Communications of the Association for Information Systems


The shrinking student numbers in IS programs in developed countries has created a crisis for the IS profession. In this paper, we explore how offshoring is affecting the IS discipline both directly and indirectly and show some of the major causes behind the relocation of IS work. Our primary message is that while offshoring has impacted the location of some IS tasks, this has not led to the demise of the field. Indeed, in contrast to the public conception, the statistics show there are more IS jobs now than ever before in developed countries. We explore what can be done to better prepare the field for the offshoring challenge and to align the rather negative public perception of the future of the IS field with reality. While simple IS tasks such as coding can be commoditized and are therefore vulnerable to offshoring, other significant pieces of IS work (e.g., business modeling/IS business analysis) are "customer-facing" with high levels of complexity. The latter are less vulnerable to commoditization and consequently less likely to be offshored. We recommend that the academic IS community focus more on producing these customer-facing IS personnel that organizations will increasingly look for. We offer some suggestions for stakeholder groups in the field to address the key challenges they face.