Keep it Local: Why you shouldn’t offshore tech support in 2021

By Dianne Bunney - Head of Client Services
Keep it Local: Why you shouldn’t offshore tech support in 2021

Many Australian businesses use offshore staff for a variety of purposes. But there’s no doubt that one of the most common reasons, is to reduce costs. The price of labour in Australia is expensive, with the average hourly rate sitting at around $40 - $50, depending on the industry and skill level of the employee. You can expect to pay half this rate, maybe even less, should you offshore the work to somewhere like the Philippines.

As a business owner myself, I can definitely see the appeal of paying less for more. But does that really serve me and the community at large in the long run?

I’m no economist, but consider for a moment ‘leakage’ from the Australian financial ecosystem when we send work offshore. On the flipside, when we support local Australian businesses, employing local Australian staff and choose to spend money on locally based products and services, we’re supporting the local economy. We’re keeping Australian businesses in business, giving them the capacity to also put that money back into our economy. So, the benefits expand. Even more than that, around 97% of Australian businesses are small businesses. And when you spend money with a small business, you’re directly helping a local family up the road to send their daughter to ballet classes or their son on the school camp trip.

Supporting local is something, that in 2021, will be more important than ever. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say COVID-19 has shown us how vulnerable we can be now that the majority of our manufacturing is offshore and that as a country, we can’t source what we need, nor do we have trained people with the skills required to make it. I don’t know about you, but having to have such a heavy reliance on others to meet our basic manufacturing needs leaves me feeling exposed and uncomfortable. With so many products manufactured and supplied to us Aussies, how long will it take to regain the skills and the infrastructure to be more independent?  

Then there’s the conversation of quality. I’m not actually against offshoring services or buying things manufactured overseas. Let’s face it, some things are just better when they are made by other countries. I don’t want to buy my new Ferrari from anyone but the Italians.

But that’s exactly my point when it comes to offshoring the IT support for your business. Quality IT support can be found right here in Australia. Not only that, when you work with an Australian technology support partner, you’re protecting the security of the data that runs your business.

How many large banks and Telcos have had security breaches and made the decision to bring back their previously offshore call centres back to Australia, or at least split the resources both locally and overseas?

It might cost more to source support locally, but what would the ongoing cost to your business be if you experienced a breach? There truly is a false economy at work when we choose to outsource services to cheaper, but lower quality providers overseas.

I know we’re all guilty of buying imported goods on a weekly basis. And for the most part, there’s not a lot we can do about it. It’s taken years and years of moving manufacturing offshore to get us to this point and it’s not something we can change next week or even next year.

In an ideal world, we would all buy locally made products, from local businesses for a stronger economy. But all is not lost.

If each of us, both in our businesses and our lives do what we can (no matter how big or small), to support the local economy, especially in 2021, this will help make all Australians more resilient in the years ahead – with or without a pandemic.

And that’s what I’m humbly asking you to do. Wherever you can this year, support local. You might just be helping a little ballerina live her five-year-old dream.

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