The path forward: A COVID-19 offshore playbook

Offshore service providers are grappling with COVID-19’s impacts, limiting their ability to meet obligations. This playbook includes specific strategies to enhance your current position with offshore relationships.

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Editor's note: This article is the third in a three-part series to help IT leaders who depend on partners and suppliers in India or other offshore locations for core IT services to better understand the impact of COVID-19 in India on offshore IT service relationships, and what actions can be taken to protect and support U.S. enterprises.

Situation Update

Given India’s dense population, COVID cases and deaths remain notably low with ~67,000 cases and ~2,200 deaths across the country. But, as anticipated, the COVID rates continue to climb, with new cases now topping 3,000 three days in a row.  India’s government is cautiously loosening some restrictions, but India’s largest cities, which host many offshore provider locations, remain red zone hotspots for the virus.

Sources in India report that IT leaders are abiding by restrictions and adopting very conservative policies to keep workers largely at home and safe.  Unemployment has recently reached 27 percent, with protests of the lockdown in the capital city of Delhi creating familiar friction between health and economic policies. India, heating up for the monsoon and summer months, awaits further notice on extended lockdown and movement restrictions beyond May 17. 

The COVID-19 offshore playbook

With an offshore impact assessment completed, it is now time to set the go-forward strategy for offshore services.

There are two key factors that must drive your strategy: the strength of your vendor under COVID and the strength of your own enterprise. In this series, we have primarily focused on your vendor's ability to deliver services during the pandemic. However, the strength of your firm’s balance sheet, revenue streams and supply chains and your business strategy must factor into the approach to modifying your business relationship with your offshore vendor partners. Forecasts on the length and depth of the downturn and the pace of recovery and resultant impact on your business must be thoughtfully considered.

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