Like everyone else, I've been glued to the news the past few days trying to comprehend the enormity of the Egyptian crisis and the possible repercussions across the global sourcing industry.
Without dragging us into a political debate, what's alarming is the dependence global sourcing has on the Internet and political stability. When the first response of the government, in times of political crisis, is to shut down the Web, this has a massive impact on the nation's global sourcing infrastructure to support global businesses. While China clearly has the capability to regulate its Internet, you have to ask the question whether smaller, less affluent nations have that level of sophistication.
This is a major concern for businesses when they invest in critical support services in the region. While top-tier providers, such as IBM, Verizon and TCS rely on Egyptian resources, largely for call center work and software support and development, it's hazardous when the government shuts off the Internet and all hell is breaking loose. What really concerns HfS is the unpredictability of problems like this surfacing, that can seriously impact the security and availability of key support services in areas such as IT services, finance and accounting, payroll, customer services etc.
Egypt, as an example, has proven capable as a good quality resource location for the Middle East, Africa and European regions in areas such as IT, BPO and call center services, and has invested significantly in promoting its capabilities worldwide. For example, Egypt's Information Technology Industry Development Agency, ITIDA (website currently down) had planned to have a delegation at the forthcoming NASSCOM conference in India, and has invested heavily with McKinsey to support and help develop its capabilities. The country has invested millions to promote its sourcing capabilities - and now, that investment is looking under threat.