Onshore is defined as services provided within the same country, nearshore is on the same continent, and offshore is elsewhere. Outsourcing to each of these destinations is a viable solution, but the best solution is most often found nearshore.
Outsourcing offshore may sound like the best choice, but it can bring to the table a variety of problematic issues. Outsourcing to anyone the behind the scenes work is a viable solution because the person is working on just the technical end of things. Processing transactions or following up, and maintaining applications do not influence the consumer or user of the website. These behind the scenes skills are considered 'horizontal functions'. Anyone of any culture can perform horizontal functions, and the outcome is the same.
Vertical and Horizontal
'Vertical skills' are different to 'horizontal skills'. Vertical skills affect customers and users. Nearshore workers fit better in this realm than do offshore workers because offshore the cultural clash will be very noticeable. The cultural similarity is needed more in this realm because the cultural touch brings people to the site. If customer focus or the business is a customer service, those onshore or nearshore, have a better understanding of the cultural aspects of the business than someone further offshore would have.
If you hook up with a company that is not legitimate and it is offshore, you will have difficulties in recouping your losses. If the company is too far away to put boots on the ground, you will be hard pressed to get there to see to your business venture. This is more risk than most companies can afford.
If you are outsourcing your IT customer service, you will want to make sure that the call centre is located in a place that is nearshore. This is because language barriers and cultural barriers are not as noticeable in this vertical area. Effective communication is the key to success. It is best to observe the same working holidays and response to deadlines so that there are no miscommunications about expectations.
Although you could outsource to India because there are English speakers in India, it is unwise to choose India for your call center because of language barriers. Although they may be fluent in grammatical English, the dialects and meanings of words may be unclear. Different accents can also make two-way communication problematic. It is best to choose a nearshore location for this type work to increase productivity and decrease user frustrations.
How Far Away?
Contacting and contracting with a nearshore company is best because there is less risk than going with an offshore operation. Nearshoring to Ireland, and the Scottish Isles makes economic sense because there is a close country border without crossing an ocean. A nearshore contract should be with an operation that can be reached within 4 hours of flying time. You should be able to meet your outsourcing people face to face if you desire. Sending a team from your business to your outsourcing location should be done. You should also consider the costs affiliated with this trip to visit your outsourcing location when choosing an outsourced IT firm.
Nearshore to Poland
There are still cultural and language barriers in Poland and the Czech Republic, but the flying distances are obviously not as great as they are to India or China. Moreover, the cultural barriers are less noticed than those in the Asian countries. There are excellent universities with technical programs located in Poland. Companies from around the world, such as many corporations with headquarters located in the United States, are placing their own operations in these areas to prevent losing total control over the results and productivity. This is considered in-sourcing instead of outsourcing.
Outsourcing to a nearshore location is the best idea for businesses in the United Kingdom. Selecting an IT partner in Ireland or the Czech Republic would serve your company better than choosing a location in China, Malaysia or India. They may have productive workers who can be paid inexpensively, but there are cultural and geographical barriers that are not cost effective to cross. Taking care to choose nearshore IT outsourcing operations is the best business decision.
Beata Green is Director of HeadChannel Ltd. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.