Information Technology and Globalization

As I sat around the house this July 4th weekend I finished reading the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) report on Globalization and Offshoring of Software.? Having recently completed the book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman this was of particular interest to me.? The ACM report focuses on many of the same points that Friedman made in the first three chapters of his book. It is evident that globalization has leveled (flattened) the playing field for software and the IT services industry.

Today there are at least six kinds of work that are sent offshore related to software and information technology:

  1. programming, software testing, and software maintenance
  2. IT research and development
  3. high-end jobs such as software architecture, product design, project management, IT consulting and business strategy
  4. physical product manufacturing – semiconductors, computer components, computers
  5. business process outsourcing / IT enables services – insurance claim processing, medical billing, accounting, bookkeeping, medical transcription, digitization of engineering drawings, desktop publishing, and high-end IT enabled services such as financial analysis and reading of X-rays
  6. call centers and tele-marketing

What the heck is left?? As a fellow propeller head it feels like not only is the hardware infrastructure market a commodity but the skills that we value so dearly are as well.? As individuals with families and personal lives we are are competing with countries who?seem to have adopted?a sense of nationalism focused on information technology.? How can we compete?

Before I ran down to the local real estate office and began planning my relocation to India, China, Malaysia, or the Philippines I continued reading.? The reality is that while many jobs are being outsourced to these countries the size of the IT employment market in the United States today is higher than it was at the height of the dot-com boom. Todays’ IT worker needs to hone their “soft skills” involving communication, management and teamwork. They should become familiar with the application domain, especially in growth fields such as health care, these skills are as important if not more important that the core technical computing skills that once defined the American IT worker.

Most organizations today struggle with business processes which are not routine, these organizations often require the assistance of a competent firm with the aptitude to help them strategize, realize and optimize their infrastructure. ?The ability to execute within this paradigm is often predicated on locality, cultural understanding, resources availability, ability to protect privacy, data security and intellectual property, and of course costs.

Building a strategy includes everything from assessing the current business process and technology to laying out the road-map for the future.? Realization occurs upon execution of this strategy in a way which provides actual business value, typically this is when the actual architecture is documented and implemented.? Optimization is truly the culmination of infrastructure life-cycle and business process. ?IT infrastructure is an ever-evolving environment which require constant review, reorganization and improvement.

While companies will continue leverage outsourcing to decrease costs they will continue to spawn new more specialized roles focused on business problems and not solely on the technology. These roles will demand a higher level of skill that focuses on the applicability of information technology as a means to increase productivity and streamline business process.

Now that brings me to the point of this post…? As the inaugural post on the blog I wanted to set a tone.? This blog will be focused on solutions not discrete?infrastructure technologies.??Posts will discuss?hardware, software, best practices, industry trends and other related IT topics?and their applicability in the marketplace today.??We will attempt to uncover the myths and realities behind these technologies but most of the posts will be musings much like this that are meant to provoke thought and offer possible solutions to problems that organizations and individuals throughout the IT community are facing today.


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