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Divorce As A Socio-Legal Process

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The family is a complex and dynamic institution in India. Families in India are undergoing vast changes like increasing divorce and separation rates, domestic violence, inter-generational conflicts, and social problems of the aged parents.

In contemporary research, divorce and re-marriage are viewed not as single, static events, but as part of a series of transitions, modifying the lives of children. In addition to the trauma of divorce itself, the transition related to divorce often involves geographic moves, the addition of step-siblings and a new set of extended family members.

Definition of divorce:

Divorce -partial or total – is the dissolution of a marriage by the judgment of a court. Partial dissolution is a divorce “from bed and board,” a decree of judicial separation, leaving the parties officially married while forbidding cohabitation. Total dissolution of the bonds of a valid marriage is what is now generally meant by divorce. It is to be distinguished from a decree of nullity of marriage, or annulment, which is a judicial finding that there never was a valid marriage.

According to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, ‘any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce’1 on the grounds mentioned therein.

Among the Hindus, who form a major religious group in India, marriage is considered as a permanent, life-long and sacred union. For a Hindu in general, a Hindu woman in particular, marriage is a sacrament and hence unbreakable. Divorce was fairly an unknown phenomenon among the Hindus before the passing of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act 1954. The amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act in 1976 is an improvement on the previous legislation relating to marriage and makes divorce easier. There are certain matrimonial offences, which entitle the aggrieved spouse to file for a divorce, available under the matrimonial laws. These are cruelty, adultery, and bigamy. Divorce by mutual consent is available under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 differentiates the concept of ‘divorce’ from such other concepts as separation2, desertion3 and annulment4. A divorce is that process by which a marriage, recognized as valid, can be revoked in the lifetime of the partners who then revert to single and is free to remarry.

But in reality, divorce is a major life transition that has far-reaching social, psychological, legal, personal, economic, and parental consequences. The nature of divorce as a socio-legal phenomenon is very interesting and enigmatic. The present study is an attempt to learn the persuasive power of the social factors in determining the status of a divorcee.

Literature Survey:

Numerous studies in the sociological literature in the west have examined and analyzed the phenomenon of divorce and its implications. In India, considerable research on divorce has been documented, albeit on lesser scale compared to the west. The main reasons for the limited number of empirical studies on divorce in India, are the lower divorce rates, and lack of adequate data [Amato, 1994]. It has been found that various studies related to marriage, family and divorce have been conducted at various periods of time. These studies, despite offering vital insights into the subject, circumscribed their scope to the demographic and causative factors of divorce; the “pre-divorce” stage, which a crucial determinant is of “divorce process”, has not received adequate attention.

Demographic data on divorce

As per Census 2001, eight per cent of the total married population [Two per cent of the total population] in Andhra Pradesh is divorced. Four per cent of female population in Hyderabad city is divorced. Besides, there is an increase in the number of divorced also. Total number of divorced population in the city of Hyderabad increased to 7433 in 2001 from 2850 in 1991. Nearly half of the total divorced population in the city of Hyderabad and also Andhra Pradesh belong to the age group of 25-39 years.

Research Questions:

The present study is an attempt to scrutinize the influence of social factors on the process of divorce. The present study proposes to consider the following research question:

It is generally assumed that there will be adverse and far reaching social and legal consequences of divorce, especially among the Hindu women, because the Hindus have been traditional in their outlook and marriage is considered as a sacred union among the Hindus. Is this statement relevant for the contemporary, urban, modern and westernized outlook about the status of women?

The Location Of The Study- Twin Cities Of Hyderabad And Secunderabad:

Greater Hyderabad Urban Agglomeration, including the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad alone accounts for 24 per cent of urban population in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The population of Hyderabad district has gone up from 3145939 in 1991 to 3829753 in 2001. Hyderabad, now nicknamed as “Cyberabad”, the capital city of the state of Andhra Pradesh is moving at a fast pace in the development of information technology and infrastructure.

Information technologies are drastically changing the way one conducts one’s activities. Yet, the social atmosphere in the state appears to be still feudal in outlook and practice. The median age at marriage at Hyderabad District, however, for female population is 15.3 years which is the fifth lowest in India and about 69% of females are married below 18 years.

Universe and Sampling:

The present study focused on divorce cases under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 decided and disposed of by the Legal Services Authority [Lok Adalats], and Family Court of Hyderabad as its universe.

A multi-stage sampling method is followed to select the sample. To begin with, the cases referred for divorce to the Family Court of Hyderabad by the City Civil Court Legal Services Authority are selected where the decree of divorce is granted by the Family Court of Hyderabad. A sample of 57 cases was selected by following the purposive sampling method. Once the cases are selected, the residence of the women-divorcees is taken into consideration to select the sample at the second stage. Data is collected from the women- divorcees residing at twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and the peri-urban zone surrounding the twin cities. A pre-tested interview schedule is used to elicit information from the respondents. Data on age, education, occupation, caste status, monthly income, details of marriage, details of marital disharmony, introduction of legal aspects of divorce and the personal experiences in this regard, post-divorce consequences as decided by the courts, life of the divorcee after divorce, and remarriage are collected by using the schedule. In-depth interviews also were made with selected respondents, family counselors, lawyers and the members of Judiciary dealing with divorce cases.

Socio-Economic Profile Of The Divorcee-Respondents:

The data is collected from 57 women respondents. Information pertaining to the socio-economic and cultural background of the spouses is important in as much as it could be related to their behavior pertaining to marital dissolution. In the analysis of data some of the socio-economic characteristics were taken as important variables in the process of divorce.

Age of the respondents is an important variable in the analysis of divorce. The largest group of the respondents (52.3%) belongs to the 26-35 years age group, followed by 42.3 per cent of the respondents falling in the 16-25 years age group. The data suggest that a majority of the marriages ends at young age.

Education is another important variable associated with divorce. In tune with the general perception that more number of divorces accompanies higher level of education of women, it is reported that women with higher education took recourse to divorce to end marital incompatibility. In Becker’s theory of the union formation process it is argued that highly educated men tend to marry highly educated women and less educated men tend to marry less educated women [Becker 1977]. Though a number of studies link high rates of divorce to higher level of education, the proposition in the-Indian context, is not irrefutable. Pothen [1986] was not certain whether education hinders or promotes the incidence of divorce among Hindus. She agreed that it is hard to predict the restraining or corrective influence of education on divorce. The present study shows that, even though the percentage of those with college education is sizeable [55.8%] the analysis of data implies that higher level of education is not always accompanied by divorce.

There is much relationship between occupation and marital and familial life. Burgess and Locke [1950; 634] observed that ‘various studies seem to show that divorce is relatively high among persons engaged in occupations necessitating frequent absence from home, involving intimate contacts with the opposite se, and controlled relatively little by the community’. The percentage of women respondents working at the time of marriage and after is very low. The most important factors hindering women to seek employment are community customs and traditions. In spite of giving importance to education of the girls, many parents, husbands and other male relatives will not permit their women to work.

Most of the respondents are housewives. Their sources of income include rents accrued from their landed property or interest on the fixed deposits deposited by them at Banks or Chit Funds and Private financial institutions. The number of respondents having monthly income more than Rs. 20,000 is negligible [8 per cent].

The present study is concerning divorce among the Hindus. Among the Hindus, there are innumerable castes and sub-castes with marital restrictions and varied cultural traditions. It is seen that the highest number [42.3%] of divorces is from Brahmin caste. The Brahmin respondents are from the sub-castes of Niyogi Brahmins [23], Vaidiki Brahmins [9], Kannada-Madhwa Brahmin [2], and Srivaishnava Brahmin [4]. Urban residences, higher educational qualifications, detachment from their ethnic groups are some of the facilitating factors of social mobility among them. Nearly sixty per cent of the divorces among them took place for incompatibility, inability to adjust and lack of understanding on the part of the other spouse. Naidu, Kamma, Viswa Brahmin, Mera, Kapu castes, which are described as middle level castes, come next [36.9%]. The lowest per cent [4.5%] of the divorcees are Kshatriyas.

Each caste follows different traditions and values in the Indian cultural milieu. Some castes permit divorce while others do not, irrespective of the fact that it is legally sanctioned under the marriage laws. Hence, in view of the cultural heterogeneity, the rate of divorce is likely to differ from one caste to the other. Sample of the present study shows that divorce is now permitted by all castes and the highest rate is found among Brahmins. But, in many cases couples might have separated from each other and might not have approached the courts for legal divorce. In this context, it cannot be hypothesized that divorce is resorted to more by higher caste members than by lower caste members.

PRE -DIVORCE SITUATION:

How Marriage Alliance Took Place?

In most of the families in India matrimonial alliances are formalized by the parents and their criteria in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed marriages are drastically different from that of the marriage partners themselves. Presently, ‘arranged by the parents- marriages’ can be considered as arranged-cum-love marriages. Matrimonial classifieds in newspapers or help of matrimonial associations are sought in arranged marriage when the family fails to find “suitable” spouses for their children.

Seventy three per cent of the marriage alliances in the present study were arranged. In majority of the cases, relatives are used as intermediaries. This shows the prevalence of arranged marriages. Taking help form the matrimonial associations seemed to be another popular method for the arrangement of marriage. Parents of the respondents approached matrimonial associations in 18.9 per cent cases in order to search for a good match. The role of matrimonial advertisements in bringing marriage alliance is very nominal [6.3 %].

The legal validity of marriage among the Hindus is determined by the performance of marriage rituals. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has secularized the Hindu law of marriage in all respects except in one aspect. However, there need not be any doubt about one ceremony, viz., the saptapadi which is absolutely indispensable for the performance of a Hindu marriage by the shastric rites.

Under Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, there exists a provision for registration of marriages. The state of Andhra Pradesh passed the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2002. The Supreme Court of India on February 15, 2006 ordered compulsory registration of marriages irrespective of religion. Despite the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2002, most of the marriages are not registered. Only 12 per cent of the marriages are registered. The registration of marriage was done in most of the cases when there emerged a need to have a proper certificate of marriage, particularly to apply for Visa.

Duration of marriage:

The first one or two years of marriage are extremely important in the life of any couple. Some marriages survive for a longer life but some are dissolved in the early years of marital life. The data clearly shows that mostly the happily-married time has been too short and those who had some years of happily-married life are very small in number.

Age At Marriage:

Researchers consistently find age at marriage to be one of the strongest predictors of marital disruption and divorce. The present study reveals that young age at marriage in conjunction with lack of the capacity to avoid bickering in the marital life resulted in divorce.

Causes Of Divorce:

As legal dissolution of marriage, divorce is primarily a legal phenomenon. Family laws of any country formulate law for divorce in which grounds are stipulated under which divorce may be availed of. These legal grounds are not just isolated legal causes, but they do signify the socio-cultural view point also. Therefore, when we deal with the causes of divorce, we have to keep in mind the legal and sociological viewpoints.

A major factor likely to affect the level of divorce in a society is the commitment that others outside the marriage have to its continuation. If marriage is defined as private, of concern principally to the married couple and having little external impact, divorce is likely to be more readily available.

The present study analyses the causes of divorce at the individual level. Hence data on how disharmony in the marital life of the respondents began is collected. The data reveals that majority of the respondents consider marriage as an intense, personal and private relationship. In a sense marital life of the respondents’ caught in something of a pincer movement. On the one side, the more that is expected of marriage and the heavier the burden of hopes and emotions it has to carry, the less likely it is to be found satisfactory. On the other side, again because marriage is essentially concerned with personal happiness and fulfillment, the ‘support’ it receives from outside diminishes. There is less pressure for a couple, largely in urban society, to stay together because their break-up has little impact outside the domestic sphere and causes fewer ripples than it would in a traditional Hindu society.

Further important ‘structural’ factor related to the increasing divorce rate is the changed social position of married women in our society. Though men’s and women’s lives continue to be structured unequally, the social and economic opportunities now open to women are certainly greater than they were five decades ago. To this extent marriage ‘traps’ women rather less than it once did. In particular, the opportunities there are for employment or, failing this, the availability of supplementary benefit makes separation and divorce a more realistic option than previously.

One further factor affecting the level of divorce is the legitimacy accorded it in a society. As more and more people have some experience of divorce, either at first hand or through someone close to them being divorced, the less opprobrium it carries. In this way, divorce has become a more normal and less remarkable life event-one to regret rather than condemn. As a result, there is now less pressure put on couples who are having marital problems to stay together. They are likely to see divorce as a reasonable solution if the marriage is in sufficient trouble rather than something to be resisted at any cost. The point here, of course, is that what is defined as ‘sufficient trouble’ to warrant divorce itself changes as divorce becomes more common. Though divorce is still traumatic and not entered into lightly, what was once held to be tolerable within a marriage may now be seen as sufficient reason for divorce.

The way in which divorce is thought to affect children provides an interesting indication of our social imagery of divorce. Presently divorce is still seen as harmful to children; however popular wisdom accepts that living with parents who are in continual conflict with each other can be even more damaging. Far better, it is now believed, for the parents to separate so that the child can be provided with a less tempestuous and more emotionally stable home life.

Basing on the complaints of divorced women, Goode [1956] formulated twelve themes that include non-support, drinking, incongruent values, and disagreement over authority, extra marital sex and neglect of home. The most frequently mentioned marital problems are communication difficulties, general incompatibility, not spending enough time at home, infidelity and disagreement over money matters [Cleek & Pearson, 1985; Kitson, 1992]. Attribution theory [Fiske and Taylor, 1992] suggests that people because of self-serving biases attribute problems to external rather than internal causes. Going by this theory the spouse is less likely to report marital problems caused by herself or himself. Amato and Rogers [1997] categorized the causes of marital dissolution as distal and proximal. Distal causes include age at marriage, education, race, wife’s employment, income etc. whereas proximal causes are anger, jealousy, dominance, infidelity, extravagance, substance use etc.

The present study collected data on factors which lead to marital disharmony. These factors are grouped into:

o Lack of understanding between the spouses

o Demand for dowry from the husband, and his parents

o Incompatibility

o Overwork [where both the spouses are involved, consequently not finding time to spend together]

o Involvement of parents of the spouses in all and sundry matters of the marital life of the spouses.

o Domestic violence.

The cause ‘lack of understanding’ describes the marital bickering resulted due to many factors. One such factor is change in the wife’s income and her educational attainment after marriage. Further education may be a stressor in marital life itself, but the relationship might also be due to reverse causation: Anticipating divorce in a low quality marriage may provide an incentive to obtain further education as a preparation for single life. Three of the wife-respondents felt that their insistence on continuing education even after marriage created friction in their marital life.

Gender role Attitudes and Division of Household work:

The women’s movement and increased numbers of dual-career couples have led to shifts in gender role attitudes–in other words, what a husband and wife expect from themselves and each other in their marital relationship roles. Traditional notions that a wife is expected to remain at home and take care of the house, children, and family, while the husband is expected to be the breadwinner and “head of the household,” have begun to decrease and more egalitarian notions (men and women are equal in all domains) have increased among both men and women Not only have gender role attitudes changed, but, concurrently, division of household work has also shifted. Although marital behaviors today are more egalitarian, wives are not satisfied. Why are women less happy in their marriages? One explanation may stem from the fact that an ideology of marital equality does not necessarily translate into an outcome of marital equality.

Sex-Role Perceptions of the Spouses:

Sex-role perceptions and attitudes towards working women are influenced by the cultural norms of gender equality which determine the position of women in society and their educational and economic status. In India, cultural norms favor women mainly in their domestic and marital roles [Rao and Rao, 1988]. If they work, they are regarded merely as secondary or supportive earners. Women’s employment does not alter sex – role perceptions mainly because of the prevailing culturally defined gender based norms. The present study reveals that sex-role perceptions of the respondents mostly dependent on cultural norms.

Husband -Wife Interactions:

There is variation in cultural ideas about proper husband-wife relations among the respondents. Moving from village to city is an important experience that allows people to assess cultural beliefs. The migration of the respondents after their marriage has created some confusion regarding husband-wife interactions.

Incompatibility:

One of the more puzzling aspects of marital crisis involves the issues of compatibility. At individual level, marriage is the bonding of man and woman on the deepest levels of life; and compatibility is vital for the union to succeed. One fourth of the respondents took incompatibility as a cause for their divorce.

Demands For Dowry:

Although dowry demands have been outlawed by the Indian government, these laws are seldom enforced and the practice of dowry is still widespread [VazL, Kanekar S., 1990]. Despite their condemnation of dowry, most women respondents seemed resigned to it, as they believed it affords young women an important degree of social legitimacy and security. For most respondents, managing a daughter’s marriage negotiations was an agonizing process fraught with tension and fear.13 per cent of the respondents said that the reason for the marital disharmony is demand for more dowries.

Overwork:

Five per cent of the respondents felt that there was hardly any time available for them to spend together with their spouse prior to their divorce. Where both spouses are working in BPO sector, because of the timings of their work they find that they overworked and do not have any strength to share communication regarding their marital life.

Involvement Of The Parents Of The Spouses:

Educated couples insist that they would like to have their privacy particularly in their marital life. They feel that intervention of even their parents is not acceptable. When parents or parents-in-law try to convince them in marital matters they decide to break the relationship rather than coping with it. 11 per cent of the respondents said that they could not solve their marital discord due to the involvement of their parents.

Domestic Violence:

Traditional rigid gender roles are one such cultural norm within various areas of India that may increase the likelihood of violence against women. These roles are defined in such a manner that sons are more likely than daughters to be of benefit to their parents, both financially and in other ways. Most of the respondents suffered domestic violence during their married life and expressed that domestic violence determined their decision to go for a divorce.

Causes of divorce can be quite complex and complicated. There is usually not one simple factor that causes the dissolution of a marriage. Family legal experts cite the following factors as major causes of divorce: poor communication, financial problems, lack of commitment, dramatic changes in priorities, and infidelity. Causes of divorce may also include physical, mental or emotional abuse, substance abuse, and lack of conflict resolution skills, unmet needs, failed expectations, and significant discrepancies in parenting.

Divorce As Legal Process:

The present study found that, divorce by mutual consent is mostly used ground for seeking divorce.

Sometimes a trivial cause may lead to divorce. One of the respondents filed a case for divorce when her mother-in-law stated her wish to stay along with the couple. Another respondent refused to meet her husband as her consent for the marriage was not obtained by the elders before fixing the marriage. Since such trivial causes may not stand legal scrutiny, lawyers advise their client to file a case on mutual consent.

Considering Divorce As A Possibility:

Once it is decided by the respondent that he/she can no longer continue their marital life, they usually take the final decision. The process of divorce moves at a pace commensurate to each person’s ability to adapt to the physical, financial and emotional changes that divorce demands. Some people move quickly through these stages, others need more time to accomplish the tasks involved in a stage and to assimilate the information and the emotional experiences the stage encompasses.

Making the decision to divorce is the first step in the divorce process, and it is a complicated step. Once a person has made the decision to end their relationship, their next task is to tell their spouse they want to end the marriage. Most of the respondents took help from either their parents or friends to tell their spouse that they want to end the marriage. These discussions were not limited to the disclosure of their decision to end their marriage but also include a collaborative effort to redistribute the property, custody of children, prospects of remarriage and other related matters. All the respondents took an advice before seeking legal advice from the lawyers and filing a petition for divorce. More than half of the respondents took advice from their family members before filing a petition for divorce. Nearly twenty two per cent of the respondents shared their marital life-experiences with their friends and followed their counsel. 20.7 per cent of the respondents approached the caste elders seeking advice. Caste elders are still playing an important role in resolving matters related to family. The present study observed that some of the middle level castes are giving importance to the caste elders. Caste elders usually act as a quasi- judicial body in deciding domestic matters. Sometimes, they take the initiative to approach the court of record on behalf of a person.

Nonetheless, the present study found that empowered women are initiating the new wave of divorce petitions. They are not keen to fight the battle as victims of marriage under statutes; rather they prefer to settle things mutually on the basis of equality. The reasons are temperamental differences, financial issues and family interferences.

The present study indicates that in vast majority of the cases, it took up to two years to get the case finally decided. The prolongation of the case of some respondents was mainly due to the fact the spouses concerned were indifferent. The period of trial of divorce case was difficult for most of the respondents, especially women. Some of the typical situations experienced by the respondents include: anxiety about the future, disturbance in the home set-up, training, education and discipline of children, social stigma, non-satisfaction of sexual needs, economic non-support. The incidence of cohabitation during the pendency of the case was inquired into. It was found that majority of the respondents were already separated then the trial started. In few cases respondents had already got remarried and started cohabiting with the new spouse though it was illegal.

Custody Of Children:

One of the most pressing concerns in regard to divorce is the custody of children. The question of custody of children has been dealt with in Section 26 of the Hindu Marriage Act. In making an order in respect of the custody of child, the welfare of the children is the paramount consideration, not the rights of the parents. The respondents having children are not many. 28 percent of the respondents are having children. Of these most of the respondents are having only one child. Majority of the children are living with either with their mothers or parents of mother. It is found that not having children makes divorce easier.

POST-DIVORCE EXPERIENCES:

The present analysis observed that majority of the respondents went to their parents and trying to fill the gap in their lives by taking work more seriously or going in for higher studies. It is found that presently divorce is viewed by the divorcees as a mechanism which provides freedom from tensions and opportunities for career development.

Remarriage:

Conceptually it is useful to think of marital dissolution and remarriage as the component parts of a process that takes people back and forth between being married and not being married. There are two states [married and unmarried], and dissolution is the process or event that transfers people from being married to being unmarried while remarriage takes people in the opposite direction. Marriages end at the time of divorce.

Conclusion:

‘Divorce’, according to Lipman-Blumen [1977] is a life crisis which society does not promote, as a result of which social rituals marking divorce are largely absent. Blumen [1977] attributed the painful experience of divorcing to lack of institutionalized support for divorce, in the form of social rituals. Therefore it is recommended that some kind of mechanism in the form of social ritual to mark the transition from married to divorced status has to be evolved, in order to make the experience of divorce bearable for both the spouses, especially wife.

It is also recommended to start divorce counseling on a large scale to help the divorcing and the divorced overcome the stress and cope with the future situation.

Since the study is specific to the population, the findings cannot be generalized. The small size of the sample may not succeed in relating the study to the larger context. In view of globalization process of which disinvestment and privatization are corollaries, large scale retrenchments, cuts in subsidies, and shrinking social security are foreseen. In this backdrop the alienation process will gain momentum which will result in family life disruption. Therefore, it is suggested that further studies on divorce should take cognizance of the changed situation.

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oDesk Outsourcing

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There are many things I don’t like doing in a general work week and they normally entail processing of some kind, whether that be emails, reports or papers generated by meetings. Then there are the things that I’m not as good at (hard to believe huh?) which sometimes slide off the radar or are not done as regularly as they should be. Not having done any of the above, it hopefully gives me maximum time to concentrate on the important tasks, which are, you get the gist.

The long lost typing pool along with secretaries and Girl Fridays have long since gone to that great wood paneled office in the sky. Today’s executives answer their own mail, email, put together presentations and reports and spend time processing their life away. Instead of thinking, innovating and running companies, management executives spend inordinate amounts online processing documents, answering everyone’s emails and generally being distracted.

So do we bring back the typing pool? As tantalising as that may sound, it would be easier to start outsourcing some processing and services to get us back to concentrating on the big picture.

Micro outsourcing or liquid labour exchanges allow users to tender online for services from software engineering to plumbing. From the smallest job at the local business level to large corporations, outsourcing is seeing a new revival. Far from the jeered at call centres of India we are now able to source services and innovations from a global village where the local blacksmith has been replaced by the IT technologist from Uzbekistan.

oDesk (should I be asking for money?) which was founded by Odysseus Tsatalos in 2006 links more than 600 service providers in an online marketplace aimed at software and technology. They ask the simple questions of how to get more done with less, how to find talent and how to pay a remote team, while aiming their site at technology people looking for help with their work and also looking for technology people who want work. Other sites such as Freelancer.com.au which is the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace for small business has the facility to help you with technology, software, writing, computing, design, business, HR and many other services that could make your day a breeze.

Providing work for the most rapidly expanding technology countries keeps costs to a minimum and if you have access to the internet, then you have access to an unlimited workforce globally.

So I’m waiting on the first travel company to outsource its non revenue processes. How long did it take to put together that 20 stop round the world itinerary with cruise and coach for Mr. Smith? You have to ask yourself the question, when am I selling and when am I processing, because you only make money when selling. What about a travel auction site where customers can put together their trip ideas and then send it out to be serviced by the best price or most innovative response?

The sourcing of services and people is nothing new but the internet opens up the world for you to work with. With only one third of the world’s population online, think of the demand to come as billions more look for services provided or provide them. Think about it, maybe you already have a service to offer but need a larger market to make it viable. Think about joining sites like Servicedesk.com or Freelancer.com.au to find a whole new world of clients or better still, get that report written and tabulated for $12.50 and go for a surf.

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The Major Reasons For Outsourcing

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According to a poll taken worldwide, the IT companies come in the first position defeating every other type of business in outsourcing. Also many reports in the Computer weekly magazine state that outsourcing increases at the rate of 5.9 percent per annum in IT companies and is still increasing. This is the scenario in each and every IT company and not just in some definite one. This has left many youngsters who are thinking of pursuing a career in this field wondering what exactly the reasons behind outsourcing are and also that does it happen frequently. Hence this article gives all kinds of information necessary for everyone to understand the true nature of outsourcing that goes on in big and famous IT companies as well as small-time IT companies.

1) The expenditure: On the basis of a survey study on IT companies, it is a fact that an average IT manager earns around fifty thousand dollars per year. However it cannot be guaranteed that all of this huge amount of money will be paid to the managers. There are innumerable factors to be considered while deciding on the salary of the manager or for the same reason, any other post. The recruitment expanding trade, additional advantages of the company and other updates require a lot of money and this money is deduced from the staff member’s salary. Many IT companies go into loss as they fall short of funds and are unable to recover them back even by outsourcing majority of their staff.

2) Lack of training experts: The IT managers who recruit new people for their company do so; on the basis of their graduation marks and other extra factors. However all of the new recruits need to be trained efficiently in the tricks and trade of the Information technology business. It is definitely not an easy job as the pay is quite high. The small-time IT companies do not get adequate jobs and as a result the profit received is very less. That is why staff members are no paid their bonuses or sometimes even salary on time. After some time they are fired from their jobs as the company needs to save money in order to run smoothly.

3) Improper usage of IT companies: If a company does not seek help from an IT company, it may save some amount of money on a yearly basis but lose much more on the other hand. IT Companies help the companies by preparing different programs and systems which in turn makes it easier for the financial section of the company to run their faculty without too many complications. This was not noticed by many big and global companies until a few handfuls of years ago. That is why though the IT sector was blooming in full force, only the big IT sectors flourished and the rest of them went into losses which ultimately resulted into outsourcing.

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Fixed Cost Outsourcing

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In today’s globalized business environment, outsourcing is the order of the day. It is very difficult to think of a business that outsources its end to end requirements. One of the most respected and used model is ‘fixed cost outsourcing’. In this model, the project is executed within a fixed timeframe and within a pre-negotiated price. Both the parties carry out a detailed project study before the budget and the deadline are set. Both the clients and service providers prefer this model due to the transparency involved. There is very little room for renegotiation in this model.

Once you plan to outsource your project to an offshore development center, you will be offered a quote along with a project completion date. This will take into account the amount of work your project requires, its complexity and your urgency regarding delivery. You can sign the document once happy with the cost and delivery of your custom development project. It is always good to ask quotes from multiple firms before zeroing in on one as you are likely to get the best deal.

India has emerged as the global hub for outsourcing. No matter whether it is software, websites or mobile apps you can get it all developed in India cost effectively. Most Indian outsourcing firms offer you great packages under the fixed cost outsourcing model. These packages are carefully made to suit each and every requirement and each and every budget. This model is very helpful if you are thinking of a project right from scratch.

Advantages of Fixed Cost Outsourcing Model

  • It offers huge cost advantage to the clients especially in case of large scale projects. You will have the services of dedicated designers and developers unlike part-time hiring where your resource deals with multiple clients at a time.
  • It limits the risk to the client. As the budget of the project is pre-negotiated there are no questions like cost escalation. This is beneficial for most small and medium businesses as even a marginal cost escalation can have serious impact on their financial health.
  • Since this model is based on detailed project study, you will get quality as per the desired standards. You can interview the developers for your project and get the best that a firm can offer.
  • You will be able to focus on the core area of your business and not have to continuously negotiate with the offshore development firms. You will be supplied with a weekly status reports by the firm though.
  • One of the most attractive elements in this model of outsourcing is on-time delivery. In many cases, penalties are attached for the offshore development firm in case they miss out on the deadline, so events of delay don’t occur.

To get your own project delivered on Fixed Cost Outsourcing Model, visit http://www.evontech.com/what-we-do.html.

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The Disadvantages and Trade Offs of Outsourcing

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In this second part of a three part series, Analysts will address the disadvantages and trade offs to outsourcing to answer often asked question: “What are the pros and cons of outsourcing and shared services?”

In part one of the series, it was stressed that the company needs to assess the reasons for a new sourcing strategy and take a “one size fits one” approach to meet their unique needs.

Considerations should include:

  • Scope
  • Functions
  • Provider/model preference
  • Financial drivers

Three delivery models to consider:

  • Outsourcing
  • Captive shared services
  • Build, operate & transfer (BOT) shared services

Advantages of outsourcing cited in part one:

  • Process
    1. Greater standardization
    2. High degree of process maturity
    3. Ease and speed of ramp-up and/or ramp-down
    4. More efficient staffing
  • Performance
    1. Greater accountability
    2. Service performance
    3. Performance measurements
    4. Leverage experience
    5. Access to world-class innovation
    6. Cross functional integration
  • Cost
    1. Accelerates savings
    2. Cost structure transformation
    3. Supporting technology
    4. Benefits realization – now and later

Outsourcing can make for a strong business case for many companies. The unique attributes of the organization and business objectives may point to a different strategic approach as “one size fits one”.

The Disadvantages and Trade Offs of Outsourcing:

Area: Process

Con: Control What Does Outsourcing Bring: Less direct control of the day-to-day process

Con: Need for new management skills What Does Outsourcing Bring: Management attention shifts from managing the process to managing the relationship via a new Governance structure. This is usually a ‘hick-up’ spot, and consumes much more time than anticipated to manage the relationship on all levels and ensure smooth communication between the layers from operational through tactical to strategic and back.

Con: Need for new management skills What Does Outsourcing Bring: The skills required to manage an outsourcing provider are very different than managing an internal resource. Many organizations underestimate the resources needed to successfully manage an outsource relationship, and do not seek external advise in developing.

Con: Long-term commitment What Does Outsourcing Bring: The long-term nature of outsourcing contracts means you are locked in for a long time, precluding unforeseen “better” solutions later on. . The requirements for “change” in the business and future delivery process improvements need to be clarified, negotiated and agreed upfront with the provider.

Con: Hard to exit What Does Outsourcing Bring: Outsourcing contracts can be difficult to exit (penalties, etc.), and transitioning at the end of contract to in-sourcing or another service provider may not be easy.

Area: Performance

Con: Impediments to change What Does Outsourcing Bring: Time to fix poor performance may take weeks or months instead of hours or days as provider typically has a set “time to cure” performance issues which may be beyond the patience of the end user.

Con: Decrease in internal talent pool What Does Outsourcing Bring: The ability to foster and grow leadership talent from within decreases as leadership roles in certain functions are outsourced.

Con: Loss of intellectual property What Does Outsourcing Bring: Risk of losing all internal capability and “tribal knowledge” in the process. Provider’s uunderstanding of institutional knowledge, internal relationships, and the business culture can take time.

Con: Loss of connection between departments What Does Outsourcing Bring: Raised perception of “loss of control” as multiple functions exit the organization, and handoffs between departments get “fumbled.”

Area: Cost

Con: “Cost Creep” What Does Outsourcing Bring: Risk for unforeseen add-on costs for ad-hoc projects and activities, if contract does not have a clear definition of what services are in scope, and how “new” services would be managed/priced.

Con: Penalties for volume changes What Does Outsourcing Bring: Higher cost/transaction (e.g., F&A) for decreasing transactional volumes – again during contracting volume change bands need to be agreed, and client needs to understand the minimum volume profitability threshold for the provider

Con: Redundancy costs What Does Outsourcing Bring: Redundancy of technology costs can sometimes exist between the company and service provider, potentially raising the overall technology support costs.

Con: Inflated retained organization What Does Outsourcing Bring: The retained organization needs to change to realize the benefits. Requires re-skilling (as above) and monitoring to ensure the new way of operating is implemented and lived by.

Utilizing the “one size fits one” approach based on a proven sourcing methodology will lead the company to a well-constructed business case. The goal is to facilitate a true partnership model based upon equality with both parties understanding the requirements, responsibilities and benefits to be gained for both organizations throughout the engagement.

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Understanding Rodan & Fields: Can You Really Make Money With Rodan & Fields?

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Rodan & Fields were founded by Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields in 2002. They focus their company and products around dermatology-based products and bringing quality skincare options to the world. In 2010, they were named Rising Star by the Direct Selling Association (DSA) for their business opportunity along with their skincare products.

The Thing:

As mentioned before, Rodan & Fields offers skincare products to fight the loss of skin firmness, reverse the effects of dullness and discoloration, to fight acne and post-acne marks, to soothe the skin with lotion type products, make-up related products to enhance the skin and beauty of individuals, and anti-aging products to give persons a younger-look. Their products redefine, reverse, unblemish, soothe, promote, and enhance the skin.

  1. Soothe Regimen – They offer 4 full size cream wash products for $160.00 designed to soothe dry, irritated, sensitive skin providing a healthy-looking skin complexion.
  2. Redefine Regimen – This product also is offered as 4 full size restorative cream washes. You can get this for yourself for $193.00 and it is designed to help your skin become firmer and smoother while fighting the aging process.
  3. Unblemish Regimen – Once again, 4 full size treatment washes selling for $171.00. This package is designed to combat the entire acne cycle, unclog pores, clear acne blemishes, and clear your face of blackheads.

The Opportunity:

In addition to the skincare products, Rodan & Fields offers a business or income opportunity for those that have an interest in marketing their company or products. The big question remains, can you really make money with their business opportunity? In order to discover the answer to that question we must look into the company’s compensation plan! Rodan & Fields offers 5 total ways in which you could possibly make an income stream marketing their products or company.

  1. Retail Profit – As a Consultant for Rodan & Fields you are able to generated income from the products in which you personal sell. You can purchase the product yourself for a discounted price and then you sell the product for the retail price. After the sell, you keep the remainder as profit. If the retail price is $193.00, you will be able to purchase the product for $145.00. After making the sale, you keep $48.00.
  2. Consultant Commissions – In order to achieve this payout, you have to be an active Consultant. You must have a minimum of 100 Sales Volume (SV) each Commission Period to become and remain active. You are able to earn 10% commission from your Level 1 consultants in which you have personally sponsored.
  3. Personal Team Commissions – In order to receive this payout you must have a minimum of 600 Personally Sponsored Qualifying Volume (PSQV) each Commission Period. After you have achieved the required amount of PSQV you are then able to earn 5% of all Commissionable Volume generated by the Consultants and Customers in your Personal Team.
  4. Generation Commissions – Once you have achieved all payouts mentioned before, you are able to help an individual that you have personally sponsored move up as well to their third payouts type (Personal Team Commissions). Once you have done this, the Consultant you personally sponsored and helped has his/her personal team moved to what is called your “Generation 1”. You are then able to earn 5% commission on all your Generation 1 personal volumes. This payout continues as you grow more Generations.
  5. Performance Bonuses – This payout is only eligible to those living in the United States of America. You will be able to have the chance to earn rewards or bonuses from high performance such as residual income or the possibility of earning a paid-for vehicle. This payout is somewhat like a performance lottery.

To Conclude, Yes, You Can Make Money With Rodan & Fields Business Opportunity!

The Cost:

By becoming involved or affiliated with Rodan & Fields business opportunity, you must understand that you are opening a business for yourself. All businesses require some type of capital to begin. The good thing about opening a business like this in comparison to a traditional business is they are generally cheaper and you are working for yourself usually at home, hence Home-Based Business. So, what is the cost to get affiliated with Rodan & Fields and begin making an income stream from their business opportunity? There are 4 total ways in which you can get started with Rodan & Fields business opportunity.

  1. Express Business Kit – $995.00. This kit comes with all 4 Regimens overall valued to around $1,800.00 in addition to a business portfolio, anti-age before and after posters, product catalogs, and many other things to help you get started and making money immediately.
  2. Big Business Launch Kit – $695.00. Containing all 4 Regimens overall valued to $1,300.00 in addition to the same things offered in the Express kit, but much less.
  3. Personal Results Kit – $395.00. All 4 Regimens valued at $500.00. The same things are included in this kit as the Express and Big Business Launch kit, but once again, much less!
  4. Business Portfolio – $45.00. You are able to get the Business Portfolio included with all the previous 3 Kits mentioned before in addition to products, catalogs, worksheets, and many more. However, this is the lowest costing option available to get started with Rodan & Fields opportunity. All this kit basically contains is in-depth information about the company itself. It is then your decision to progress further and purchase products provided you enjoyed the information and think that it is for you.

Final Thoughts:

The prices for the products are pretty expensive and they don’t offer many that combat wrinkles, but they do combat the aging process which is nice but not the same thing. They also offer a business or income opportunity for those that would like to market their products or company and make money. Yes, you definitely can make money by becoming involved or affiliated with Rodan & Fields and they include 5 different types of payouts. However, in order to actually achieve these payouts you have to do quite a bit of work and achieve a certain Volume in addition to a certain rank. If you do not achieve these ranks, you will not make money. Plus, there isn’t a lot of detail into what the products do exactly, you kind of have to search around to figure out what they do and when you find out, it still remains pretty broad.

*Dustin Hale is NOT affiliated with Rodan & Fields or their business/income opportunity

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Advantages of Outsourcing Photoshop Image Editing

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Photo Editing and enhancement is one of the most important parts of any post processing unit. How and why they are necessary is a question that rises on multiple occasions? The answer to the question is quite simple! Any photographer regardless of his ability in the field of photography will need a backup as situations of various kinds may befall him. In some cases they go beyond board and photographer cannot get a proper shot of the object in contention. A large volume of people who click photos on a daily basis will want to display them without any enhancement but another small volume of people will enhance their images using Photoshop to add or remove elements, change color or make any other difference. Albeit it being too difficult to work on Photoshop as it is, people have eased themselves to the thought of getting the perfect images after post processing.

Although most of Photoshop might look pretty straight forward, it is quite difficult to learn all the tricks that is implemented using the tools available in it. Numerous tools are available on Photoshop, each of which is available for a particular job. For example, the pen tool is used to clip around an object to remove it from its original background and use it in a different one. Photoshop’s Lasso Tool is probably the easiest of the selection tools to use, allowing us to draw freehand selections around objects in a photo as if we were outlining them on paper with a pen or pencil. Image Post processing includes Clipping Path, Image Masking, Image retouching and enhancement and more. Photoshop also provides tools to carry out Image stitching which in-turn helps in making Panorama Images, it provides tools to convert Black and White images to color, image restoration, etc.

Wedding Photo enhancement, Wildlife photo enhancement and Real Estate Photo Enhancement are some of the major purposes of Photoshop. These fields need implementation of all the basic post processing techniques and also need special tools to bring out a reputation in terms of what the photographers expect. In concern with these 3 fields, the flow of images is pretty high and throughout the year and therefore requires a team of experts to work on these images. Speaking about experts being in one place and working 24/7, several firms are setup across the globe for such purposes. These firms hire professional editors who pay handsomely for their hard work and dedication. The task is to find a firm that can not only give image outcomes with literally 100% accuracy and at affordable rates.

Photoshop is widely used by firms to work on images as editors find it easy to work around any images and get the desired outcome. It is quite hard to master Photoshop and so it would be easier for professional photographers to just outsource the images to a firm. By doing so, he not only lifts pressure off his shoulders but also has more time to improve his core business and to spend more time with his family and friends.

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How to Make Money Online by Creating and Selling Short Reports

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How to Make Money Online With Short Reports

Writing short reports and selling them for a low price is one of the most powerful ways of making money online fast. In this post we will see how to write a short report and set it on autopilot so that it makes money 24×7.

What to Write About?

Look around you. What inspires you the most? What are your passions, how do you spend most of your time, is it reading? fishing? cooking?

Are you an expert in anything? Do people ask you for suggestions about something? There are literally thousands of ways to find inspiration, if you want to!

A great way to write a report that sells is by concentrating on something that focuses on relieving pain or solving a problem, that kind of stuff.

But before you get all excited and start creating a report, just make sure that the topic you are going to write about is in demand. One way to do that is by using a keyword tool. There is a free keyword tool out there which is more than enough for this purpose. The tool is Google Keyword Planner. Using this tool you can easily estimate the number of people searching for a particular topic and keyword each month. If you want more professional insight and want to find highly profitable keyword ideas go for paid tools like LongTailPro or Market Samurai. LongTailPro is a professional keyword tool which gives you keyword ideas and its profitability scores. You can also use this tool for getting blog post ideas, research a profitable niche for your next site and much more.

How to Write the Report

You can easily create a report using free tools like OpenOffice suite or a paid one like Microsoft Office. Create a document in word format and then export it in PDF format when saving the document. That’s it. Your report is ready. Don’t forget to add pictures and media where necessary in your report.

How Many Pages?

When you are just beginning try to keep it short. Anything between 20-30 pages should do. Remember it’s about the quality, not quantity.

How to Price Your Report

For a 25-30 page report you can price anything between $5-10, considering you are an amateur and nobody in the industry knows your name. Once you become popular you can even charge $100 for a short report provided it is a high voltage content.

How to Sell Your Short Report

You can opt for a cheap web hosting account and register a domain name. Once you are done with that you can hire a designer to create a sales page for you (which is going to cost you heavily) or buy Optimizepress ($97 for 3 domains).

Optimizepress gives you flexibility and you can create as many landing pages and squeeze pages as you want. It is easy to design. Another option is Leadpages which costs $37/month.

Once your landing page is ready subscribe for e-junkie which costs you only $5/month for one item. It is a digital product delivery system which delivers your report to the customer’s email once the payment has been processed. Remember, e-junkie doesn’t process payments. For accepting payments use the PayPal business account which can be easily connected to e-junkie and which is free to get started. This is only a one time setup. Set it up and it will earn you money on autopilot. PayPal does take a commission for each transaction carried out, but it is definitely worth it.

Once you start making enough money with your first report you can make several similar type of reports in different niches. By this way you have got a decent online business for you which earns on autopilot and supplies you with a continuous stream of passive income.

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Outsourcing Digital Marketing Solutions

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A brand always looks for an end-to-end, holistic marketing approach that can help in its overall growth and expansion. With more and more creative agencies coming up in the market, entrepreneurs look forward to target mass audience and engage them with their brand. However, this involves a lot of business cost. This is why web service providers are offering new and improved, fully-integrated IT (Information Technology) and BPO (Business Process outsourcing) solutions to reduce the overall business cost and develop effective campaigns as per the needs of a client.

Service providers offer a range of innovative Internet marketing solutions as mentioned below:

• Social media marketing & monitoring

• Pay per click and campaign management

• Search engine optimization & auditing

• Email marketing management

• Website design & development

• Online reputation management

• Content creation & marketing

• Blog consultation

• Link building

These solutions are strategically integrated in an enterprise platform which is accessible by both parties- the brand and the third-party service provider. This can redefine the digital marketing approach of organizations. Other than this, virtual assistance, cloud computing and remote infrastructure management services are also available with a reputed service provider which empowers a brand to manage the business processes, more efficiently and proactively.

A professional service partner helps an organization to bring its marketing process on track. Entrepreneurs outsource some or most of their marketing functions to a vendor. These vendors take care of everything, ranging from, developing effective strategies, exploring latest trends, applying technology advancements, evaluating business results and so on. By helping in executing an effective marketing strategy, service vendors empower entrepreneurs to bring business continuity, speed and effectiveness. By leveraging the cutting-edge technologies and online platforms, enterprises expand their reach to engage more and more customers.

Channels of marketing and engagement

Social: Brands having an active profile on various social media platforms incur a lot of popularity among targeted customers. Having a strong social media presence is considered a business differentiator by entrepreneurs. By being active on social platforms, an entrepreneur can reach out to a mass audience at low cost (without spending much of the marketing budget).

Cloud: Service providers assist organizations to take full advantage of cloud-based services and technologies as well as integrated applications as and when required, to increase business agility.

Mobility: To improve the overall business process, entrepreneurs must integrate effective and innovative mobility solutions. Incorporating on-the-go solutions and utilizing multiple customer-centric devices adds value to a business.

Analytics: By developing and deploying measurable and sustainable methods, service providers improve the planning and execution of a process.

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Make Money Online From Home With Google AdSense

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Google AdSense is one of the coolest ways to make money online from home. The fact is, there are so many people who want to advertise their products and services online. They will most likely use paid advertising methods to promote these products. This is good news for you because you can take advantage of this by signing up with the AdSense program.

Google AdSense allows you to make money every time someone clicks on one of the ads located on your website. You can even earn several dollars per click. There are many tactics you can use to ensure maximum earnings with AdSense. Here are just a few:

Place the ads just below the title of your page. A great way to increase your CTR (click-through-rate) is to place your AdSense ads right below the title. This will ensure that people see the ads right when they arrive on your website. If they are looking for something related to the ads being displayed, they will click on the ads.

Use text ads only. I have found that the best performing ads blocks are text. Image ads are too distracting. Keeping it simple is the best way to make the most money with AdSense. A good CTR to shoot for would be around 25%. This means that 25 people out of 100 will click on the ads.

Color combination is also very important. I find that using blue links and gray text is the best combination. This means that the titles of your ads should be blue, and the description of the ads should be light grey. My CTR has been as high as 80% using this color combination. Feel free to play around a bit. There is no secret to earning with Google AdSense. Follow a simple strategy and use Google friendly methods to get traffic.

Here’s how I do it:

Build a website around a product or service. Amazon is a great place to research different products to build your website around. For example, I have a website loaded with great articles about the Nespresso Aeroccino Plus. This is a milk frother. I get about $0.67 per click. This website took me an afternoon to create. It makes me anywhere between $45 and $70 per month. And the traffic I get comes from Google. So it’s free! What’s my secret? Well, I created great content for websites. Then, I started building back-links to websites to get it ranked high in the search engines. Then, I placed my AdSense ads on websites.

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IT Outsourcing Services Companies In Eastern Europe

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Worldwide IT Outsourcing: Looking For New Places

The world IT outsourcing services market includes a number of countries and regions which due to their specific conditions are attractive for starting such a business. In fact a certain geographic division of labor can be observed in this field. Throughout the history the division of labor was driving the universal economy ahead, do no wonder that outsourcing is so popular in the software development industry. Some countries are best in producing ideas and concepts, while others provide better conditions to do the technical part of the job.

IT outsourcing services companies are mostly located in less economically developed countries which nevertheless have prominent level of technical science and engineering resources. China and India were monopolists in this market for a long time utilizing the big gap between local prices and prices in Western Europe and USA. Today we certainly can speak about another great opportunity: European outsourcing.

Eastern European Countries Join The Game

Eastern European region contains a number of countries which are different from each other and from their Western neighbors by economy level and by industrial development. Most of them were under the influence of the USSR for some period of time and had economic hardships after its collapse. Though many have joined the EU by this time, they still have much lower prices and salaries.

Industrial downfall in Eastern European countries urged people to look for new markets where they could gain better positions. Software development turned out to be a real alternative. Being purely intellectual branch (a number of brains – that’s all you need to start), programming does not require big expenditures for starting a new project. The only thing one has to invest in is good education.

IT Outsourcing To Ukraine – A Nice Alternative?

Among other members of the Eastern European region, Ukraine is one of the most attractive for Western IT companies. At the moment it possesses about the biggest quantity of software and web professionals, while salary levels here are among the lowest in Europe. As for education, it is one of the Ukraine’s strong qualities – there a multiple big technical universities in major cities of the state. Hundreds of IT students are graduated each year creating rich substrate for national software development businesses. On the other hand, Ukrainian IT companies are strongly oriented at collaboration with Western European and American businesses and therefore IT outsourcing is very popular here.

In the beginning of 2012 there were nearly 6 thousand IT outsourcing services companies performing in Ukraine. They are working with clients from various places. Major countries outsourcing to Ukraine are Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Italy, USA, ANZ. Geographic location of the country is rather encouraging: it takes only about couple of hours to get here by plane from any of Western Europe’s cities. This is a great advantage as a project owner who has outsourced his project to a Ukrainian team of developers can easily pay visits to his collaborators’ location from time to time in case he needs to interact with them personally.

So Ukraine is an emerging regional leader of IT outsourcing in Eastern Europe. As the demand for IT outsourcing services is growing faster and faster worldwide, it is possible that increasingly more software development companies will consider using the services of Ukrainian IT outsourcing vendors. Well, what about joining this promising trend?

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