Check out highlights from Rural Sourcing Inc. CEO Monty Hamilton's presentation at the 2010 Outsourcing World Summit.
I've been impressed with what I've heard in the past week from the CEOs of two onshore outsourcing companies that are promoting outsourcing to rural areas in the U.S. as an alternative to offshoring. It's gratifying that neither CEO has any interest in appealing to anyone's anti-globalization bias or generating any kind of nationalistic undercurrent in order to get business.
In The Argument for Rural Sourcing: Not Just 'Flag Waving', Monty Hamilton, CEO of Rural Sourcing Inc. in Atlanta, made a strong case for the merits of rural sourcing, but he didn't do it by dissing what lies beyond our borders. Instead, he tipped his cap to countries like Ghana that are working hard to position themselves as offshore outsourcing locations, and he expressed the view that importing foreign talent has been helpful in dealing with the IT skills shortage in the U.S.
I subsequently heard from Shane Mayes, founder and CEO of Onshore Technology Services in Macon, MO. Commenting on my blog post, "Rural Sourcing: Why IT Inbreeding Is Unhealthy," Mayes offered this viewpoint:
It is important that rural outsourcing, as a segment, be understood in the context of why it makes BUSINESS SENSE. For the segment to grow, we must steer media to focus on its merits as a cost-effective, risk averse, domestic complement to a global outsourcing portfolio. We should also be talking about the positive steps forward that some communities are taking in areas of education and workforce development. Our customers choose us because we filling a role in their outsourcing portfolio, not out of patriotic sentiments. This is the message that must be brought forward concerning rural outsourcing.
Proponents of rural outsourcing must not forsake the innovation opportunities provided by cultural diversity. Many often do in the name of working with what's familiar. In his book, "The Ten Faces of Innovation", author Tom Kelley states, "Cross-pollinators can create something new and better through the unexpected juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated ideas or concepts." This same effect can be achieved through cultural diversity. This is something to think about.
Five years ago, when I first wrote about the rural sourcing topic and expressed my concern that it not lead to an insularity that I likened to inbreeding, there was a huge backlash from readers who took issue with my position and the analogy. To explain where I was coming from, I quoted former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who happened to be visiting the U.S. at the time:
Speaking at a meeting of the Massachusetts Software Council in Boston, Gorbachev called on the IT sector and U.S. leaders to develop partnerships with other nations and to get over the fear of IT advances in other countries. Such partnerships will foster a "secure, just and democratic world order," Gorbachev said. "The [current] state of global chaos is not good for anybody."
He went on to appeal to the IT community to help narrow the gap between the rich and poor, which would in turn aid in creating a "new world order" that will be "more stable, more just and more humane."
It's clear that neither Hamilton nor Mayes has any fear of IT advances in other countries, and that they both welcome global cooperation and competition. That outward vision, as opposed to a hunkered-down insularity, is what will drive their continued success.