Points of View

There is Energy in the On-Shore U.S. Sourcing Opportunity

May 18, 2015 Barbra McGann

HfS took in the jazzy sights and sounds of New Orleans, La., recently for the RevAmerica conference – an event dedicated to U.S. domestic sourcing education and networking. Attendees represented enterprises that do or are exploring the use of on-shore outsourcing, purely U.S. on-shore service providers, multinational service providers growing their presence in the U.S., and economic development leaders from U.S. cities that host these service providers.  


As we all know, the outsourcing industry “went off-shore” years ago, tapping into available resources at a lower cost than could be found in the U.S. Over time, a handful of service providers found ways to establish on-shore delivery centers, emerging in areas where jobs are needed, and local governments and citizens invest and embrace the opportunity for retraining and job diversification.


U.S. domestic sourcing startups like Rural Sourcing Inc. (RSI) and Onshore Outsourcing have cropped up and taken root as well. These service providers have largely located in rural areas and outside of major hubs – places like Macon, Missouri and Augusta, Georgia, and are growing their networks. The U.S. now has more than 250 cities with delivery centers ranging from Chicago and Houston to Nashville, Fargo and points in between.


As the on-shore market is grows, conference attendees were eager to explore what it takes to train, attract, and develop talent to meet this rising demand including issues such as:


  1. Creating a lifestyle, not just a job. A common theme among the leaders of these domestic sourcing service providers and the economic development leaders from the cities that host them is the passion they bring to the discussion. This is not just about providing jobs for people and results for businesses; it’s about creating a lifestyle, which in turn creates loyalty.  Liberty Source, a subsidiary of Digital Divide Data, is creating a niche for military families, for example. The service provider launched as a delivery center last year in a former military base in Virginia. Its infrastructure and applications are all cloud based, employees are issued laptops, and if someone’s spouse is deployed overseas, they will have the option to work remotely. Workers share a common bond in their ties to the military, and it creates a unique support network and culture in the organization.
  2. Apprenticeships to combine mentoring, teamwork and practical experience with education. GE Capital and the University of New Orleans developed a software engineer apprenticeship program modeled after the UK. Students are paired with GE Capital senior engineers. The engineers become their mentors. The students work in software design, security, and other technical projects while they also go to school for two years, and then spend two years as full time employees of GE. The intent is not to only provide education and training but team-based project work and mentoring for a smoother transition from education to a career with leadership opportunities. 
  3. Sharing the social impact of IT. Building a deeper pool of IT talent also means attracting millennials by cultivating programs and jobs that link social impact with engineering and IT.  University leaders in attendance recognized this need and highlighted a variety of initiatives underway including showing students how engineering helps improve health care and public safety. For example, in collaborating with Louisiana State University on classroom content, IBM shares examples like how coding and engineering applied to Watson to crunch 911 reports and police data and analyzing crime statistics led to actions that reduced crime by 73% in one area.


These U.S. domestic sourcing service providers are focused on creating local value for clients by being flexible, keeping costs competitive, and by building employee communities and career paths to keep talent engaged.


As Shane Mayes, the CEO, Onshore Outsourcing, described it, they adopt a “split personality.” It’s about providing quality, affordable, and results-oriented outsourcing to businesses from within the U.S. It’s also about making a desirable lifestyle, culture, and profession for their people.