Government IT executive disingenuous about Indian IT, but offshoring should not be default choice

I blogged the other day about a senior IT executive within a government department claiming Indian IT firms don’t have a chance of winning large government projects.

The executive claimed that Indian companies lacked the skills required to take over projects. “A lot of the work we do requires suppliers to work very closely with the customer and the problem is, [Indian suppliers] do not have the capability onshore to meet these demands,” the source said.

I mentioned this to Bryan Cruickshank who is the partner in charge of its IT advisory business, when I met him yesterday. He said the person that said this is being “disingenuous” because the government already uses Indian capability on big contracts.” He was referring to the fact that large incumbents in government contracts, such as IBM and Accenture, offshore a lot of the work.

He said that it is a “no brainer” today for large organisations to have some sort of capability in India. “I say India because there are volumes of excellence there,” he said.

But he warned that offshoring should not be the default choice for any organisation and in particular the government. He said organisations need to take a holistic view to ensure they have the right balance.

He said the government needs to take a holistic view when deciding where to have work done and think about “how it wants the UK labour market to look in ten years time years.” He says a lot does go offshore by default when organisations want to cut costs.

“The higher value-add jobs should stay onshore.”

Could the government use a mix of onshore and offshore that can cut costs without damaging long term job prospects for IT professionals?