The latest banking IT debacles with RBS and Natwest have dominated the news recently, with millions of people not being able to access their money. RBS stated that the problem was caused by poorly implemented software, opening up debate on the issue of whether the trend of outsourcing of IT jobs is to blame.
Reportedly, much of the blame was placed on the fact the IT department was based in India and not in-house in the UK.
While RBS denied that outsourcing was the problem, David Fleming, Unite national officer, says: “Serious questions must be asked as to why constant job cuts are being made when there are clearly serious issues which need addressing by management”. Fleming noted that 30,000 IT positions were cut in favour of replacing the roles by outsourcing.
The National Outsourcing Association (NOA) performed a recent survey finding that 80% of the UK population believe that ‘outsourcing hinders British businesses’.
It is worth keeping in mind the difference between outsourcing and off-shoring. The typical expectation is that the larger a company gets, the more likely their call centre or similar support operations will be based overseas. The NOA survey showed 58% of people in the UK believe this is outsourcing. However, this is the perfect example of off-shoring; UK jobs being sent overseas to reduce costs. Businesses that outsource can still be utilising the UK’s resources.
Banks like RBS may soon not have much choice in whether they outsource to contractors. During the Harvey Nash banking and finance Chief information officer event in June, approximately 70% of the attendees described working in IT for the banking sector as “less attractive”. With less permanent employees wanting to work in the sector, IT positions will need to be filled by outsourcing.
PerDM, a field marketing agency, specialise in outsourcing and believe that the practice is not only cost effective but also improves efficiency as many new projects can be initiated almost immediately by experts in any given field.
Ian Attwood, PerDM Director, says: “PerDM are a UK-based company and majority of our clients are UK-based. We are proud to be able to create so many work opportunities here on home soil. The benefits of outsourcing are being recognized by more businesses in wider and more varied industries, it is a very exciting time for the outsourcing industry.”
Major suppliers of IT software have been quick to recognise the potential of outsourcing. For example, data management software company Oracle set up their own program, Oracle Outsourcing, proposing the complete package of applications maintenance, management and upgrade service. Companies can quickly and easily outsource Oracle jobs for many of their business processes such as payroll and HR.
While major technology errors suffered by big companies will always make the headlines, outsourcing and off-shoring are here to stay, with companies often finding that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. For IT professionals who want to take advantage of the current interest in outsourcing, it is essential to be adaptable, mobile and showcase your abilities confidently.