Harry Virk is the owner of Alpha Technologies, which started in 1997 as nothing more than a one-employee company working out of an apartment. Now, 20 years later, Alpha Technologies has locations in Doylestown, Raleigh, Poland, and India, employing several hundred people. The company’s most recent location opened March 2016 in Wilmington.
Despite his company’s success — and his office in India — Virk seeks to change a common IT industry trend with assistance from state and city incentives: outsourcing.
“We’re giving companies an alternative to offshoring,” Virk told The News Journal. “I’m not saying we’re going to bring all the jobs back here, but we are going to balance it out.”
While it’s an ambitious goal, Virk may be fighting an uphill battle. A company can save an average of 60% in operations costs with an outsourced individual. Still, the IT industry seems to be exceptionally prone to outsourcing efforts.
However, there are plenty of people who fully support outsourcing and feel as though it makes lives easier. Forbes contributor Johnathan Webb says, “Outsourcing has dramatically transformed the global economy. Our jobs, consumption patterns and entire lifestyles are partly shaped by the rippling effects of past outsourcing deals. The low costs offered by outsourced contracts — vilified by the press at the time — streamlines the structuring of the economy…The greater focus that outsourcing affords many companies can unburden them of operational drudgery and catapult them to international and enduring success.”
Some aspects of the IT industry, like audio-visual technology, isn’t easily outsourced because it requires on-site technicians. The AV software industry alone grew from $839 million in 2012 to $1.7 billion in 2016. However, many other sectors within the IT and tech industry can easily be shifted to low-wage workers overseas.
Despite the siren call of cheap foreign labor, Virk says he is determined to keep his employees in-house. The Wilmington location of Alpha Technologies has been fully renovated and now features a training center that gives employees the opportunity to enhance their technical skills in the fields of software development and programming. This enhanced environment may help the company attract and retain talent.
Research by Exeter University’s School of Psychology found that employees who have control over the design and layout of their workspace are up to 32% more productive, and Virk’s renovations are clearly a strategic business move.
Ultimately, everyone has their own financial and personal opinion on outsourcing. Virk, however, told Delaware’s The News Journal that he will continue to fight adamantly to undermine outsourcing efforts.
“These companies are taking food off their own table and shipping it offshore…This country has given me everything and I want to give back by keeping jobs here,” said Virk. “To do that, we’re going against offshoring by offering a rival on-shoring solution.”