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 Nearshore IT vs. Offshore IT Staffing Strategies

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Remember the campaign for “One-Size-Fits-All” T-shirts? My first thought as a naïve citizen was, “how?” Would the fabric stretch? Would they have adjustable seams? Well, it turned out that they were all XXXL size white t-shirts with catchy slogans on them.

One size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to offshore IT services. For instance, while many firms adopt an offshore model for their IT needs, this isn’t always the correct choice for every organization. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding to adopt offshore IT staffing, such as the complexity of the project, language and cultural compatibility, code quality, security, etc.

In addition, transferring knowledge of your company’s procedures, platforms, coding standards and practices requires careful operationalization and change management. While sometimes resource shortages or a skills gap may necessitate a hybrid model of offshore, nearshore, and local resources to meet your organization’s needs, good project management is crucial to ensure efficient operations across multiple cultures, time zones and languages.

In an environment where competition is global, it’s all the more important to understand the “hows” and “whys” of adopting global operations for your business before seeking offshore IT services.

The Benefits of Offshoring IT

Since the pandemic, the IT world has seen an explosion in offshoring as more businesses adopt remote work and cloud-based infrastructure. No longer tied to office buildings and with more and more roles no longer requiring a local presence, hiring resources who are geographically near headquarters is less and less important, especially for roles in software and information technology that are not consumer-facing.

There are many benefits to offshoring certain business operations, in particular…

  • Save on labour costs
  • Access pools of high-skilled talent
  • 24-hour Operations

Offshoring IT allows your firm not only to save on labour costs by taking advantage of lower wages and beneficial exchange rates in other countries, but also allows you to access pools of highly skilled talent who can help you address skills gaps in your projects. Plus, having teams in multiple time zones allows your organization to remain active around the clock. 

However, as mentioned before, while offshoring IT comes with many advantages it also has plenty of associated challenges. It’s not easy to ensure smooth operations within global teams without instituting a robust framework that accounts for differences in language, time zone, and cultural differences, such as work styles.

That’s why many firms adopt a nearshore model to take advantage of the benefits of offshoring while minimizing the challenges typically associated with it.

What is Nearshoring?

Nearshoring is a form of offshoring that prioritizes transferring certain business operations to countries that are geographically close and culturally similar to that of the host company. This process still allows your business to take advantage of high-skilled workers and lower labour costs in nearby countries while reducing some of the frustrations and complexities associated with offshoring operations to more distant locales.

The advantages of nearshoring are manifold, but some of the most important ones are cultural similarity, working in the same time zone, and working in the same language. 

Cultural Similarity

Work culture can vary quite significantly from place to place – think about different places you’ve worked at in your career and how different the environment was from one to the other. Even offices in the same industry or the same region can have wildly different work cultures.

Now think about how much more significant these differences can be when you’re trying to communicate and work together with teams in different countries. This oft-overlooked aspect of offshoring IT can lead to a variety of challenges and misunderstandings if it’s not addressed early and head-on. 

Nearshoring IT helps alleviate this issue somewhat, as it’s easier to integrate teams that are already culturally similar. 

Shared Languages

Communication is key when working with offshore IT teams located in other countries. A language barrier can result in significant confusion for both sides and can result in serious issues with project flow and the quality of deliverables if instructions are misunderstood. 

Finding and retaining project managers who are multilingual in the languages you require can also be a challenge, as language skills are highly in-demand for this very reason. 

Working teams who are already fluent in your primary language eliminates the chance for critical communication failures and overall eases 

Shared Timezones

While using teams in other timezones to maintain 24-hour operations for your business can be beneficial for certain fields, such as call centres and tech support, it does come with the necessity to build a management platform that ensures accountability for global resources. For instance, scheduling calls in windows that are convenient for both onsite managers and offsite teams, setting out guidelines for when a manager’s attention is needed in their off-hours, etc.

Working with nearshore IT teams in the same or similar time zones simplifies these concerns greatly, and avoids the possibility of emergencies occurring while you and your team are asleep.  

Nearshore vs. Offshore Outsourcing: What’s Right For You?

Don’t let your products be delayed and don’t lose the window of opportunity to the market, just because your project ran into sudden gaps in skills and resources. Many large companies in the United States have near-shore partners in Canada and South America in order to empower their projects rapidly and effectively. 

Yoush Consulting works with a number of talented and reliable nearshore partners who can help you unlock the potential of global operations. Contact us today for a consultation and we can not only help connect you with nearshore resources, but also work to understand your needs and put a plan in place to facilitate your nearshore operations.