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Beryl Lieff Benderly

Research work is Boston-bound

Stories about technical work offshored to Asia are staples of news coverage, so it’s refreshing to read about the decision of Perimeter E-Security Corporation, a Connecticut-based firm involved in protecting financial information, to move certain of its research and development efforts from overseas to a new hub in downtown Boston.  To do so, the firm “cut some offshore engineering resources based in India,” reported yesterday’s Boston Business Journal

A dozen engineers ready for work at 60 State Street in downtown Beantown, and Perimeter plans to add eight more in the next 18 months, chief marketing officer Kurt Heinemann tells Science Careers in an interview. Is this move an outlier or some kind of a straw in the wind?

Neither, Heinemann says. Rather, it’s a reflection of the realities of Perimeter’s largely U.S.-based business. “A lot of our tools and services are related to the United States financial and regulatory environment,” he says.”We found that India was very good for what I will call time-intensive efforts, something that’s a defined project that’s going to span a period of time and doesn’t need repeated strategic evaluation and correction.” But to serve its mainly American-based market, “we wanted our development and engineering resources closer to our product development and product managers,” who work to tailor products to meet clients’ specific needs, Heinemann explains. “The innovation part requires all those people, product managers and engineers and developers, to communicate in real time…[So] we centralized all that effort to Boston” — and thereby showed that clichés about sweeping trends in today’s globalized research scene can’t capture the fine-grained reality of real people making real business decisions.

(Hat tip: Alan Kotok.)

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