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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.


The Americas

CANADA: Leader

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: ($US28,174/year; $US22-$37/hour)Infrastructure: GoodPros: Low risk, high quality, similar exchange rate, compatible cultures. . .

Cons: . . . all of which come at a price.

Insider tip: You won't save a lot of money, but you will reduce the number of potential headaches.

MEXICO: Up-and-comer.

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: ($US1400/year)Infrastructure: Good. Strongest in the country's three technology parks.

Pros: Costs are typically 25 per cent to 45 per cent less than in the US.

Cons: Mexican programmers are not exactly members of the intellectual elite when it comes to engineering skills. The language barrier can also be a problem (though some companies send their programmers to English boot camps). Insider tip: Right now, Mexico may be suitable for low-level, high-volume projects. Make sure you evaluate language skills at your vendor.

VENEZUELA: Rookie.

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: (minimum wage is $US2556/year)Infrastructure: Fair. Modern and expanding telecom and IT infrastructure.

Pros: The government says it wants to get involved in a different kind of offshore development - supporting growth in the IT sector in order to reduce the country's dependence on the oil industry . . .

Cons: . . .but hasn't done much yet. The government is in a state of flux. The term "offshore" here still conjures up images of oil rigs and black gold. Insider tip: Check back in a few years to see if any progress has been made.

CHILE: Rookie.

Geopolitical risk.

English proficiency.

Average programmer salary: (minimum wage is $US1781/year) Infrastructure: Good. State-of-the-art infrastructure, including network digitalisation, fibre-optics and satellite equipment.

Pros: High level of education, low costs, high-tech infrastructure. Chile is the most European community in South America.

Cons: Chile may lack the entrepreneurial zeal it needs to become a real offshore player. Insider tip: A little more expensive than Brazil but relatively competitive in other ways.

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