Outsourcing: Not just for larger corporations any more

While most aspects of the technological world fascinate me, nothing captures my imagination quite as much as how technology impacts our lives.

I was preparing a recent talk and doing a load of research on outsourcing. Global outsourcing, not downsizing and hiring an outside bookkeeper, but moving a part of your enterprise overseas, to a different country.

At one time this process was an exotic and dramatic move, we heard of large corporations tapping into vast talent bases in Russia, or India and Pakistan. They were setting up engineering, and tech support offices, or moving all of their accounting services offshore. It was a massive undertaking but one that made financial sense.

We never considered smaller boutique businesses could also take advantage of the pool of knowledge workers overseas.

All that is changing now, companies like Outsourcing Things Done set up offices offshore, hire and manage knowledge workers who fit into every size of company form small entrepreneurial organisations on up.

Here is an interview I conducted with Stephen Jagger, founder at Outsurcing Things Done.

Different outsourcing providers have different focuses, some, like Outsourcing Things Done, provide companies with “Virtual Assistants” a full time employee who is dedicated to your company, working for you. Everyone from Realtors to Accountants to Dentists can hire offshore admin assistants, who are ideally situated to do a lot of the busy work every office needs to address. Cost (I know everyone is wondering how much it costs) will typically come in around $14k per year, a huge savings over the cost of employing someone in Canada, especially when one considers infrastructure costs.

Other web services such as oDesk are a clearing house for piece work, ideal for hiring someone to do graphics, retouch photos, update web sites, or even perform small research projects. oDesk has contractors available from all over the world, ranging from around $3.00 per hour to over $100 per hour for specialised services.

Virtual employees are very on-line savvy, and trained to use all the latest collaborative tools, such as Google Apps. You communicate with them via email, Skype or chat.

I know, many of you are already rising in moral indignation at the thought of jobs leaving Canada, and what this means to our job market. Fair enough, I admit to some twinges of conscience myself, but in order to remain competitive, this is a concept most of us will have to face, and we are not alone, take a look around you, we do live in a global economy, heck even my most identifiable piece of Canadian technology, the Canadian designed BlackBerry is made in China!