A few years ago outsourcing call centres and operations offshore looked like a terminal threat, not just to the channel but to UK plc as a whole.
As well as firms cutting costs by moving call centres and contact centres to India, Sri Lanka and China, there was also a perceived threat of utilities such as IT programming and CRM operations becoming outsourced to faraway places, with a consequent loss of UK jobs and a danger to the economy.
But some have now suggested that this concern was unfounded. Despite the fact that headlines are still screaming out that UK jobs are being lost - at Norwich Union just last week, for example - this sector is still a relatively new one.
And in such a young industry, job growth is likely everywhere, not just offshore. It's just that little research was done to discover UK growth.
More recently, Datamonitor has predicted that Indian call centres represent only 1.5 per cent of the call centre seats contracted from the UK.
And research from Income Data Services has proven that this country is coping well with the competition from 'offshoring', with more than 58 per cent of UK call centres actually increasing their staff numbers and putting up wages.
One key reason for this is that nothing beats local expertise and knowledge. While a call centre in India may work out considerably cheaper than one in, say, Slough, the call may take longer to complete because of a lack of local expertise, and therefore cost more overall.
While offshoring might remain a swear word for some, many in the channel are brushing up on their geography and learning to take advantage of this local knowledge outside the UK.
By using offshore and nearshore alliances to actually expand their businesses, many UK VARs are gaining the opportunity to prosper in up-and-coming areas such as eastern Europe.
And the partnership isn't one-sided. Many smaller offshore players are looking for UK VARs to help them establish a local entry into the vital UK market.
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