By Mark Atterby, Senior Writer
There are a number of reports and indexes produced each year highlighting the top countries as outsourcing destinations for IT and BPO. As one would expect India tops all of these lists. The runner-ups tend to include China, Malaysia and Philippines. In fact Asia Pacific countries, where even North Korea has been trying to get in on the act, dominate most of the lists.
After that there are quite a number of countries jostling for their position in the sun. Some such as Egypt and Pakistan, who were positioned as threats to India, have to tended to fade off the outsourcing radar due to instability.
In its report 10 Leading Locations for Offshore Services in Asia Pacific and Japan for 2010, Gartner analysed countries as offshore services locations using criteria such as language, infrastructure, education, cost, cultural compatibility, legal maturity, and security. The ranking of each country in the AT Kearney Global Services Location Index (GSLI) is composed of a weighted combination of relative scores on 43 measurements, which are grouped into three categories: financial attractiveness, people skills and availability, and business environment.
Sourcingline scores each country across dozens of key statistics that fall into three broad areas of Cost Competiveness, Resources & Skills, and Business & Economic Environment. India continues to grow its IT services exports, but its share of the worldwide total has declined, and wage pressures, geopolitical troubles and financial scandals are creating opportunities for other countries.
The Americas and Europe are the largest customers for the Indian outsourcing industry and account for 60% and 31% respectively of IT and BPO exports. The largest vertical sectors are financial services (41%), high-tech/telecom (20%), manufacturing (17%) and retail (8%). In 2009, the IT and BPO export industries employed about 2.2 million people.
Over the last few years, numerous locations have emerged in South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East to challenge India’s dominance. Countries like Brazil, Egypt, and Vietnam have emerged as viable destinations. For a while, Egypt was touted as a new India. In 2009, Egypt was ranked fourth by the AT Kearney list before the troubles began. The recent government overthrow has certainly put the clamps down on the level of outsourcing opportunity.
Lead analyst at Ovum, Peter Ryan, said the unrest is putting the country’s outsourcing credentials at risk. “Following recent border violence in Mexico and the 2009 terror attacks in Mumbai, the events in Egypt are certain to make outsourcers and their clients much more risk-averse than any time in recent memory, and are likely to push many companies to choose the more secure, albeit costlier, option of keeping third-party work onshore”.
The Middle East and North Africa have emerged as major off shoring locations due to their large, well-educated population and their closeness to Europe. Likewise countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia provide low cost centres for West European enterprises. There are also onshoring trends to lower cost cities within the US, UK, France and Germany — big western democracies facing political pressure to keep jobs at home.
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean continue to capitalise on their closeness to the United States as nearshore destinations. In addition to cost savings, Latin America offers US companies time zone alignment and geographic proximity, though there are some drawbacks to consider, including language barriers and lack of vendor maturity.