Offshore Outsource Savings Can Be Elusive, Survey Shows

 
 
By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2005-07-15 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A survey of more than 5,000 corporate executives finds that offshore outsourcing projects fail to generate the unrealistic cost savings that were expected or promised.

Enterprises that expect to reap hefty savings simply as a result of assumed lower employee costs provided by offshore IT outsourcing services will be sadly disappointed, according to a survey of more than 5,000 corporate executives around the globe. The 2005 Offshore Outsourcing Research Report, produced by Ventoro LLC, an outsourcing consulting and market research company based in Portland, Ore., found that only 9 percent of any cost shavings from offshore outsourcing was the result of lower overseas labor costs. Overall, the report, which was publicly released this week, found that the cost savings from offshore outsourcing was not the 35 percent to 40 percent or even higher that many corporations assumed they would gain went they decided to go overseas, said Phillip Hatch, Ventoro president.
Hatch, who prior to founding Ventoro two years ago, worked as a market researcher and executive with Luxsoft, a Russia-based outsourcing company, said that one of the key reasons why outsourcing programs fail is because customers have absurdly unrealistic expectations about cost savings.
It was not unheard of, Hatch said, for customers to go into an offshore outsource engagement expecting to received 80 percent cost savings. Click here to read about Indian IT services company Tata and Microsoft forming a joint outsourcing venture in China. Instead, the Ventoro survey found that savings averaged slightly less than 10 percent for all the offshore outsourcing projects that Ventoro reviewed, Hatch said.
The average cost savings increased to 19 percent when Ventoro excluded offshore engagements that were deemed to be a failure by executives or engagements that didnt have a prior baseline to compare cost savings. However, the report concluded that cost savings of 30 percent is a realistic target for well planned and managed offshore outsourcing projects. "The big reason why people achieve cost savings is not because of low-cost hourly cost of labor," Hatch said. Instead, the savings is coming from the quality of the systems that the offshore outsourcing and software development firms are producing, he said. "The sophistication and execution of offshore firms is very good at this point," he said. Both corporate executives and even the vendors have to get away from the notion that per-seat costs or overall employee costs are what is going to generate savings or return on investment from an offshore outsourcing program, said Hatch. The survey found that 46 percent of the cost saving was generated from process improvement that resulted from the outsourcing project and 45 percent from the quality of the system or service provided, according to Hatch. However, generating any cost savings proved difficult for more than 50 percent of the offshore engagements that Ventoro reviewed. The survey found that 28 percent of the offshore outsourcing or offshore development project actually increased costs and 25 percent did not generate any significant savings. Read the full story on CIOInsight.com: Offshore Outsource Savings Can Be Elusive, Survey Shows Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from CIOInsight.com.
 
 
 
 
John Pallatto John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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