About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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March 24, 2004

Outsourcing - Japan, India, China, US

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Two talks covered different aspects of the international outsourcing issue.

Discussing the history of US outsourcing to India was Rafique Dosanni who called in from India where he is doing his latest research. In short, he detailed how India would like to climb up the value chain in software development all the way up to ownership of whole product, but cross-cultural issues continue to stem this possibility.

One clear example he used of outsourcing that was sure to occur on a massive scale in the next few years was call centers. 6 million Americans are currently employed at call centers with an average hourly wage of $8. In India, the average hourly wage is $2. When asked if this would hurt the US economy he commented that it definitely will if these workers don't have the opportunity to be retrained for a new line of work. With the average call center worker in the U.S. having 25 years of experience compared to 3 years in India, he suggested that it might be hard for these workers to easily motivate to get retrained.

Exploring the outsourcing of Japan software to India was Geoff Walsham who made the point that even though Chinese software engineers are 1/3 the cost of Japanese programmers and India's are one half the price of a Japanese software engineer, Japan still prefers to outsource to India. The reason, India has a better grasp of the media technologies and better toolsets. However, looking forward he suggested this would change, especially since the primary second language that Chinese programmers are now learning is Japanese. This gives new meaning to what goes around comes around.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neurosociety


1. Zack Lynch on March 30, 2004 9:37 AM writes...

I just received this spam this morning, that hits the nail on the head in terms of the outsourcing of Call Center operations: (In this case it's Romania...

Dear Team,

Visiting your web site, we thought that you will be interested in our offer:

We are your partner for call center services! Our services are beyond competition and we offer the best price/quality relation due to our location (Romania).

COST SAVINGS:Reduce your Call Center Operational Costs by more than 60% of current North American/West European Costs.
LABOR: Romania has an abundance of skilled, highly trainable call center staffing talent.Strange consulting companies recommends Romania to move call centers into,marketing known a lot of advantages:the low cost of personals(1/3 confronting with North American/West European one),hight density of specialists,the cultural compatibility with North American/West European.
LANGUAGE SKILLS: Being a true cosmopolitan nation with strong historical links to the Europe,Romania boasts a large pool of European language skills.
CONNECTIVITY: Currently in the process of deregulation, the Romania telecommunications industry boasts some of the most advanced technologies in the world with superb cable and satellite links to all major countries.
TIME ZONE:Romania operates on the same time zone as most of Europe.
CARRIER TARIFFS: International call center organizations operating in Romania
experience highly competitive international connectivity tariffs.

An major point in India is the amount of accent neutralization required. I wonder how many sales are lost, or customers dissatisfied since they are unable to understand the operators. The Romanian accent is well received by UK(Europe) or North American customers.
Operating in our state-of-the-art, web-enabled customer focused call center, our specially trained customer services representatives will act as an extension of your very own business. They will receive calls from, and respond to, all your customers' enquirers concerning orders, shipping, billing and returns, product information and much more. And with real-time access to order information, customer history and other key data, our customer service representatives can not only address customer enquirers but also spot and promote new revenue opportunities for your business.
ParkLife provides a unique building, infrastructure and technical environment in which to operate state-of-the-art call centers.

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2. Daniel Negru on May 6, 2004 5:49 PM writes...

Visit our new web site

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