A directory of Canadian outsourcing companies published by Ottawa-based research firm Branham Group Inc. should help raise global awareness of the outsourcing capabilities available in this country.
Available at the end of February, the Directory of Outsourcing Companies and Capabilities in Canada is a compendium of around 250 companies offering outsourcing services, ranging from call centre to technical support.
Companies listed aren’t necessarily home-grown businesses, but do have locally-based facilities. There is a fee to being part of the Directory.
Branham Group’s director of sales, Peter Kuske, said he hopes the publication will raise the country’s profile and, specifically, make U.S.-based companies realize the breadth of services available here. “They don’t know who’s available to them. They don’t have a who’s who,” he said.
The Branham Group estimates the global market for outsourcing services to be greater than US$1.5 trillion.
The poor level of awareness around what Canada has to offer is largely a cultural issue, said Kuske, in that Canadians generally don’t trumpet their successes and abilities.
He sees the directory as falling within the scope of what he’s amicably coined the “bureau of unCanadian activities” – the chest thumping that Canada’s IT industry lacks due to an engrained “inferiority complex.”
Canada needs to consider its competitiveness and position in the globalized world, and this Directory will help polish that national brand, said Bernard Courtois, president & CEO of Ottawa-based Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC).
The country has very strong attractions in the area of outsourcing services, said Courtois, “but the biggest problem is that we’re not visible enough and that capacity is not top of mind enough in the world generally.”
Although the Canadian IT sector is beginning to pay attention to its international image, the fact that the country is relatively small in terms of population size means “we have to find ways of making ourselves more visible,” he said.
While currency issues may be a deterrent to U.S. companies looking for outsourcing services in Canada, Kuske said the wage arbitrage is a positive. He added that companies can take advantage of facilities and capabilities here without needing to go so far offshore.
Although international awareness may need some work, Kuske said the country has been pretty good at targeting the local market, with the financial services sector the “cash cow of the group”.
The Directory, in its first edition, will be available globally but will be promoted mainly within North America, with the majority of publications being distributed in that region.
Kuske said he hopes the raised awareness will reap a net benefit to the local economy, specifically around being able to say, a year from now, that introductions facilitated through the Directory led to outsourcing contracts. “I indeed think that we will be able to do that,” he said.
Another benefit, albeit ancillary, will be to help Canadian IT professionals find employment in their field, said Kuske.
“We see it as a nucleus for people in the industry, whether its call centre employees, over time they should be attracted to it,” he said, adding that the Branham 300 – that he said has become the “quintessential anthology” of local IT companies – started out with similar humble beginnings.
Courtois agreed that the Directory should help with the IT skills issue by illuminating to young people the fact that there are many more IT jobs than they think. “This [directory] will again show the attractiveness.”
Although an objective of the Directory is to raise awareness of Canadian capabilities, Kuske acknowledged the Branham Group also makes money acting as middleman between the buyer and seller in the outsourcing process.
The Directory will be distributed within North America through economic development agencies that in turn will make it available via local embassies and consulates. Government departments will also serve a similar role; and companies taking part in the Directory will each receive 500 copies. “It means there will be considerable viral and gorilla marketing coming out of it as well,” said Kuske.
A copy of the Directory can be obtained from any of these players, or by visiting www.branhamoutsourcing.com.