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Call Center Outsourcing Gets Muddier as Indian Outsourcers Establish US Facilities

October 29, 2012
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Foreign call center outsourcing: it’s when a company engages the services of a call center in a foreign land to help save money…right? Increasingly, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Call centers, just like everything else, are becoming increasingly globalized, and the lines are starting to blur a little bit when it comes to foreign call center outsourcing. (It’s a bit like buying a Japanese car that was made in the U.S.)

Indian outsourcing giant Infosys (News - Alert) Ltd is one of the companies helping blur the lines. The company, which is based in Bangalore, India, recently opened a largely U.S. staffed call center in Atlanta, Georgia. So is that offshore outsourcing, re-shoring, on-shoring or a combination of the three?

In fact, thousands of U.S. workers today are filling outsourced jobs that are coming back to the U.S., or at least not going offshore. Indian and U.S. outsourcing companies, along with corporate icons like General Motors (News - Alert) Co. (GM) and General Electric Co. (GE), are reversing a 20-year outgoing tide, according to an article in Bloomberg this week.

It used to be just about getting the job done at the lowest cost,” Madhusudan Menon, who heads Infosys’s Atlanta center and delivery of U.S. business process outsourcing, told Bloomberg (News - Alert). “Now companies are saying some jobs are best done closer to where they are, not cheap as possible somewhere else. They’re rebalancing their onshore and offshore outsourcing.”

The reasons for the complex offshoring/reshoring/onshoring business models are not only economical, but political. Many Indian offshore giants are establishing beachheads in the U.S. to help weather the political hot potato that offshore outsourcing represents.

Both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have traded charges of being the “outsourcer in chief.” By and large, Americans of both political parties look negatively on news of jobs sent offshore.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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