Saturday, December 06, 2003
Sunday, November 30, 2003
"Surely Australia presents useful lessons on the future of outsourcing?"
Why, you may ask? Well, think location, location, location. Australia's only a couple of time-zones off the big outsoucing nations. Apparently, India's not really targetted them (though has won contracts), but there are options with the Phillipines, probably stuff further north in Asia, all around.
Lots of IT work has been lost off-shore from Oz, with great concern about there being a future in the industry. The rate of job losses does sound like Oz has little competitive future in standard IT processes, and this has produced something of a backlash
"Should Australia introduce anti-outsourcing laws? The answer was an overwhelming yes--approximately 98 percent of respondents to an IT Manager Australia survey welcomed some form of regulation
Valiant Wooi, a veteran IT professional with Asia-Pacific experience, said for the first time in his life, he visited the unemployment-benefits office because he simply could not obtain any work in Sydney, even on a contract basis.
Wooi, who has been on the job hunt for the last three months, said his next option was to relocate to Canberra for government-related technology positions.
"We need to create a union very quickly in order to be able to represent IT workers in Australia and we need to impose high tariffs on outsourcing to foreign countries...we need some protection and representation and I need my job back," Wooi said emphatically. "
However, there have been problems in the implementation of outsourcing as well (the type that has perhaps seen Dell bring work back on-shore to America), with problems arising in "cross-border project management, security [and] data management".
Nonetheless, the main reaction has apparently been to seek to renegotiate contracts rather than bring them to an end or bring work back into the original company.
This has turned outsourcing (and also importing Indian IT labour) into at least a minor political issue in Australia.
So far, so predictable. And sadly, this roundabout reaches the end of my investigative skills. But what would be really interesting would be for a journalist or two to put together a really good feature on the Australian experience, as it's likely to have pointers for what's to come for the rest of us. Things do seem further advanced than in the UK or US (with the trend having been a political issue for rather longer), and you'd think a paper somewhere would think this worthwhile...