A week from Sunday, the MENA ICT forum will open it’s doors to the region’s ICT industry leaders. One of the the items on their agenda to discuss, will be outsourcing. Now, I’m not an expert on the subject, I might not have known before what a BPO is, it basically turned out to mean that you outsource a certain part of your business outside, business process outsourcing. But here is my take on what outsourcing means to us here in Jordan.
The main title of the session is, Outsourcing: A Burden or Opportunity. Now, for us here in Jordan, I think it’s all opportunity, that is, being outsourced to. There simply isn’t enough work here in the country to keep us all busy, but we have the human resources, and the IT skills and knowledge, and we can certainly compete on those levels. Fine, we might not compete on all levels with some of the biggest outsourcing providers out there, namely the Indian sub-continent, but we do have some advantages.
On a lingual and on a cultural level, we can certainly compete within the MENA region. With our skilled IT manpower, and our understanding of the very similar cultures in the Gulf, we do compete for many contracts in that region. It is certainly something we should focus on, both on a company level, and on a governmental policy level, to make sure these valuable contracts don’t go away from our hands.
Again, on a lingual level, our English is not so bad. It can be improved, however, and I think this should be an important policy in universities, and schools in Jordan, should we hope to compete in the international markets. But the key thing here is, creativity. We need to start fostering creativity in the country. I don’t know if it’s just my own narrow view of the issue, but I’ve seen many creative ideas that came from other Jordanians that can compete on an International level, and they do.
But the perennial problem remains, brain drain. We need to start implementing policies to retain our one and only important resource, the people. We have to make it more enticing to them to start working here, for people in the outside, rather than going directly to the source. A Jordanian IT professional can’t compete with an equal Indian IT professional on wage price, because simply here the living-cost is much higher. Plus, if we build an outsourcing based economy, that would certainly make us really sensitive to any changes in the global economy, so I don’t know if it’s wise to build much of our plans on it, it’s certainly risky.
I know I haven’t even began to talk about this subject, there still is more more to talk about, and I’d love to see how this discussion, would pan out during the panels at the MENA ICT forum, where I’ll be attending and keeping you up to date live, here on my blog, and on my tweet feed.