Tata wins $1.2 billion outsourcing contract: Should I worry?

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Oct 23

In what has to be a wonderful win for Tata Consultancy, Nielsen has awarded them a $1.2 billion dollar IT services contract — the largest ever for an Indian global IT services company.

The news in Business Week, of course, is how cool all this is for the company. The contract breaks the $1 billion barrier for Indian companies and “helps Indian tech overall.” The deal also finally puts Indian tech companies on par with IBM, Accenture, and other companies that have long been outsourcing vendors for IT services.

But the article is instructive for Cubicle Warriors. We all know the threat of outsourcing on our positions, no matter what the company is or in what country. We compete for our positions with everyone on the planet.

What we see from the win is the underlying actions companies are taking to position themselves as a servicer to other companies. And there are specific infrastructures needed to compete globally:

  • One company in one country doesn’t cut it for outsourcing. Tata is one of the few Indian companies that has many employees outside of India.
  • Different countries meet different needs. Tata has Indian resource centers as well as centers in China. Having multiple centers in multiple countries allows a global platform for outsourcing.
  • Global platforms tailer solutions to a specific company need. You don’t think Indian (or China, or name your country) is right for you? Fine. How about our other centers in Canada, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Vietnam, or the Philippines? Write your bid, pick your country.
  • Global platforms create specialization. IBM tries to balance resources against skills everywhere on the planet. If you want to be the global resource for delivering software to the desktop, Canada is your place. If you want Data Center excellence, you need to be in Colorado and India. Concentrating these resources in one or two places on the planet means you get the most highly skilled resources.

From my viewpoint, this makes it very difficult for a Cubicle Warrior to compete with specialized centers in your specialty in multiple countries on the planet.

The job market has become a sphere requiring one to understand where the best and the brightest of your specialty are located. If you’re not located in the right place on the planet and working for companies that specialize in your area, your job is at risk.

If you are a programmer, what companies in what countries are the best programmers on the planet? If you are a software engineer, what countries have the best ones on the planet? If you are a technology manager, what country and companies will give you the opportunity to directly manage your people?

And if you aren’t in those companies and those locations on the planet, can you understand what you are competing against?

Companies are putting together the global infrastructure to both be specialized and cost effective so as to offer their services as better and cheaper — to your company.

Are you ready?