Automation Feeds Desire for Onshore Services | Sherpas in Blue Shirts

There’s a lot of rethinking going on in North American businesses in light of new technologies. In Everest Group’s conversations with clients and in round table discussions we’ve been holding in the industry, we find that these mature companies believe automation gives them the ability to bring their work back on shore.

After more than a decade of achieving value through the offshore labor arbitrage model, one would think that mature organizations that have built GICs or captives, or organizations with extensive use of third-party outsourcing providers, would be at peace with the model. We expected them to move to a model of arbitrage plus automation. But the level of peace and comfort with offshore arbitrage is much less than we expected, and companies are expressing their desire to use robotics automation to repatriate their work.

This is particularly the case in regulated industries with significant compliance requirements. This is where the desire to move work back on shore shows up first. The increasingly regulated financial services industry is especially burdened with complex regulations. These businesses receive a higher degree of scrutiny if operations are in offshore low-cost locations than if they are automated. It’s easier to demonstrate compliance in an automated environment than in an arbitrage labor environment.

Moreover, these companies believe life is easier in an onshore environment than in an offshore environment.

This is not to say the desire to move work back on shore is a sea change. But we are seeing the early stages of this movement.

I think this is a very interesting development. Our hitherto assumption that the market had overcome its xenophobic fears is not correct. It’s quite possible that the steady blast of negative press in the media and the nationalistic pressure from consumers may be starting to play a role in this re-examination.


Photo credit: Flickr

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