Competitive horizon

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 21 March 2008



(2008), "Competitive horizon", Strategic Direction, Vol. 24 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Competitive horizon

Article Type: Competitive horizon From: Strategic Direction, Volume 24, Issue 4.

India remains first for IT outsourcing

Companies looking to outsource IT services to lower cost countries are still likely to choose India, a study carried out by Gartner has discovered. To measure suitability of prospective locations for IT services, the research firm used criteria that included language, infrastructure, government support, cost and education. Culture, labor pool, data security and legal system were among other factors considered. India’s continuing appeal is based primarily on its wealth of engineering talent and labor costs currently 80 percent lower than in the west. Gartner aimed to highlight appropriate offshore locations and the study revealed China, Russia and Brazil as gaining ground on the leader. Along with Singapore and India, China boasted strong government support for its offshore provision. However, the country was rated low on language skills. The study, as published by Turkish Press (, also reported that the ranking of nations such as Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines and Pakistan was tarnished by political and economic unrest. In all, 30 nations around the globe were deemed acceptable for IT outsourcing purposes.

Game for growth

A report published by Business Week ( claims that the current boom in China’s online gaming industry is set to continue for some time. In recent years, multiplayer online games have generated a 25 percent increase in annual revenue and analysts predict the country’s total gaming market may reach around $2 billion by the end of the decade. Companies share this optimism, particularly as market share for imported games is shrinking significantly within a climate where the number of available games is on the increase. Many Chinese companies are also now targeting the US. The study reports that growth potential in China remains huge, not least because fewer than 12 percent of consumers are thought to have reliable Internet access at present. Multiplayer gaming is easily the most popular and currently attracts up to 45 million participants. A minority play the simpler and more individual casual type of games. The popularity of the multiplayer format is believed by analysts to reflect the collective values inherent within Chinese culture and a lack of other entertainment choices. Another factor is cost. Many online games are free-to-play and even though consumers may opt for paid extras the experience remains much cheaper than the costs involved with a games console.

Go green for best 2008 opportunities

According to an article published by (, environmental welfare will provide the foundation for some of the most promising business ventures in 2008. Growing concern for the planet allows entrepreneurs the chance to replace existing products with alternatives deemed less harmful to the environment. Fabric grocery bags, metal water bottles and clothing manufactured with fair trade materials are among the goods likely to be in big demand. The report suggests that developing greener products or processes is one way to win consumer approval. Supply and distribution of eco-friendly merchandise through either or both store and online channels offers other alternatives. In addition, opportunities will be generated by the increasing drive on energy saving. Solar powered heating is one example and specialist installation of these and other solar operated appliances is another area of rich potential.

Which skills are most important?

Team working and interpersonal skills are the most valued workplace attributes, a survey of 500 UK business leaders has revealed. The ability to use initiative, analyze and solve problems is also ranked highly. A report published by the BBC ( revealed IT skills as only seventh most important behind verbal communication, personal planning and organizing, and flexibility. Given the pervasive nature of IT driven tasks, this was deemed surprising. Microsoft carried out the study and the software giant claims that the technology revolution of the last three decades has made computer skills essential at all workplace levels. The survey represents the latest part of a government initiative to address the skills gap in the UK economy.

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