Why Gold Farming Portends

By eweek  |  Posted 2005-12-30 Print this article Print

Bad Things for IT"> The second reason this trend is worth understanding is that the offshoring of computer-related activity has moved from the corporate to the personal. Its individuals who are contracting out their keyboarding, pointing and other interactions to China.
And once this market is vibrant (it may already have reached this point), how long can it be before developers, data entry specialists and other IT people start contracting out the content of their actual paid jobs to sweatshop labor, merely acting as broker-bankers and perhaps (if were lucky) QC agents to tune it or mark it as their own, like a dog marking a fire hydrant?
Read more here about the potential costs of outsourcing. The offshoring of pleasure indicates that the sellers will adapt quickly to whatever buyers feel they want, so there wont be constraint on the seller side. And as one of my bosses, Sean Gallagher, pointed out to me, there was a Doonesbury cartoon a couple of years ago that portrayed individual IT employees secretly offshoring their actual work—some people may already be running with this model. Would that be a bad thing? Probably. On the good side, it would require initiative and entrepreneurial creativity to build and maintain such an offshore relationship, and those aptitudes are useful if you can harness them for your departments purposes. But, as Ive written before, outsourcing functions to outside the building the end users work in is the death of high-quality potential. If people actually farm out their work surreptitiously (and the trend makes the attempt, at least, seem inevitable), IT management will lose both some quality and the ability to affect it. It could become a management hassle of major proportions. In a culture where surreptitious outsourcing of pleasure is becoming common, the surreptitious outsourcing of drudgery seems almost inescapable. Jeff Angus is a management consultant and has been working with IT since 1974. He has held IT management positions in user interface design, marketing, operations and testing/analysis. Look for his book, "Management by Baseball: A Pocket Reader." Jeffs columns have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Baltimore Sun. He can be reached at jeff.angus@comcast.net. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from CIOInsight.com.


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