Sometime back, I had a Twitter discussion where I was arguing that Cloud Computing could put a catastrophic dent on the Indian outsourcing industry. I felt that it is quite easy to automate some of the business processes on the clouds, eventually leading to businesses saving money without even resorting to the old fashioned outsourcing. Later, I came across an article about how the Indian outsourcing companies are finding it difficult to adapt to this new trend. In fact, a senior official at the Indian outsourcing giant Infosys even concurred with my thinking about the impact of cloud computing on Indian outsourcing industry.
Cloud computing is threatening the business model of the Indian IT
outsourcing industry as the global recession pushes business to cut
costs, according to the chief executive of Infosys.
He correctly understood the possibility of western giants like IBM, HP and Oracle chipping away business from them. Later I came across a news about Wipro coming out with their own Cloud Computing efforts. Well, I was not even sure if their offering, called as w-SaaS, is even a cloud offering in the strictest sense of the term. Anyhow, I was curious about seeing the response from the Indian outsourcing industry to the emerging trend of Cloud Computing. While I am yet to come across anything worthwhile from the outsourcing giants there, I came across an interesting little company called 8KMiles.
While the cloud pundits are busy fighting over whether we should have an outsourcing component to be part of the definition of cloud computing or not, 8KMiles had quietly tapped into Cloud Computing to build a platform offering outsourcing as a service. Unlike the big outsourcing giants in India, this company with offices in both US and India, is targeting SMB sector and helping them take advantage of the economics of cloud computing and real world IT outsourcing. This is an interesting twist to the outsourcing industry.
Their approach to the market is pretty simple. The Cloud Computing may automate many different tasks and help save enterprises huge amounts of money on the manpower. However, it is still difficult for small and medium sized companies to manage the cloud based services using the self service component of the Cloud. SMB sector still needs manpower but they also want to cut down on their expenditure. They could resort to middlemen like eLance or similar companies but they still have to find another provider for the computing resources. What 8KMiles is trying to do is to provide both a platform to find manpower and computing resources to get the work done by the hired talent. 8KMiles is not a typical outsourcing company which one can find in countries like India, China, etc.. Instead of offering manpower, they have built a marketplace for SMBs to find and hire talent and, then, tap into the cloud infrastructure to get the work done. I have come across many SMBs who still consider cloud computing to be beyond their scope because they have no idea how to put it to use for their needs. Companies like 8KMiles can help such people find low cost talent who can help them take advantage of this emerging technological trend.
The 8KMiles platform offers SMBs
- a secure cloud based Virtual Computing Environment (they use Amazon EC2 in the backend)
- a marketplace for hiring talent including support for certain degree of background check
- a project collaboration environment with fine grained controls
They offer service providers
- a platform to showcase their talent for potential customers
- an integrated infrastructure to carry out the client projects
The other interesting part about their platform is that an enterprising entrepreneur can hire talent, offer services to customers, find customers and use the infrastructure to get the project done, all within 8KMiles platform. Essentially, one can set up a global business online without any footprint in the real world.
8KMiles could offer such an Outsourcing as a Service platform without any capital expenditure only due to the economics of Cloud Computing. Their approach should serve as a great example to all the outsourcing providers on the advantages of using Cloud Computing in their service offerings. Many times in this blog, I have spoken about the disruptive nature of Cloud Computing and how it can level the playing field for a wide range of players. 8KMiles offers a compelling example for this, where a company could offer enterprise level computing services to SMB clients without any huge investment on their part. 8KMiles is a compelling story to highlight the disruptive nature of the Cloud Computing.