Scoble worries about outsourcing:
Anyway, Rajesh Jain's weblog points to the New York Times analysis. Do we really need to analyze this? Let's see. Average Chinese worker gets paid about $1000 a year. Yes, that's right. In Bejing the number goes up to $2500 per year. How much are you paid? I am paid a lot more than that. Is there pressure to send my job over to China? You betcha there is.
There's an interesting counterpoint to some of this in the latest ComputerWorld. To answer Scoble's assertion that there's pressure to move a job like his overseas - all I can do is chuckle. He's in a communications heavy job - he's meeting with customers, reporters, and fellow MS staff on a day to day basis as part of his (as I read it) evangelical job. It's far more likely - if MS is successful in India and China - that they'll nee local equivalents of him someday. I rather doubt that a guy in China, many, many timezones away, is hoing to be able to keep up the same communications schedule that Scoble does. Even in the universe of "grunt development" there are issues many people forget:
- Transitory cost increases - from severance costs, declining morale, people jumping ship, travel costs.
- Long term costs - travel to the outsourcers location. If that's China or India, it's not the same thing as a "quick" cross country trip. There's also a soft costs here - what are the spouses of your staff going to think about 2 and 3 week jaunts to the far side of the planet?
- Contract management - if getting agreement on requirements was hard with people a building over, how hard will it be to manage with people 12 time zones and a culture away? Language will not be the only issue here - just the most obvious.
This is not to say that savings don't exist; they do. They aren't going to be as much as most people think though, and there will be communications issues that crop up. Like other trends in the industry this one is no silver bullet - not to mention the fact that we've seen this all before - textile jobs, for instance, went from New England to the south and then overseas. The main difference today is the speed of the transition - software matured and started moving faster than things like textiles did.