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Is offshoring on the way out?

When some people complain about the prevalence of outsourcing they don’t mean that, they mean offshoring. A certain president of certain states that may be united suggests outsourcing is a bad idea but we’re guessing he wouldn’t mind when it comes to domestic outsourcing.

The right term for sending jobs overseas is “offshoring” as readers will be aware; however, this may be on the slide as a trend if reports on Gadget and elsewhere are right. They are reflecting a study from Oxford University that suggests online platforms may be replacing offshoring as the default way to source cheaper labout.

The study cites sites such as Upwork and Fiverr as the new way people are finding freelancers. Intelligent Sourcing accepts the broad thrust of this but we have caveats. First, the idea that this is indicative of all offshoring is plain crazy; there is the question of scale, for one thing. The sort of massive offshoring development that happens when a corporate business outsources its IT infrastructure is in no way comparable to a startup getting a logo done by someone in India and the sites in question make no claim to be able to scale up in that way.

Second, anecdotally, we’ve been keeping an eye on this and although you can indeed get some good work done inexpensively, the quality can vary and so can the communication. We had a pitch only a few days ago from a proofreader and the heading was “I am expert” – not “an expert”, we note. Now, if you can’t write your own headline you’re not coming near Intelligent Sourcing, and we’re standing firm on that!

The scale is the big killer nonetheless. These sites are becoming important to the micro businesses in the market; the idea that they’re supplanting offshoring as a whole is premature, if indeed it can ever be realistic.

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