Looking for affordable talent? Consider sourcing from rural U.S.

Outsourcing your IT projects to a third party can be challenging, but the benefits can far outweigh the risks if you know what you’re getting into and are prepared to deal with some of the common pitfalls.

Most companies are familiar with the concept of outsourcing. A basic unit of work (a project) requires completion, and the best option for completing that project is to hire an outside contractor. In some cases, a company doesn’t have the necessary resources or skill set to complete the project in-house, or it’s more affordable to assign the project to an outside agency. It’s for these reasons that companies seeking help with IT projects typically look to outsource projects to India, where labor is cheap and skilled IT professionals are abundant. Unfortunately, many companies learn the hard way that you get what you pay for, and dealing with cheap IT talent in foreign countries can be fraught with a slew of management headaches, such as coordinating efforts in differing time zones, overcoming language barriers, and ensuring legal and tax requirements are met.

Rural sourcing in the U.S. aims to retain the benefits of providing businesses with outsourced, skilled IT professionals at an affordable price while also eliminating the woes of dealing with IT professionals in foreign countries. Highly skilled IT professions located within the U.S. in rural areas are available if you know where and how to look, and they charge hourly rates that are typically on par with workers in foreign countries. These rural areas are often located near college towns and thus consist of highly skilled college graduates who are experienced with remote IT work and charge a low hourly rate. Their rates are low because of the low cost of living in their rural areas, yet their abilities are on par with IT professionals in larger cities because of their quality university training.

In many ways, rurally sourced IT professions are a better choice over city-dwelling IT professionals because of their vast experience working remotely as a necessity of their location. Rural IT professionals rely heavily on good communications with their clients and are thus very responsive to emails and phone calls; they are able to easily utilize other communication technologies such Skype, Google Hangouts, and screen sharing tools such as Join.Me. This provides companies with an opportunity to employ highly available, highly skilled IT professionals who are native English speakers, registered with their state governments, able to provide necessary tax forms, and work in the same time zone as the businesses that employ them. Further, organizations exist that facilitate the search for these contracted professionals and even facilitate communications, invoicing and payments.

Businesses interested in rural U.S.-based sourcing should have a look at websites like ExtraNerds.comElance.com, and Freelancer.com. These services provide skilled IT professionals and simplify the process of outsourcing projects to U.S.-based IT professionals. Companies should be sure to have their project scope documented well and in as much detail as possible. This is true not just for rurally sourced projects but for any project being outsourced to a third party. Doing so will eliminate or at least minimize the amount of confusion between the business and the contractor over what the specific deliverables are. These finer points are what can kill a project, and it’s yet another reason why U.S.-based companies would do well to contract with native English speakers. When outsourcing any project, clear communications on project goals is vital. To eliminate as many obstacles as possible and maximize the likelihood of a successful project outcome, sourcing in the rural U.S. is a highly recommended option for many businesses.

Posted on January 14, 2015 and filed under Other.