Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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10/4/2006
02:59 PM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall
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Bangalore Strike Shows India's Outsourcing Industry Has Come Of Age

Operations at many of India's major outsourcing companies ground to a halt Wednesday after public-sector workers in the tech hub of Bangalore went out on strike. But contrary to some predictions, the sky didn't fall. Most of the affected vendors simply shifted work to parts of the country that were untouched by the labor action, proving that India's outsourcers are maturing to a level on par with major multinationals like IBM and EDS.

Operations at many of India's major outsourcing companies ground to a halt Wednesday after public-sector workers in the tech hub of Bangalore went out on strike. But contrary to some predictions, the sky didn't fall. Most of the affected vendors simply shifted work to parts of the country that were untouched by the labor action, proving that India's outsourcers are maturing to a level on par with major multinationals like IBM and EDS.Critics who are opposed to the outsourcing of U.S. tech jobs to India often claim that Indian companies lack proper security and back-up procedures.

They argue that greedy CEOs are putting us all at risk by sending computer work that's critical to the economy overseas to the lowest bidder. India is beset by natural disasters, regional strife, and identity thieves just waiting for a chance to steal Americans' Social Security numbers. That's the argument from offshoring naysayers like Lou Dobbs and certain protectionist lobby groups.

These arguments are, of course, red herrings. Disasters on U.S. soil like 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Northeast blackout of 2003 show these shores are hardly immune to unplanned chaos. In fact, chaos is universal. What's important is how well-prepared businesses are to deal with the unexpected. The strike Wednesday in Bangalore shows that major Indian outsourcers like Wipro and TCS have come of age in terms of having the security and back-up procedures in place that are the hallmarks of well-managed companies. There were no reports of any major disruptions to customer service as a result of the Bangalore strike.

Offshoring does carry some risks, and these need to be carefully evaluated before businesses make the leap. But in making those calculations, they should exclude those voices whose only objective is baseless fear-mongering.

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