Reimagining Outsourcing

Outsourcing is like a marriage. At the beginning, the relationship promises so much potential. But without good communication and mutual respect, it often struggles and can even fail. In the early 1990s, outsourcing was going to keep America competitive. But the honeymoon quickly ended. Outsourced labor costs, once thought to be a 15 to 20 percent advantage in emerging markets, started to rise, often at rates higher than in the U.S. Distance and cultural barriers inhibited process improvements, and the quality of customer interactions and service failed to live up to established standards. No surprise, problems resulted from the actions of both partners in the relationship.

Contributing Authors: Bob Kaplan and Kristina Tober