Outsourcers eye market south of the border

A recent IDC Canada survey has found that the time is ripe for Canadian outsourcing companies to focus on the U.S. market, as statistics predict a shortage of eight to nine million IT workers globally by 2004.

Currently, about half of all global outsourcing dollars are spent south of the 49th parallel. The American market is also about two years ahead of the rest of the world, so it is a good time for Canadian companies to take advantage of a variety of factors that puts them at a distinct advantage when competing with outsourcers from India and Europe, experts said.

One of the most important factors is for Canadian companies to forge direct relations with American customers so price advantages can be passed on. “If they have to resell through a third party, conceivably it is not as compelling an offering for the customer on that side,” said Dan McLean, director of outsourcing and IT utility research for IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto. Often Canadian companies get their outsourcing contracts through an American intermediary, which in turn charges a substantial amount for its services. The end result is a cost to the purchaser similar to using an American outsourcing solution.

CGI Group Inc., the Montreal-based IT services firm, deals directly with its American clients said Andr