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Offshoring no longer synonymous with India but what does offshore IT mean today?

Last week Gartner announced its figures on where in the world are the main areas where businesses offshore their IT.

Western European buyers predominantly use India (35%), Poland (21%), Brazil (18%) and China (16%). The UK is probably even more dominated by India because of the language advantage.

But things are changing and there are other options. The suppliers themselves are even increasing the number of locations they deliver services from.

So offshoring IT is no longer having your IT delivered from India. There are nearshore options in Central Europe and many far flung alternatives such as the Philippines and China.

But that’s not all that is changing. The services being delivered from offshore locations are also changing. It is no longer just a source of cheap call centres or low cost software development resources. And offshore doesn’t actually mean offshore now because offshore based suppliers can ship offshore staff onshore to carry out work.

The reason I am writing this blog is to try and get some feedback for an article I am planning. I want to write about what the term “offshoring IT” means today? I want to look into how it has changed and the multiple opportunities available for businesses.

Please leave your views as a comment or fill in the questionnaire below.

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"...And offshore doesn't actually mean offshore now because offshore based suppliers can ship offshore staff onshore to carry out work...."

That has always been one of the biggest problems from the perspective of those who are already "onshore" in the UK IT industry: the importing of cheap inexperienced labour from low-wage countries on temporary permits under the ICT scheme to replace (more expensive) experienced UK-based staff. This has often been used as a key stage in the offshoring of work: company A outsources work and staff to provider X within the UK. Provider X promptly onshores their cheap offshore staff to learn from A's UK-based staff, then fires all of A's former staff and offshores the work to [low cost destination of choice]. End result: loss of UK-based jobs, loss of work and revenues to offshore destinations, loss of control/accountability for offshore systems, destruction of UK skills-base.

Offshoring, onshoring and the corrupt abuse of the intra-company transfer scheme as a source of cheap labour are all part of the same systemic threat to the long-term survival of the UK IT industry and UK IT skills base, regardless of the destination in an ever-shifting game of global slash-and-burn economics.

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