The Relentless Restless Pursuit...

“As rising wages and attrition rates in India spur some international companies to seek new locales for outsourcing operations, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America have all been competing to become new offshore hubs.

“Now, the Middle East and North Africa are elbowing into the race to host remote sales staff, service centers, tech support and the like, thanks to a favorable time zone, a multilingual work force and an oil-fueled investment and expansion spree. Companies also are attracted by some efforts by some governments there to diversify and liberalize their economies, as well as the prospect of tapping into the growing local market...

“Satyam Computer Services Ltd. is hiring 300 people for a new center in Cairo that will handle clients in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. Earlier this year, Wipro Ltd. set up an outsourcing joint venture in Saudi Arabia and recently announced plans to enter Egypt. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. says it will soon start offering services from Morocco to French-speaking European clients…

"’There is a lot of money flowing in the region, and it doesn't make sense to not make best use of it,’ says Virender Aggarwal, Satyam's director and senior vice president for Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa.

“Much of the Middle East offers the same appeal other outsourcing hot spots have: cheap, skilled labor. But companies are finding other advantages, including a time zone that roughly straddles the world's three biggest economies -- North America, Europe and Asia. The region's geographic proximity to Europe and a multilingual labor force also help. And with business booming in much of the Mideast, there is more demand for Arabic speakers.

“In recent years, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have all broken into the top 20 most-attractive offshoring destinations, according to an index published by consultancy A.T. Kearney Inc. Tunisia, Morocco, Israel and Turkey made the top 50 in this year's list.

"’The Middle East region is going to be, I think, the next big destination,’ says Simon Bell, an A.T. Kearney principal, who has worked with the Egyptian government recently on ways to draw in more offshore work.”

(“Politics & Economics: Middle East Beckons as Outsourcing Hot Spot; Oil Boom Creates Attractive Region; Instability Worries.” by Mariam Fam. Wall Street Journal: August 21, 2007. p. A.6)

SO WHAT have we learned outsourcing in India that is applicable in the Middle East? How well are we measuring efficiency fully loaded? How well are we evaluating its effectiveness fully loaded? What are our time horizons? How do our customers feel about this?

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