Scotland - the next big outsourcing hub?

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A new initiative may soon see Scotland rival Eastern Europe as the UK’s primary near-shore outsourcing destination..

Andrew Rigby, a lawyer who has specialised in IT and outsourcing contracts for nearly 20 years, set up the Outsourcing Hub Initiative six weeks ago.

The plan aims to encourage worldwide firms to outsource high-end business processes to Scotland rather than the low-end services typically contracted out overseas.

“Scotland has become famous for its call centres but this is the wrong end of the value chain to concentrate on,” said Rigby.

Rigby recently met with high-profile Scottish organisations to design ways English firms can be encouraged to outsource processes such as software development to Scotland, rather than locations such as India.

The organisations include the Trade Association for Technology in Scotland, the Scottish Development International, and the Chartered Institute for Bankers in Scotland.

Rigby has also been meeting with major consultancy firms and utility providers.

He said the initiative would mainly target outsourcing buyers in England, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and the US.

“Canada provides outsourcing services to the UK so there is no reason why the UK can’t provide outsourcing services to Canada,” he said.

Rigby said marketing of the initiative would focus on the financial services sector. He pointed to the success of JP Morgan’s centre of excellence for software and application development just outside Glasgow.

In response to doubts concerning Scotland’s ability to rival Eastern Europe, Rigby said: “Edinburgh does not rank sixth in the world for asset management for no reason.”

Rigby pointed to the large technology expertise Scotland holds, particularly the skills of its large pool of graduates.

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