February 25, 2007
MOVING TECH SUPPORT JOBS CLOSER: NEARSHORING
OFFSHORING GIVES WAY TO NEARSHORING TO CUT COSTS, CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS
By Nicole C. Wong, Mercury News
Some of Silicon Valley’s largest technology companies, in an effort to cut costs and address a mounting stack of customer-service complaints, are embracing an offshoring trend known as “nearshoring.”
Unlike the traditional offshoring that flung U.S. customer call centers halfway around the world to India and other faraway countries, nearshoring sends white-collar jobs to Costa Rica, Mexico and other countries in the Western Hemisphere.
The allure of nearshore sites is their ample supply of knowledgeable, low-paid workers who speak the customers’ language fluently, understand their cultural nuances and perhaps even live in the same time zones. For big U.S. tech companies, shifting jobs to closer locations can avoid the operational bumps that would otherwise occur in the more distant, more popular offshoring destinations in Asia.
“It’s important that the world knows that it’s not just China and India,” said Diane Burton, an associate professor of management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “It is truly a more global phenomena where there are skilled and talented people around the world who are ready, willing and able to do the kind of work that (represents) good jobs.”
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