The offshore juggernaut already is having a moderating influence on the rates of domestic companies -- not an unwelcome development for government customers. Another hybrid model pursued by a Canadian company is marketed as "near shore" development -- differentiated from offshore by time zone and linguistic similarities with the United States while providing discounts that reflect a favorable exchange rate with our northern neighbor.

Although IT has long been the platform on which government operations are performed, software development is not, strictly speaking, a core function of government. Whether viewed as an opportunity or a threat, offshore is coming ashore. Public entities can anticipate its coming by surgically reshaping their IT functions for this new global environment, or wait and weather the impact of a blunt instrument. Proper public stewardship demands that we seize the inevitable, again.

Paul W. Taylor, Ph.D., is the chief strategy officer of the Center for Digital Government, former deputy state CIO of Washington and a veteran of startups.

Paul W. Taylor  |  Contributing Writer