decent English are replaced quickly. So if you complain it’ll get back and the call centers there do fix it.

It’s just part of the process of globalization. I mean technical writers in India make 10¢ a PAGE. When I was doing this back in 2004, I was getting between 20¢ and 50¢ per WORD.

IT is one of the jobs were you can often do thing remotely. I don’t care for call centers in India either, and I know I’ve lost work because of it.

Outsourcing is fairly effective for clear-cut services and well defined skill sets.

For example, a company can easily outsource a help desk, as we all know, since the folks who answer the phones are working with playbooks and help desk software.

A company might also outsource things like database administration. Many humdrum tasks of keeping databases happy can be done quite nicely from Bangalore.

Outsourcing starts to become less effective as soon as the company needs deep domain knowledge or cross-cutting experience. It is challenging, for example, to find a molecular biologist or an analytical chemist in India with the proper IT background to be able to serve as an architect or business analyst for a stateside pharma company.

It is even more difficult to carry out effective meetings with business users (the customer) if your key staff are in India—many folks work late hours there, but you still end up with a lot of meetings before 8am.

The thing is, for a lot of companies IT is a cost center, not a profit center. It’s supporting a product the customer has already paid for, and it’s a service. It doesn’t net the company any money whether it’s done well or poorly, so it might as well be done cheaply.

I’ve noticed that, on the premium support packages I have (through my company), once I get into the place where they’re charging, suddenly the people I’m talking to become fluent in English and a lot more helpful. If I’m not using a premium support package (Adobe, I’m looking at YOU) then the tech is speaking broken English, saying things like, “I must put you on hold for exactly two minutes” (I’l bet his script said “a couple of minutes” and he thought he’d loosen it up) and not fixing my problem, sorry.

I am a senior consultant for mega-corps. I have co-managed as many as 30 Indian contractors at a time. At the lower levels, they suck in general even when I just have to deal with them internally. You can get five to seven of them to do the same job that a competent IT American contractor does. It gets uncomfortable in that type of management position as well. You are basically dealing with slaves that will do anything you tell them to do. I use the analogy that, if they asked you where the bathroom is and you told them it was 50 paces straight ahead and 10 paces to the right, you would find them standing there with their nose in the corner 30 minutes later if you were off by a few paces in either direction. There are some huge cultural differences but they are eager and follow orders.

India is a big country though. I am head of IT for a pharmaceutical factory and I have a large office with spare space that I let other consultants use sometimes. My temporary office-mate is also a senior consultant from India and we talk about this issue a lot and he is well aware of it and embarrassed by it. He is very smart but the best ones tend to come to the U.S. I have seen that many times as well but even I have language barrier problems with their senior people who stay in India as all people in my type of position do.

There is no doubt in my mind that upper level management has shot themselves in the foot many times with the outsourcing approach even when the outsourcing group doesn’t deal with consumers but it can work…a little. Most upper level management doesn’t understand technology that much so they rely on reports and cost analysis. India will win that every single time but it doesn’t translate that well to results.

I intentionally chose an IT job that requires steel toed boots on at all times, a hard-hat and safety glasses in my drawer, and high-level security clearance because I have seen the writing on the wall for too long. Try doing that from off-shore.

I think the main benefit to outsourcing customer-facing positions is that you have an excellent opportunity to rid yourself of pesky customers. I just spent an hour dealing with script-reciting drones employed by IHG (Holiday Inn), and I’m on the verge of boycotting the chain for life.

Advertising may contribute to the problem. However, no one forces you to buy anything. If you easily led by advertising, you do get what you pay for.


Work done for cheaper what?

“for cheaper” is a perfectly cromulent way (indeed, a thoroughly natural way; I’m surprised you apparently have difficulty parsing it) of saying “for a lower price”. Do you seriously not understand what “work done for cheaper” would mean? (Does anyone seriously not understand what at least the nominal advantages of outsourcing are, to the extent that they can’t even fathom what the outsourcers see in it?)

I don’t know if this will make bugme feel any better, but it’s my understanding that India is currently losing call center jobs to other countries where labor is cheaper.

For cheaper there is a sentence fragment, or an example of idiosyncratic Indian English style; not sure which. I think he may have been making a point on a Gaudere’s Law. Many Indian English phrases sound odd to American ears; the style and inflection often throw off those who are not used to it.

Do your parentheses make this a rhetorical question? Of course everyone understands that India is cheaper - in our company it’s about 1/4 or 1/5 our US billing rate. But often the offshore Indian resources are much less than 1/4-1/5 as efficient, especially when factoring in communication difficulties. I think it’s a fair debate question albeit a peculiar general question.

As for call centers that are not technical, lately I only hear Filipino accents answering the phone, not Indian. I personally have less trouble with Filipino accents since I’ve had more exposure to them and their inflections are closer to American English. I’d guess that Filipino labor is cheaper and you have plenty of English speakers there as well. Where India has an advantage is in technical skill and education, although that can be over-hyped at times.

I did my taxes last night with QuickTax (Canadian equivalent of TurboTax), and had a question about the print-out that I got. I sent an e-mail this morning (Saturday), asking about it, at 6.06 a.m. I had my answer back at 6.53 a.m. From the name of the individual who responded, and a quirk in the vocabulary he used, I assume he was in India.

I would think that if the company was relying solely on North American responders, it would be too expensive to provide that service with that kind of turn-around on the weekend.

So, in answer to the OP, clear benefit to me as the consumer, and to the company for having a service for their customers.