Archive for December, 2010


Do we choose based on location?

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It had seemed to be a trend for quite a while to worry less about location, and be more concerned with what the vendor can provide you with and do for you.  A recent article in CIO magazine confirmed this  with the CIO stating very clearly that they chose their vendor two years ago, not based on location (the location was China) but based on the fit of the vendor with their company.  “Our selection was based on the qualities of the IT services partner and whether they met our specific criteria rather than the location of the delivery center,” according to the CIO.  But still I have been seeing many reports talking about particular locations lately.

So what can you get out of looking at a location? 

Below I look at several areas traditionally used when researching different locations where to work. I list characteristics for each area that may be affected by the country, and how companies in other countries will try to mitigate this being an issue in their country. It may give you something to think about the next time you are looking at who to work with. 

–          Educational infrastructure and levels: 

  • Affected by country:  Types of education offered, traditional areas of education, who gets educated and who doesn’t, overall literacy rates.   
  • How do companies mitigate:  There are ways to replicate necessary IT education quickly.  Companies have been doing this for decades, putting people through express technical training for so many weeks or months. Quickly giving people the skills necessary for competing in the industry. These skills may be good enough to let people go a long way in the industry. 

–          Time zone:

  • Affected by country: This one obviously is affected by the location and can work to the benefit of the buyer; is one location more convenient for you to work with over the other; based on overlap of work hours, or one company workingat one is not going to change. Do you have a specific requirement here

–          Language skills –

  • Affected by country:  Countries can have more education in foreign languages than others or offer complete education in other languages giving people a lot of experience working and living in other languages. Accents can also be affected by native languages; as to whether or not they are easier to understand in other languages. 
  • How do companies mitigate:  Vendors everywhere work to mitigate languages issues by pushing foreign language training (the actual languages will depend on location); both internally and externally. 

–          Cultural fit: 

  • Affected by country:  Differences in style of how management is perceived, speaking up in meetings, giving opinions and suggestions irregardless of level within the company. The educational system and structure can also play a role here. 
  • How do companies mitigate: Company culture can mean a lot and also help to mitigate cultural and work fit issues. 

–          Government support:

  • Affected by country:  Could be in the form of: support for the development of certain industries with lower business taxes or lower personal taxes for specialists in that industry.   Also could be support for education development. Each of these could result in better resources for the industry or lower rates for buyers for example.  It can also get an industry “started” by providing specific support for it. 
  • How do companies mitigate: Government support doesn’t guarantee the “most qualified” resources, and too much support can even affect how adaptable a company is to changes in their government’s support. 

–          Political stability:

  • Affected by country: Political issues that may affect a vendor’s work may include” closing access to foreigners coming in the country, or making it more difficult for foreigners to come in.  Revolution shutting down the work of the government. 
  • How do companies mitigate: Any good vendor is going to develop their strategy taking in to account the political strategy of their country. They will target those buyers to service that are not as concerned about visiting their location, or do not need to visit the location, for example.

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