E'town to India: Dare I say ... never say never?

L ast week I wrote about my skeptism when politicians come calling. This week, skeptism was replaced with disbelief when Mike Singh from Ahmedabad, India called requesting an in-person meeting, here in the financial center of Elizabethtown. Mr. Singh, with a distinct Indian accent, informed me he would be in town near the end of the month and would like show me how I can save between 50 to 60 percent of our production costs by moving the production process and perhaps other tasks "offshore."

Mr. Singh touts that comprehensive outsourcing drawn from their extensive global resources, with deep subject matter expertise and proven management experience, will create an efficiency of excellence for Denton Publications.

My initial rebuff doesn't deter Mike, as he points to the "Cloud" and goes more in depth with measurable metrics and engaged management. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with Mike as he piqued my interest on the specifics of what he was really offering.

In a nutshell, our local staff would gather the news and write articles, advertisements and all of the normal processes we go through each week to build content for the papers. Then at the end of the day, electronically, we send everything to India. When we come in the next morning, like magic, the creative work will be completely edited, designed, proofed, and ready to go into the paper. Mike's offshore team would design the final newspaper product before sending it back to us to print and distribute locally.

Now, I assume Mike doesn't know that we've been struggling to update some of our equipment and software recently. For those of you who don't operate a computer network, you just can't replace a few computers, because the newer computers don't work well with the older software, and once you replace one generation of software, you have replace the software for everyone on the network, which then goes back to replacing their computer, which in turn triggers other software and network components to be incompatible with the new software forcing you to upgrade those programs. Needless to say, you can go from spending a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars before you're done, and once you start, there is no going back. So I have to wonder if, after several frustrating weeks of green screens, font issues and computers not talking to each other, there are little "Spybots" buried deep in the software that send out calling cards to companies like Mike's that basically say, "We've softened them up, and they are ready for your call!"

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