Yesterday, auto supplier Delphi announced that it was sending 650 corporate accounting jobs to India’s Genpact to consolidate some of its finance workforce in a more lower-cost (and still high quality) environment.
Today the New York Times looks deeper, noting that the stereotype that outsourcing necessarily involves lower-end “backoffice” jobs is no longer valid:
But that has been changing in recent years, and increasingly the jobs of Western white-collar elites in fields as diverse as investment banking, aircraft engineering and pharmaceutical research have begun flowing to India and a few other developing countries.
Companies such as Boeing, Cisco Systems, Eli Lilly and Morgan Stanley are also growing their presence in India. Perhaps even more relevant for legal services are the activities of a certain well-known professional services firm:
Accenture, the global consulting giant, has its worldwide head of business-process outsourcing in Bangalore; by December it expects to have more employees in India than in the United States.
Those last few words that I’ve bolded really caught my eye.
If you can have jet aircraft designed in India, you can probably find someone to draft the leveraged lease to buy it.
I’ve covered this subject before. I still hear some skepticism in the marketplace as to whether legal services are primed to make the jump in a big way. Some companies I know of see opportunity in moving certain legal work from Manhattan to the Midwest as a first step in lowering transactional costs.
I would suggest that law firms representing blue-chip companies (such as those mentioned above) watch this trend closely. When your clients are moving work offshore, they may ask how you are integrating global sourcing into the service mix.
The answer “Huh?” may not be a relationship-extending one.