Nearshore Americas

Today’s Working Model Is One Step From Nearshore

We are all getting a little fatigued with this pandemic. That is understandable. But with no small amount of initial unease, most of you have settled into the “new” ways of working: Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc. What is interesting is that in many cases this new work-from-home (WFH) model is working well – and has a whole lot in common with Nearshore outsourcing.

Productivity Increases?

Many companies are finding that productivity is increasing with same time zone, remote work. People can focus better, experience fewer distractions and achieve a better work-life balance in a less stressful environment without losing productive time commuting to the office.

However, for some of those groups working with colleagues in the Philippines or India, it has not been such smooth sailing. Country and even region-wide deficiencies in infrastructure make WFH almost impossible for some.

The Hackett Group recently administered a Covid-19 poll to 250 of its clients. Surprisingly, 94 percent of respondents said they would increase WFH after the crisis. WFH policies have been so successful that many GBS (Global Business Services, aka Shared Services) function leads are telling their teams they are not expected to return to the office full time. This productivity increase is not unexpected for the process-oriented and rules-based work that GBS typically perform. However, other companies that are engaged in more complex things like agile development are also embracing the new norm.

Let us take a closer look at tech companies. Notable ones such as Facebook have publicly stated that the new model is working so well for them that post-pandemic, they will continue with it (with the interesting caveat of paying employees less if they move to a lower cost location – more on that in the Lessons Learned section below).

Welcome to Nearshore – The Silver Lining

Speaking of the new model, what has happened is that people have been essentially forced to WFH, and now they and their managers are seeing its benefits. We have “discovered” that the same, if not more, work can be delivered remotely when people are working using the Nearshore model. Yes, they are using this model without even knowing it.

And thank goodness the Nearshore model was mandated to some groups! Previously, the only model they knew was the risk-heavy and oh-so-early-2000’s onshore/offshore-only model. But now they are working together in real-time, all the time, just like when working with a Nearshore team. They are not on video calls the entire day, but when they need to talk with colleagues at 10am or 2pm it is very easy to do – sometimes even faster than walking down the hall to have a chat.

The Covid-19 crisis has forced companies to innovate

This is entirely different than working with offshore teams. In fact, this just simply does not work with offshore. Things must be clearly documented, clearly communicated and then discussed for 30-60 minutes before one team is done for the day while the other team begins. Companies that worked exclusively with offshore teams in the past grew accustomed to this methodical, albeit unproductive way of working.

So why the increase in productivity in the “new” (remember: it’s not new!) Nearshore model? Well, for one, communication is more frequent. With more frequent communication we see that misunderstandings, assumptions and errors are discovered in real time instead of when working the overtime necessitated by communication misses. It is sad to watch teams flail at achieving now-impossible delivery dates, overcharging clients for additional work that should not be required and attempting to pass off subpar results lacking the complete functionality clients need. Of course, many of these clients are accustomed to lowering expectations to accept deliverable mediocrity.

Additionally, managers who were accustomed to just passing off work without getting involved in the details (what manager wants to be available at 2am or 4am to answer offshore questions?) are now able to more easily check in on team members to see how things are going. During these more frequent conversations, issues can be unearthed and resolved before either side even knew trouble was lurking!

Lessons Learned

Now with companies experiencing these “ah-ha!” moments many are considering moving large portions of offshore work to Nearshore. While the CFO may not like the slightly higher rate card, the shrewd ones are seeing the benefits of the lower total cost of operation, the risk mitigation, the hitting of dates and the ease of working with Nearshore. When they do the complete math, the Nearshore solution is a much better one.

As you evaluate your organization’s response to the recent Covid hardship, now is a good time to consider the lessons your organization has learned.

We have certainly seen how companies have increased productivity while their people work “as if” using the Nearshore model. The next step for many will be to remove the “as if” and investigate actual Nearshore sourcing options. In addition to the well-documented productivity increases, companies can access a wealth of talent, the lower rates and the ability to mitigate the risk of having “all their eggs in one basket” – onshore or offshore.

Reach out to Jon Butler at StrategyShore for more information and guidance on how you can increase productivity, hit dates, decrease costs and mitigate risks with Nearshore. StrategyShore can help you find service providers whose clients have recently shared:

  • “I am glad that the company was able to maintain productivity though continuing to work from home. There have been no disruptions or any other issues during this time.”
  • “…productivity has been solid and with a couple of new projects spinning up we will be looking for additional resources in the coming months.”

Let StrategyShore help you get ahead, and stay ahead, of the upcoming Nearshore curve!

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Jon Butler

Jon Butler, Principal with StrategyShore, is an expert in technology operations, outsourcing, offshoring and nearshoring. For over 20 years, Jon has helped clients succeed in India and nearshore locations. Jon gets personally involved in client success, having lived for 2+ years and created technology delivery centers in both Mexico and Italy, and also having lived for six months in Peru. Jon’s travel to 60+ countries underpins the importance and power he places on sourcing location cultural affinity. His resulting passion for employee engagement makes him a much sought after webinar and conference speaker.

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