It’s an election year in the US so the topic of outsourcing has inevitably raised its head. I’d like to add my two cents to the debate by explaining why I think companies like Information Evolution that are “in the outsourcing business” are a positive force in the US and world economies.
First of all, I see what we do as “solving problems” and not “outsourcing,” which is part, not all, of how we do what we do. The processes we design and implement use cutting-edge data extraction software and human resources, both sourced from all over the world, to increase the efficiency of data management processes. That means that when businesses spend money with us, their operating costs decrease, their information assets have more value, and the speed at which they can deliver to their customers is improved. A more efficient business is more profitable and competitive. Money saved can be used to fund innovative (and risky) new products and services and/or to hire more employees, do more marketing, pay down its debt, etc. So our role, as with so many other software and service firms, is essentially that of an enabler of innovation and growth for the firms that hire us.
Measuring the impact of outsourcing is tricky. Software development and process reengineering firms measure their “output” not in terms of tons of commodities produced or number of units sold, but by the ROI of the efficiency delivered to its customers. The difficulty of quantifying the positive impact of process improvement efforts makes it easier for those who want to reduce the outsourcing question to a simple up/down vote on US job creation. But if we are serious about wanting to make sure that US companies lead the world both in terms of innovation and profitability, we shouldn’t make it harder for our firms to make their operations as efficient as possible. Automation and distributed workforces have to be part of any company’s toolbox if they are serious about success.
For our part, Information Evolution has grown its US operation and will continue to do so as long as the demand for our services grows. We believe we are a positive force in all the locations where we operate and we are proud of the higher than average wages and benefits we offer our employees in exchange for the superior services they help us deliver. Furthermore, we are excited to be riding the waves of the macroeconomic trends that are shaping the agile, international businesses of tomorrow. We believe the long-term success of these businesses and the world economy as a whole are dependent on embracing efficiencies wherever we can find them. For us, that may mean that we may discover a method of crowdsourcing that helps to reduce unemployment in rural America, or we may find that sub-Saharan Africa’s educated, English-speaking techies perform better than Indian software developers, or we may find that the cost to ship goods from overseas makes it cheaper to manufacture those goods closer to where they are sold. I don’t know what we’ll find, but I am sure that this is not the time to stop looking for the ways to make our customers’ data better and their processes faster and more efficient.