sábado, abril 12, 2008

Oportunidad para el outousourcing en Argentina

Pablo Pizarro me hizo notar (gracias a las facilidades de del.icio.us) la existencia de esta nota de BussinesWeek, de gran interés para Argentina y otros países de América Latina. Rachael King escribe sobre un fenómeno que era esperable: en la medida en que la industria del software en India (y otros países precursores del outourcing) se hace estable, sus costos se incrementan. Sumado esto a la creciente caída del valor del dólar, de la generalización de la subida de costos de India (y otros países que están pasando a una nueva fase de su desarrollo), ya las diferencias entre presupuestar en India o hacerlo en América Latina, no son tan grandes para la industria estadounidense (o europea). Sumado a las diferencias horarias, se está creando un mundo de oportunidades.
BusinessWeek sobre los costos indios:
Companies that traditionally rely on India for offshore IT services have been looking for that something beyond India for years, citing such reasons as high employee turnover and unreliable communications. But the search has taken on added urgency recently, especially for U.S. companies, as a weakening dollar has boosted the cost of IT services priced in India's rupee. Over the past five years the dollar has declined about 16% against the rupee. High real estate costs and expectations for tax increases also have diminished India's allure.
As outsourcing to India becomes more expensive, North American companies are more inclined to "nearsource," keeping work in the Western Hemisphere, where they can operate in a closer time zone. In years past a company could save 40% to 50% by hiring Indian firms to handle IT and other services, says Atul Vashistha, chairman at neoIT, a management consulting firm. Should the U.S. dollar continue its descent, that differential would shrink to 10% to 20%, he estimates. "If you're only going to have a 20% savings, clients start to think about time zone," Vashistha says.
(...) How much longer the world's companies will have financial incentive to outsource to India is a matter of lively debate. India's "advantage as an offshore location is fast eroding—its attractiveness takes a hit with each passing day," analysts at Forrester Research (FORR) wrote in a January, 2008, report. Forrester catalogued some of the well-known challenges, such as increasing staffing costs, turnover and strained infrastructure (BusinessWeek.com, 12/11/06). Yet, there are newer challenges as well, including the falling dollar and expected tax revisions that may increase the cost of relying on outsourcing providers.
Sobre la comparación de costos con América Latina:

Contracts are written in dollars, and as much as 60% to 80% of Indian service providers' revenue is in U.S. dollars, but more than half of their costs are incurred in rupees, according to an October report from Forrester. Indian outsourcing powerhouses like Wipro are feeling the squeeze. They've strived to cut costs, and now they're raising prices to keep margins from narrowing further. "We are relentlessly driving for higher pricing for our services and have seen price increases from our customers in the range of 3% to 6%, and our new customers are coming in at around 5% higher than our average," Wipro Chairman Azim Premji said on a conference call with investors on Jan. 18.
Duke University professor Arie Lewin estimates that the benefit of doing business, from a labor-cost point of view, in such locales as Bangalore, India, will disappear for some companies in three to four years. That's due to a combination of dollar depreciation, wage inflation, and other costs. Others say it will take longer. "Costs are escalating, so the level of labor arbitrage isn't as great as it used to be, but that's not to say labor arbitrage is disappearing, nor will it disappear in the next 10 years or so," says Sid Pai, partner and managing director of TPI India, a sourcing advisory firm.
Indeed, while costs are increasing in India, the country is generally less expensive than Latin America and most other locations, especially for companies that don't require high-end software developers. The average annual salary for an IT worker in the U.S. is about $75,000, according to a late 2007 report by Alsbridge, an outsourcing consulting firm. In India it's about $7,779 and in Argentina, it's slightly higher at $9,478. In Brazil, the annual wage jumps to $13,163, and in Mexico it climbs to $17,899. "The bottom line is that there aren't great alternatives with the scale, quality, price structure, and the lack of risk of India," says Stephanie Moore, vice-president at Forrester.

Sobre Argentina:

Kimberly-Clark (KMB) had time zone in mind when it hired Cognizant Technology Solutions in Buenos Aires to handle tech support for its SAP (SAP) software applications.
Kimberly-Clark was drawn by the available talent and the fact that the company has Argentine operations but also because geographical proximity and similar time zones make collaboration easier. "We picked Buenos Aires for a number of reasons, but we really felt from supporting SAP, it was the right place to be," says Kimberly-Clark Chief Information Officer Ramon Baez. The company also outsources application development and maintenance to Cognizant in Chennai, India.

BusinessWeek enfoca a México, Argentina, Brasil (especialmente) como posibles receptores de outsourcing en estas nuevas condiciones. Y queda claro que los competidores indios son promotores de este cambio, señalando a Cognizant, Tata, Wipro, e Infosys, como empresas de ese orígen que están activando la ventaja de la diferencia horaria, costo y calidad de recursos.
King de todas formas apunta que la escala de Latinoamérica está lejos de las posibilidades de India, particularmente. La oferta de desarrolladores (u otras áreas de outsourcing) será siempre menor a la esperable en India. Pero la oportunidad existe, particularmente en la medida que se puedan ocupar nichos de especialidad y mayor valor.

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