Last week, IBM decided to move more jobs overseas. To ease that bitter pill to clients worried about offshore service delivery, particularly in the wake of the Satyam fiasco, IBM also filed for a patent on an outsourcing methodology.
Here’s the problem. IBM and the other big SIs and consultancies have gone from thinking about offshore as cost arbitrage to, it now seems, risk arbitrage; in the realm of services, though, the name of the game is talent arbitrage.
Some SIs try to parse the talent question as “rightshoring,” but that’s just a smokescreen for the same old cost arbitrage strategies. The vendors aren’t really thinking about talent, although that’s all end users are interested in: how do you find the consultant with the right skills? The answer’s simple: you find that consultant across the biggest sorted, searchable, and secure talent platform, which we think is an open Knowledge Marketplace platform like SpinAct..
When the SIs talk about service delivery paradigms and offshore/onshore/rightshore models, they’re not talking the language of talent. They’re talking the language of method, which in their case is about A)cost reduction and B)milking the client dry. Method does not equal talent. That’s why it doesn’t matter that IBM’s filing a patent on outsourcing methodology. If you think that counts for something, go check out some of the customers who are still waiting for SI methodology to deliver a working SAP implementation.
In any case, it’s strange to fetishize methodology when, in the world of SAP, things change so quickly. Almost overnight, Solution Manager went from being an arcane configuration and service assurance device to being the central SAP management system. So now anyone who’s really good at Solution Manager is red-hot in the marketplace; it’s the consultant’s knowledge that’s in demand, because it’s the knowledge—not the methodology—that actually executes on game day.
Now, I’ll grant you that the Sis are building their own Solution Manager expertise, but guess what? They’re billing the customer for the training time. Right now, some gofer with no SAP implementation experience is being led through Solution Manager PowerPoint tutorials a couple of weeks before showing up at the client site to do the real thing. Is it fair that the client gets billed tens of thousands of dollars for that? Why should the client pay for the SI’s talent acquisition?
Why shouldn’t the client pay for the talent itself?
Well, you tell us! We’re launching a poll to ask you, the client, to name the kinds of firms that have helped your ERP projects succeed. The results should cast some more light on the issue of talent arbitrage.
The last thought we’ll leave you with is that you are paying for the Sis to learn, and they’re taking that knowledge with them out the door. If you’re going to pay, shouldn’t you be the one who’s learning?