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Offshoring: Cheaper Doesn't Mean Better

Technology has done much to diminish the barriers geography imposes on business. Wireless is proving to be a productivity-boosting tool for workers in sales and other highly mobile areas. Mature, secure wide area networking technologies give companies a mechanism to improve the effectiveness of employees in branch offices by connecting them to the same corporate resources staff members have in headquarters. Both hardware and software also gives enterprises the means to improve their own cost efficiencies by employing less expensive workers in remote areas, including offshore contractors.

Yet, as much hype as there is about the tremendous benefits offshoring provides business some vendors are finding out that you get what pay for, and, as a result, companies such as Dell are deciding to transfer previously offshored support functions to domestic contractors.Microsoft is the latest company to examine the idea of returning offshore support to onshore workers. Right now, most non-government customers and partners are routed to the available call center. However, issues involving language - and in my own experience - time to resolution - are prompting technology companies to revisit their contracting strategies.

So the world may not be quite so flat, after all. At least not yet but we should all stay tuned to see what develops next.