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Efficiency and offshoring within IBM

The Wall Street Journal had a story yesterday (subscription required) about an interesting program at IBM, called Professional Marketplace. It involves a database of some 22,000 employees within Big Blue's massive services wing, which is critical to the company's success. The concept, according to the article, is for IBM leaders to be able to find the right talent for client jobs more efficiently.

"Using Marketplace," the story reads, "IBM consultants working for customers can search through 100 job classifications and 10,000 skills, figuring out who inside IBM is available, where they are located and roughly how much it costs the company to use them."

There's an offshoring angle to this system, mind you. "By making it easy for consultants in the U.S. to pick and choose workers from around the world, Marketplace is helping lubricate the flow of technical jobs to lower-cost locales," the Journal story states. "While cutting back in Western Europe, IBM is hiring in such places as India, Brazil and Eastern Europe."

But IBM senior vice president Bob Moffat rejects the notion that all Big Blue's work will be sucked overseas through Marketplace, according to the story.

From the article:

"Mr. Moffat says the idea isn't to send every job to Bangalore, India. IBM's consulting customers, he says, still need and want people nearby to work through problems. The best route for IBM, he says, is to balance high-cost U.S. workers who have specialized skills and can work hands-on with a customer with lower cost workers around the globe who can perform basic tasks."