India – first-hand observations on offshoring
The meeting was supposed to start at 9:00 p.m., but because of the horrific Bangalore traffic and other vagaries of India, it didn’t get started until 10:40. No problem, our hosts assured us. Their shift didn’t end until midnight, and there was another shift after that.
We sat in the office of BrickWork India, talking with five bright, young, U.S-trained Indian entrepreneurs. At some point during our meeting to learn about their business model, I got a glimpse of the impact that they and others like them will have on the US economy in the years and decades ahead. It’s going to be huge and potentially disruptive.
I’ve written before on offshoring – in particular about Alan Blinder’s views that an additional 30-40 million U.S. jobs could potentially be lost to offshoring in coming years. Sitting in the office of BrickWork India, I found myself wondering whether Blinder’s estimates were too low.
These are impressively-trained folks, they know the American way, and they report they can solve some of your most vexing problems while you sleep:
– Working late to get a PowerPoint presentation perfected for a morning meeting? No problem – pop it over to the folks in India, and they say they’ll have it waiting for you when you arrive in the morning.
– Got some complex spreadsheet work that no one on your staff has the time or skills to tackle? BrickWork has the necessary skills available.
– Need help getting your social media strategy to work? The folks in India can knowledgeably handle just about every aspect of that for you for a fraction of what it would cost you in the United States.
– Just published a book and found that your publisher is not going to lift a finger to promote it? The folks at BrickWork have a cost-effective solution for that too.
– Need a 3-D animation for a branding campaign that you are about to launch? Handled.
Now does all this work as smoothly as described? I haven’t tried it myself, so can’t speak from first-hand experience – but it’s certainly clear that companies like BrickWork India have a broad range of skills available.
And what’s particularly striking to me is the array of tasks that these folks can handle; they are going higher and higher up the skills spectrum.
For example, it’s not just legal research that they can do for you (work that would typically be done by a paralegal or junior associate). They can also handle a wide array of standard legal contracting issues and processes. This work is done exclusively by lawyers in the United States. In other words, Indian outsourcing is now beginning to reach into one of the most highly paid positions that requires years of post-graduate schooling. It is, as Blinder would say, an “impersonal service” – one that can be delivered remotely with little if any loss of quality. In this case, by US-trained lawyers working in India at a fraction of the price of their US counterparts.
That’s a big deal if it can be deployed successfully.