Sunday, December 23, 2007

Flattening & Topography

Leafing through my new favorite local business intelligence tool, BusinessWorld, I ran across a review of the book Redefining Global Strategy. Although I've not read it (yet), I am intrigued by Eddie Evans' review wherein he contrasts the work of Pankaj Ghemawaht, with that of Thomas Friedman, the author of The World is Flat. The reasons for my interest should be somewhat self-evident: as a self-professed expert on certain things indigenous to the Philippines, I believe that the difference in locale matters in a deep and abiding way.

Moreover this position interests me since the nuances of location and all that it implies can compound themselves adding up to differences that, in sum, are significant. This year will necessitate greater efficiencies than ever as a variety of factors conspire to complicate what used to be a simple labor arbitrage a scant eighteen months ago. The dollar's increasing weakness, energy costs, familiarity with the outsourcing model, and talent sourcing challenges all conspire to force organizations to become more efficient to protect their margins.

I've seen mistakes that cost time and money as they made assumptions that made entrée into the Philippines more arduous than necessary. Indeed, I'm guilty of a few of them myself. These typically fall into two major buckets:
  • Underestimating the local business environment or, more accurately, assuming that prior knowledge in one geography/culture/industry translates with algebraic ease to the Philippines.
  • Managing people using the same techniques and cultural biases prevalent in their original business location. In most cases, it translates into forcing "Western" biases onto local talent who have a very complex world-view that emanates from a unique history.
We intend shed some light on these matters for those that are looking for some insight on activities that require engaging personnel for service delivery. As an organization that traces its own development to the second wave of BPO growth here, we focus most intently on sourcing, managing and educating people who are remote knowledge workers.

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