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The trend toward leveraging an offshore (or nearshore) location from which to source IT and business services has become a permanent part of the IT landscape, particularly for larger enterprises.

What skills will differentiate IT professionals in this market? Talent to manage, motivate, and retain people is in short supply. The game has changed. Although labor cost arbitrage primarily drove companies to leverage offshore vendors or subsidiaries, the abilities to motivate people and manage projects are becoming the key differentiators between success and wasted time and money.

Globally oriented project managers who are suitably trained must lead each project. Dual-shore management means building the right competencies at both ends, conducting training to impart essential global project-management skills, and completing the necessary documentation and knowledge transfer to effectively transition and manage the sourcing work. Outsourcing companies and vendors must listen to one another, share results, and collaborate in the development of continual improvement plans.

Whether or not people agree with it, the dual-shore trend is here to stay. As experienced investors often say, don't fight the market. In the current environment, IT professionals need to figure out a career path that works for them. Dual-shore project management could be it.

Marcia Robinson is the Director of Global Sourcing for the Global Commercial Industries group at Unisys Corporation. She has worked extensively in call center management, IT outsourcing, and service process re-engineering. She coauthored the business bestseller e-Business: Roadmap for Success; as well as Offshore Outsourcing: Business Models, ROI and Best Practices; and most recently Global Outsourcing: Executing an Onshore, Nearshore or Offshore Strategy.

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