A Brief History of Team Augmentation
As technology continues to make the world smaller and smaller, you can’t help but hear about the concept of the global marketplace. Countries and corporations are becoming more and more intertwined with one another as shareholders look to find the most cost-effective ways to bring their products to market.
Offshoring has always been an intrical part of this strategy. As acknowledgement increased of the fact that variants in economies and standards of living meant that work could be done in other countries for significantly less money, the rush was on to put lower-wage workers to work and cash in on the savings.
Most believe this to be a relatively recent development. Technology has had that effect – most of the time when someone hears about offshoring they think about calling an Indian call center for tech support or to discuss something with their credit card company.
However, offshoring has been going on since at least the 60s. Most offshoring during this time wasn’t the offshoring of information – it was the offshoring of actual physical labor. Post-industrial societies went from economies that made things to economies that invented things and sent them overseas to be made. Industries shut down and factories closed as factory workers in other lands produced goods for pennies on the dollar.
Once the information revolution came about, however, offshoring took on a whole new meaning. The ability to transfer data at ultra-high speeds across great distances meant that turnaround times could be drastically reduced and shipping costs could be all-but-eliminated for many tasks.
Industries like medicine, tax preparation, finance, tech support, and others saw their data sent across an ocean at the speed of light to be processed at an offshore facility.
Nearshoring was another, perhaps inevitable, development of the information age. As frustration grew with both the usability and sustainability of a fully offshored solution, businesses began seeking ways to continue their savings but gain more regional influence and control over the work being done.
US-based businesses started looking to Canada and Mexico as possible off-site locations for cheaper labor rather than India and China. The benefits were many. Travel times and expenses were significantly reduced. Satisfaction with customer service representatives increased. And management began to see an overall increase in their control and influence of their projects.
As the benefits of nearshoring continue to make themselves known, new concepts seek to take the practice into new areas of business and expand on its already successful model.
Both offshoring and nearshoring provided new ways of taking advantage of an ever-shrinking world. Technological improvements like higher data transfer rates, video conferencing, and telephony put the final nails in the coffin of our globe being seen as a collection of borders, at least in the business sense. Now, as an idea may be generated in one country, it might be brought to fruition in another country while yet another still may be responsible for supporting the product.
The 60s were just 50 years ago. That’s a pretty short amount of time to shrink an entire planet.