The first time I heard the term First Time Offshoring  (FTO)  Akibia had just become a part of Zensar Technologies.  The reference is to a process that focuses on Zensar’s “ multi-stage methodology that recognizes that successful outsourcing needs equal emphasis on people, processes and technology, and uses a mix of workshops, consulting and training to prepare firms for successful offshore outsourcing”

I have had an opportunity to talk to some of our key customers and discovered that many of them are already past the FTO stage and have found tremendous benefit (both financially and efficiently) in utilizing a multi shore approach to doing business and running their IT departments.  I have also found some customers (and interestingly some Akibia associates) that are still struggling with the concept.  However even in these instances I have found that it’s more a case of not now or not for this circumstance.

A good example of this is a current client that came to us to provide what we call “functional outsourcing”.  This is where Akibia utilizes some of our core services (technical support, logistics, field services) to help clients deliver service to their customers.  This particular customer wanted to migrate technical support for its high-end technology away from another vendor and offered Akibia an opportunity to put a solution together.  At about the same time as this interaction was happening Akibia merged with Zensar Technologies.  Suddenly the client was concerned that we were going to outsource the entire support to India and they insisted on working with the local team.  My initial perception was that they were afraid of having no control of their services and that all their customers would be experiencing a dramatically different kind of service.  I was disappointed that they would feel this way without even taking the time to review our alternative offering.

The real issue wasn’t that we now could deliver some of the services from India but more that the client was concerned about the knowledge transfer and wanted for the time being to be closer to solution.  When we met with the client later on to discuss other opportunities and review the multiple new services we could now deliver as part of Zensar we found out that the client was already utilizing services in India and was quite happy.  The lesson learned for me (and hopefully my sales team) is that things aren’t what they appear at first.  Take time to ask questions as to why a certain solution shouldn’t leverage the efficiencies and costs savings by using a militia-shore approach.  Clients change vendors all the time, why shouldn’t they be open to changing how the service is being delivered?

There certainly are companies out there that could benefit from the FTO services.  However there are a lot of them already leveraging some aspect of multi-shore services.   We may not be asking all the right the questions.

Phil Harris is the Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Zensar.

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