You are here

The Alternative

Ken Behrendt
Feb 1, 2018

The question I get asked after relevancy (the January 2018 posting) is why we created an alternative technical services delivery solution.  Of course, the alternative referred to is U.S. Onshore.

This question is really pursued when people know my past - I’ve used offshore for almost 30 years; I was president of an offshore company; and, I’ve made about 40 trips to India.  I consider myself an expert in offshore and I do know how to make it work for most situations.  Consequently, people erroneously conclude because we know offshore and don’t engage it at Eagle Creek, that we must be anti-offshore.  We’re not.  We like offshore.

On the other hand, people will position us as patriotic – building technology centers in the heartland of the U.S., developing new college graduates into consultants, working in partnership with state and local governments for economic development gains.  We are patriotic and we do like the consequences of onshore, but we didn’t create onshore for these reasons.  Onshore was formed as a solution to a fundamental corporate IT problem.

I’m a believer in “horses for courses”.  Employees, staff augmentation, onsite resources, onshore resources and offshore resources all have their place and purpose in a corporate IT resource strategy – horses for courses.  After years of managing onsite and offshore consultants, I determined this stable needed an alternative horse for the new and evolving technologies galloping out of Silicon Valley.

These technologies were called CRM, led by Scopus, Clarify, Vantive and Siebel.  No different than several years earlier with ERP systems, back in the early ‘90’s, it was easy to conclude these new implementations were going to be large and the associated cost was going to be substantial.

At one end of the tech services spectrum, it didn’t take a financial genius to figure out that the rates of the major management consulting firms were not sustainable.  This is how Eagle Creek got into business.  If phase 1 was the initial implementation, we came onto the project somewhere around phase .75.  This was because the expanding scope was killing the budget.  The consultant rates from these organizations were just too high to support the vision and new realities of the project.

At the other end of the same spectrum, offshore didn’t convince me it was possible to consistently implement customer facing technologies from half way around the world.  The issues then, twenty years ago, were no different than the issues today – to be successful in CRM you must comprehend the essence of the business and its customers.  I could never see the every-day offshore consultant truly capturing, understanding and relating to the nuances of a U.S. business and its changing customer.

If these two ends of the tech services industry are eliminated, this leaves the middle and the middle was and still is utilizing the traditional onsite consultants.  Even with a lower cost structure, which it has, I still believed the rates were eventually going to be prohibitive.  In the end, corporate IT may pay high rates in the initial stages of a technology deployment, but eventually procurement will look for a lower cost solution.  It’s been this way for the last 30 years. 

Eagle Creek developed U.S. Onshore because there was a hole in corporate IT’s resource strategy.  We developed this solution because the alternatives couldn’t effectively support the long-term CRM initiatives of the Fortune 2000 from a quality, risk and cost perspective.  My conclusion was the new horse in the stable had to be domestically located having the high quality and lower risk attributes of an onsite consultant, and the lower cost attributes of an offshore consultant.  We called this alternative Onshore.  We began this solution thirteen years ago in Valley City, North Dakota.

U.S. Onshore remains today’s solution for digital transformation.  From CRM to custom application development to mobility, it understands the technical issues, the business issues and the businesses customer.  Eagle Creek’s U.S. Onshore has a history of success deploying the most sophisticated CRM implementations in the world and building out digital platforms that transform companies – it’s become the relevant resource alternative.