A Buyer's Guide to Offshore Outsourcing

A Buyer's Guide to Offshore Outsourcing

Wondering where to send your call centres, application development and QA testing? Check the map for a worldwide comparison of prices, risks and other critical considerations.

BULGARIA: Up-and-comer.

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: ($US3600-$6000/year)Infrastructure: FairPros: Bulgaria was the Silicon Valley of the former Soviet Union. As in most Eastern European countries, a large network of colleges produces more IT graduates than needed in-country.

Cons: Quality and price vary wildly from company to company, and pseudo-companies with fake customer references may exist.

Insider tip: The software market here is much more diverse in price and quality than stateside. Due diligence is key.

EGYPT: Rookie.

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: (minimum wage is around $US400/year)Infrastructure: Fair. Reasonably modern telecom infrastructure. Telecom Egypt, though in the process of deregulation, has little competition and keeps rates high.

Pros: Egypt says it is keen to become a key player in the global IT industry.

Cons: IT skills shortage, security issues and high tariffs stymie growth.

Insider tip: Egypt is one of the most protected markets in the world with no signs of changing anytime soon. Government "support" is all talk, no action.

POLAND: Up-and-comer.

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: ($US4800-$8000/year; minimum wage is $US1584/year)Infrastructure:

GoodPros: Good intellectual capital, and more of it than Hungary and the Czech Republic. Minimal costs.

Cons: Like most Eastern European countries, the nascent industry here needs time to grow and mature. Insider tip: If Poland can figure out how to retain its brain trust, Poland's capabilities look promising.

UKRAINE: Up-and-comer.

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: ($US4968-$11,736/year)Infrastructure: Poor. Local telephone service in need of upgrades, monopolies charge steep rates, and privatisation has been postponed.

Pros: Plenty of high-quality, high-level engineers for minimal investment. Thirty-nine technology-oriented schools churn out 3000 IT-related degrees each year.

Cons: Like Russia, there are concerns about the economy, government, tax system, corruption, intellectual property laws and cultural barriers. Skilled project managers are scarce.

Insider tip: If the national anthem, which declares "Ukraine has not yet died", is any indication, Ukrainians are an undaunted, if not entirely upbeat, people.

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