On offshore outsourcing of IT jobs
In response to Cliff Saran who said IT managers had turned to offshore outsourcing and overseas workers because IT contractors have charged too much for their services in the past three years
I think you may be missing the point slightly here in that it is not only contractors but also permanent staff who are, or will be, affected [by offshore outsourcing]. Contractors in general are free-spirited people who move around and if the contracts are elsewhere in the world, they will go.
For permanent staff with families it is not so simple. Companies have a different priority - to shareholders or board members - and in most cases not the interest of their employees. So the problem is for all IT staff in general in the UK and not simply confined to contractors.
I was an IT contractor for six years until last June. I had contracts with retail organisations and utilities. I do not believe that IT contractors enjoyed any greater rewards than many permanent staff for Y2k.
Where I was working big rewards were not in evidence, the necessity for extra staff was, and at the time it appeared to be necessary to check, verify and correct code.
While I was on one contract I assisted in preparing budgets for projects and I pointed out to him that two Indian guys were costed at £20 per day more than I was. Often in these cases provision of Indian labour onshore is as expensive as indigenous resource, but the organisation has an agreement with the offshore company.
Contractors should be given the opportunity to "tender" for a position at the same price as is being offered to offshore firms and if we are prepared to work for that rate and we have the necessary skills then why not give us the job.
Y2K was a non-event because the work was largely completed. If no work had been done it would have been a more noteworthy event. I had no Y2K work.
Out of the 130,000 or so IT contractors only a few worked in the dotcoms or on Y2K projects. The claimed shortage of programmers was never real so the fast-track visas to bring in programmers with 60,000 unemployed UK programmers does seem an attack on those who work in IT.
In response to Brinley Platts who highlighted why outsourcing contracts often don't deliver
My experience of outsourcing is that in the main it is driven by the desire of senior managers to move the blame for poor delivery somewhere else. It is easy to blame someone else, like the outsourcing contractors, for problems, whereas if it is your own department you have to take the stick.
Cost is often not even an issue as long as it is within bounds, since the cost of internal IT is difficult to measure and can be subject to all sorts of adjustments.
In response to Simon Moores' opinion that e-government is not working
Number 10 Downing Street had a website with a forum where people could discuss problems and ideas.
Great, thought I, a direct line to Number 10, and I participated for a considerable time. There were, of course, some people whose postings I quickly learned to ignore, but a lot of people were genuinely concerned about real issues, and had some good ideas about how to address them.
There was a little symbol that was advertised as denoting an official Number 10 reply. I never saw one in roughly a year on the site, so I came to the conclusion that it was a PR exercise that amounted to "log in and be ignored".
On offshore outsourcing of IT jobs