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Why Vietnam is an attractive IT offshoring destination

Stephanie Overby | Aug. 22, 2016
Harvey Nash’s chief digital officer discusses the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing IT work in Vietnam.

But that is not necessarily the case for Vietnam. In Vietnam, you provide not only for your immediate family, but also your extended family. It is typical in the Vietnamese culture for folks to want to stay in their country, be involved in IT on a local basis, and provide for their families. This is a significant difference and an important advantage for the Vietnamese outsourcing environment.

Then there is the level of technical talent. Malaysia has technical competency, but does not seem to possess the same scalability as Vietnam. I often hear of organizations struggling to build out teams fast enough in Malaysia because of the quantity of staff needed to do an assignment. I believe that technical competency in Vietnam is superior to the Philippines. However, in the Philippines the English is better. This is why the Philippines are so proficient in call centers.

Vietnam does an outstanding job in education and has a high regard for math and science. Both Hanoi University and the University of Ho Chi Minh offer excellent talent. They even have something similar to the Olympics for mathematicians, and we are proud to have a few medalists who work for us. What types of companies are sourcing IT or technology work in Vietnam?

Frazzetto: We recently heard that Apple is talking about opening a R&D facility in Vietnam. Microsoft and IBM are there as well. All the big players are setting up their own facilities. If the companies that are the gold standard in technical competency are setting up house in Vietnam, that says a lot about the technical talent Vietnam is offering.

Vietnam also has a good appeal to small and midsized businesses. When a smaller business outsources to a company in India or China, they are like a guppy in the ocean. If you only need five or 10 people to do a project, you might not get the attention you need. Vietnam has the flexibility to meet the needs of SMBs. What’s the business and innovation environment like in Vietnam?

Frazzetto: In the U.S. there has been investment in things like fiber optics, running wire, and having that physical connection when it comes to bandwidth and communication. When you look at more newly developed countries like Vietnam, they are going to bypass more traditional kinds of infrastructure and focus their talent on becoming more advanced in mobile and wireless technologies. Vietnam’s capability in mobile technologies is an advantage for companies looking to outsource. What are the biggest drawbacks when sourcing IT work in Vietnam?

Frazetto: As mentioned, the language can be a challenge. Are there ways around it? Absolutely. At Harvey Nash, we have a team of technical staff onshore to help bridge the language gap. These resources are all trained in technical roles like developers, business analysts and architects, not customer service or account managers. These resources help support communication and are not paid for by the client. Another way we get around the language barrier is to always make sure at least some of our staff are competent in speaking English.


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