Harley-Davidson outsources datacenter to Indian company, increasing US jobs by 50%

Harley-Davidson outsources datacenter to Indian company, increasing US jobs by 50%

Summary: Don't jump to conclusions when you hear the word "outsourcing"


Infosys, a datacenter operator and service provider based in India, is the recipient of an IT outsourcing deal with American icon Harley-Davidson, which will result in the loss of125 jobs, including 83 jobs at Harley’s Wisconsin headquarters. To some this will make it yet another story of American jobs lost to offshore outsourcing.  But like many things that seem obvious, the issue isn’t that simple.

Though an Indian company, Infosys is committed to the US market and has a large presence in the US. They have 16 existing US facilities and, in 2012, hired over 1200 people to staff those facilities here (and have stated that they expect to expand to 2000 by the end of the year). The contract with Harley requires that they open a facility in Milwaukee, which will increase the size of Infosys’ US presence and will open up 125 jobs, equal to the number of jobs being lost at Harley-Davidson.  And before you jump to the conclusion that the Harley IT employees are being left in the cold, there are two additional points that you need to consider.

The first is that of the 125 jobs being created, Infosys says that 70 will be directly on the Harley project. Harley will be encouraging employees whose jobs have been outsourced to apply for these jobs, and will keep their base pay and years of service credit that they acquired while working at Harley-Davidson.

Second, Harley will be creating 68 new internal jobs it refers to as “information technology management positions” which will be open to employees who are affected by the outsourcing. These employees will also be encouraged to apply for other available jobs within Harley-Davidson.

So with 125 jobs being outsourced to a company that will need to create a local facility to handle the contract, and the creation of 125 jobs at that facility, it would be a wash for the outsourcing. But with Harley planning on creating 68 IT jobs within the company to manage the current and future needs of Harley’s IT growth, that is a net gain of 68 jobs in the Milwaukee IT community.

So the next time you hear someone discoursing on the horrors of outsourcing it may be a good idea to dig just a little deeper than sound bites on the evening news to find out exactly what is going on.


Topics: Data Centers, Outsourcing

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  • jobs still being lost

    So people's jobs are being outsourced but get to become a consultant which in term means they have little benefits. That's also to realize if all 125 employes get the 125 jobs they are applying for. I only see a move here were Harley Davidson ends up saving money because they don't have to pay benefits anymore.
    • Tell us more

      Please help us out here, since you seem to have knowledge that is not available in the article. Which jobs are being turned into 'consultant' jobs? Harley's "68 new internal jobs," or the 125 that are being hired by Infosys?

      I think that IT people might have to get used to the idea of working for IT companies. Harley-Davidson is about making motorcycles, not investing their assets in running data centers. That's true for most companies. It's a historical accident that companies involved in all sorts of activities also ended up running in-house data centers. But why should we expect a company that makes, oh, floor scrubbers, to be good at running a data center?
      Robert Hahn
  • I am not even reading the entire article....

    I did not even bother reading the entire article. Harley Davidson is all about American Pride. I don't care if they increased their workforce here in USA 100%, outsourcing is still moving jobs overseas.
    I am a naturlized citizen, love this country, and I hate to see companies as such causing Americans to lose their jobs....regardless.
  • Another variant on greed and pimp labor

    There is NO upside to outsourcing, whitewash it all you want, except to make the 1%ers (and plenty of foreigners) richer. All of this modern joy comes at America's long term expense.

    Hey, why don't we just hitch the USA to Asia lock, stock and barrel, and simply ask for Sino scab welfare? In Yuan of course.
  • What a shame

    I would have never expected Harley-Davidson would make such a stupid move in outsourcing its IT offshore. With all the returning military veteran in need of sustainable jobs you would think they would take advantage of all the tax credits and place a few vets to work. I would guess the majority of the Harley owners are US veterans however the increased sales of Harleys in India have caused them to share the wealth? Another fact will be security. The average worker in India makes around $7.00 per day so I guess a hundred dollar bill will get you a thumb drive of Harley data. I’m sure competitors of Harley are lining up to acquire customer information.

    I would have never anticipated Harley Davidson to turn its back on the USA. I guess anything is possible now. What a sad day….
  • Mr. Chernicoff, a little follow-up, please

    Check on these jobs in a few months and find out how many of them are being filled by US citizens and how many others are filled by individuals on work visas. Just curious, as you said, that too will likely tell the real story.
  • No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

    For a company that is now dependent on technology, Outsourcing is disingenuous at best. When you Outsource, you always loose knowledge and sometimes that knowledge is very critical. You keep switching outsourcing companies(a been counters fantasy to get the best deal), you might as well put up a for sale sign because you will be out of business in 10 years due to the fact that no one knows whats going on any more. In addition, an Outsource employee does not have the same level of commitment to the company as a full time employee does. They do not have the same identity and motivation. And they certainly can't suggest ways to improve things because they can't see the big picture. So form a competitive edge point of view, technology based companies that keep their IT internal have a distinct advantage.

    Outsourcing is not the last nail in America's economic coffin, moving those jobs to other countries (Offshoring) is. While you can Outsource without sending those jobs out of the country, most are.

    The tried and true axiom of economics is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. One of the significant reasons why Obama's economic stimulus never had a chance of working is because of Offshoring. Instead of the money staying in and circulating around in the US economy, most of it went to other countries.

    Marx almost had it right. Capitalism won't manufacture the rope with which it hung itself. No, that would cost to much. Instead, it will Outsource or Offshore it.
    Luke Knight
  • Sad.. sad.. sad.. :(

    Harley riders buy a Harley because it's American made and backed by American's. The whole pride in the USA thing.
    So now we're going to have to talk to someone who will be hard to understand and not as knowledgeable about the products?
    So what's next? They going to outsource the building of the bikes to Mexico or China?
    I can understand outsourcing the work but keep it in the good ol' USA!
    If everyone continues this trend, all the work will be in foreign countries. We'll have to work oversees to be able to afford to live here!