Very often, I speak to people who tend to generalize certain behavioral characteristics of people in the countries where we have offices. People speak about ‘the Indians’ or ‘the eastern Europeans’. In our business, the cultural differences have a major impact on the customer’s perceptions about the feasibility of outsourcing for their company.
There are many ghost stories going around in the market. Especially India is perceived in a negative way by many people. As India is the major outsourcing destination, it also receives the most publicity. If some offshoring initiatives don’t succeed (and this is reality, nobody in our business will deny it), people tend to think in general terms ‘outsourcing to India never works’ or even ‘outsourcing doesn’t work at all’. And if one hears or reads one story about a negative offshoring initiative, people tend to make conclusions that it can also never work for them.
But if one has not experienced working with a certain country, how can we make conclusions? If one has not worked with one specific company or even with a specific person inside that company, how can one decide it will not work? And if we have one or two bad experiences, does that mean that a ‘country’ or ‘outsourcing’ doesn’t work? Isn’t the risk to have such experience equal when we do business with a local supplier?
I strongly believe that the success is depending on the company and in specific the people that one does business with and not on the country only. In any country, there are people who are highly skilled, talented, productive, effective. And there are people who are not. No matter where the company is based. Culture does have an impact on how people operate and in offshoring there is no denying that these differences have to be bridged in communication, ethics, way of working and many other fields. It is the function of a company to offer world class services and those services can only be provided by attracting talent. If one outsources work to a nearshore or offshore provider, it is important to find a supplier who understands the cultural differences, is able to attract and retain talent and understands how offshoring can work for your company. But in the end of the day, deciding merely on generalizations about a culture or continent, doesn’t seem like sounds business logic.