Offshore, Nearshore, Right Shore, Best Shore… oh My

As we can see generating x-shore names is a popular among all kind of companies even established players such as capgemini and eds jumped on band-naming wagon.

It won’t take long till someone trademarks smartshore or ezshore or put a copyright on the word shore – too bad all nautical charts would have to be reprnted… Other companies find using shore words too mundane and invent their own words and phrases such as Chindus Strategy (China-India-US) or BRIC-sourcing. And Me2 – with my term of Disposable Outsourcing.

Hey, why not? That’s somewhat akin to starting companies in the dot-com era – the more confusing it was the high the chances VCs would be all over it … Well, let me tell you, there is no best shore when it comes to IT, there is no best of all shores, and there is no silver bullet. By all means why would anyone outsource if they could deliver on their obligations without headache of dealing with geographically distributed culturally remote third parties?

During those good old days when a Ph.D. from a 3rd world country was only $8K a year cost advantage was so profound that that it was practically impossible to resist the temptation of outsourcing. Today if Ph.D. is asking for $40K the chances are s/he bought the diploma on some black market. With average saving of mare 20-30% it’s not about cost advantage anymore, we go offshore for variety of reasons, goals and objectives. Defining those should be your first step before you even consider vendor search and daunting task of picking perfect destination. “If a man knows not what harbor he seeks, any wind is the right wind.” [Seneca] It should be set of your own objectives, reasons and goals specific to you organization, not taken verbatim form some book or my blog (even though I think you can find a lot of helpful ideas in Top Reasons for Outsourcing or My Reasons to Outsource).

When the reason are clear in your mind it’s time to start picking the “shore” and like with grocery shopping you may want to start with the nearest supermarket and only if what you need is not there you would consider taking a longer drive. Thinking of that metaphor it could be actually not that far off. I live in one of those cul-de-sac communities, the nearest supermarket to my place is expensive and offers limited selection, I do not often shop there, but it’s great when you just want to hop in a car and bring a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. My main shopping place is about 15 min further driving, but it still doesn’t cover all what I need, for example Whole Foods is about 30- min drive from my place and I still go there once in a while, and add to it occasional trips to farmers market, wineries of Napa, or my friend’s organic farm…

I can’t tell what shore is going to be the best for you, chances are it is different from what is best for some of the vendors knocking on your door, but one thing I am sure of – chose it wisely. We are free to a point of choice, after that the choice controls the chooser.

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