The offshore centric enterprise can deliver enormous economic benefits to both developed and developing nations. The integration of the work force in developing countries into global systems of production is already raising living standards, improving working conditions, and creating more jobs in those countries. Small and medium-sized businesses everywhere, particularly, are benefiting: as new services— from back-office administration to sales support—create infrastructures once only affordable to large organizations, these businesses can now participate in the global economy.
Shifting to the offshore model also presents big challenges for leaders in every sector of society. The very fact that so many more people all over the world are gaining equal access to the production process and the marketplace means much more trade and competition. Although this will create wealth and opportunity, it will also bring disruption and fear, both of which could threaten global integration. Legitimate concerns about job loss and skill shortages must be addressed in realistic and constructive ways.
The single most important challenge in shifting to offshore model—and the consideration driving most business decisions today—will be securing a supply of high-value skills. Nations and companies alike must invest in better basic educational and training programs. New kinds of managerial skills are also needed. Hierarchical, command-and-control approaches simply do not work anymore. They impede information flows inside companies, hampering the fluid and collaborative nature of work today. This is a key consideration in modern day organizations.