Archives for: September 2007

09/23/07

08:30:38 pm, Categories: Sales & Marketing, Business Trends, KPO  

After having seen the book “The World is Flat” on several best-seller lists, I finally picked it up last week. If I could toot my own horn for just a minute, my previous post on Knowledge Process Outsourcing comes to pretty much the same conclusions that Thomas Friedman arrives at in this book. Admittedly, my language isn’t as flowery and I don’t have very many witty anecdotes to mix things up.

But one thing did stick out for me from Friedman’s book. In addition to the powerful undercurrent of Knowledge Worker Outsourcing (as Friedman calls it), the other significant accompanying development, and the topic of this post, is that of the global labor pool.

As Friedman points out in his book, with the advent of cheap & copious bandwidth, inexpensive computing power and well-accepted global trade practices, we are now at a point where pretty much any knowledge intensive “project” (used loosely) can be chopped up into pieces, each individual piece could be worked upon in a remote corner of the world and the disparate pieces could then be aggregated into the end product in yet another part of the world. Think of this as the new global, knowledge supply chain.

A cousin of mine just started his UG studies. For the past two years, the family was counseling him on the discipline that he should be focusing on. He finally decided on pursuing a business major because, as the thought went, regardless of all the changes in products, industries and globalization, companies will always need general managers.

Most of us in the high-tech sector have seen significant changes over the past 2 decades. The Telecom industry has gone a full circle from divestiture to consolidation, with consumers driving rampant product substitution (cell phones for land lines, IPTV for cable, VoIP over WiFi for cell phones). The product developments in other parts of the high-tech sector (ERP, CRM, Web Apps, Security, Networking) also seem like a big, long blur. Couple that with the huge IT outsourcing & off-shoring trend, and it becomes difficult to recommend that anyone start a career in IT in the US at this point in time, unless there is a well-defined, long-term niche market that is being targeted.

Given the rapid changes in products, industries and globalization that we continue to see, my cousin’s decision to pursue a career in general management seems like an appropriate hedge. Friedman also brings up this question in generic terms in his book. What will the Knowledge Worker Outsourcing trend imply for our children’s careers?

The answer, in its simplest terms, is the very title of this post. A global labor pool is emerging. Whereas, previously one could evaluate the local, regional or national labor conditions & demand for a particular skill set therein and choose a career path, now career aspirants will have to do the same evaluation, but on a global scale, before they decide on a career.

In a previous post on entrepreneurship, I had talked about the need for entrepreneurs to quickly pick up global skill-sets. After reading Friedman’s book, I am of the opinion that the need for global exposure and skill sets is not just limited to entrepreneurs, but is important to anyone pursuing a serious, professional, knowledge-intensive career.

Thoughts?

Sampath

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