Renewing the Economy

By Larry Dignan  |  Posted 2003-09-05 Print this article Print

Renewing the Economy
Clark, like other technology executives who use offshore suppliers of talent, wonders if the topic would get attention if the U.S. economy were creating jobs and growing 4% to 4.5% annually.

"If business were better there wouldnt be so much doom and gloom," says Clark. "Right now offshore outsourcing is one more brick to carry on your back. Its a huge issue thatll be around until the economy picks up."

Perhaps. Its possible the issue may stick around. Technology executives and analysts expect companies to continue using offshore resources even if business turns up. And the advance of communications networks will make it easier to simply move every project to the cheapest source of a particularly defined skill anywhere in the world.

Still, different companies draw different lines in the sand.

For Clark, LexisNexis data center will stay in the states because he considers it to be the companys competitive advantage. Product development, however, can go offshore.

For Fridenberg, it makes sense to keep systems architects who know technology and how to meld it with the needs of an insurance company.

Peter Weber, CEO of SevenSpace, a company that manages infrastructure for the likes of CVS and FootLocker, and is planning a pilot for offshore development, wont take his call centers offshore, contrary to most executives.

Weber says most of the calls SevenSpace gets wont adhere to a script. Given that the call center is the first contact with customers, hell keep such centers in the U.S. Instead, he will move application maintenance, development and systems management positions offshore.

Next page: More offshore strategy, plus quality of life issues.

Business Editor
Larry formerly served as the East Coast news editor and Finance Editor at CNET Prior to that, he was editor of Ziff Davis Inter@ctive Investor, which was, according to Barron's, a Top-10 financial site in the late 1990s. Larry has covered the technology and financial services industry since 1995, publishing articles in, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine. He's a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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