Gartner Outsourcing/Vendor Management Show Report: Getting Past Curiosity to Build Real Knowledge
Orlando, FL: If you’re looking for a telling sign of the times of the state of Nearshore outsourcing – you probably can’t get a more realistic perspective than coming here to this Gartner event to see just how much credibility this industry is generating. (Today is day two of the three day conference; the main session room is packed and clearly there is hunger in the air to better understand how to build higher-performing sourcing organizations.)
On the respectability index, the Nearshore community seems to have risen to a new level, based on a number of conversations I’ve had here with buyers, influencers and providers.
Alternatives to India
The driving force, and something that can never be underestimated, is the motivations sourcing decisions makers have in finding alternatives to sending work to India. The reasons are self-evident: brutally long distance for travel purposes; lack of time zone compatibility which, as several buyers have pointed out, results in sometimes prolonged resolutions periods; and the desire to leverage multiple geographies for service delivery. In addition, as a shopper should always be aware of all possible products in a certain category, sourcing decision makers are increasingly compelled to fully investigate the Americas for outsourcing merely as part of fulfilling their job duties.
This fountain of motivation to find location alternatives is spilling into the Americas where, more and more, the buyer organizations are probing more deeply into key curiosity areas, such as personal safety, level of technical education competence and proof points in the specific disciplines and vertical industries of the clients.
Breaking the Myths
The good news is country representatives (including Canada, Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia, Jamaica and Brazil) are on hand actively dispelling myths and using those opportunities to introduce many buyers to the real benefits to Nearshoring. Canada, for instances, does not have the personal safety challenges that weigh heavy on countries like Mexico right now, but it still needs to confront the lack of real understanding of the quality and technical capabilities of its workforce. (I joined a group of Canadian representatives from the Atlantic provinces during a breakfast meeting where we talked about the fairly edgy types of product development and service innovations going on in their cities.)
A group of over 40 executives have come from Colombia (mostly Medellin, Bogota and Barranquilla) to declare that Colombia is thriving – and also – to continue to confront the reality that Colombia today is far different than what the country was ten years ago.
In terms of personal safety, what buyers want more of is independent sources to validate the claims of the country representatives. One conference and a flurry of meetings will not and should not completely eliminate the concerns buyers have about personal safety.
At the end of the day, nothing can replace the value of seeing a country first hand. Based on what I’m seeing on the ground here, airlines pointed to Nearshore cities should see a steady increase in business from sourcing organizations for years go come.
In the meantime, the Nearshore community will find that there will be less and less time devoted to talking about personal safety during meetings with buyers – and more time spent on the real value of the potential relationships.