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Outsourcing Tasks Instead of Jobs

Pfizer is letting its professionals farm out Web searches, number crunching, and other tasks to outside support firms

David Cain loves his job. Well, most of it anyway. As an executive director for global engineering at Pfizer (PFE), Cain finds real satisfaction in assessing environmental real estate risks, managing facilities, and overseeing a multimillion-dollar budget for the pharmaceutical giant. What he doesn't love so much: creating PowerPoint slides and riffling through spreadsheets.

Lucky for Cain, Pfizer now lets him punt those tedious and time-consuming tasks to India with the click of a button. PfizerWorks, launched early last year, permits some 4,000 employees to pass off parts of their job to outsiders. You might call it personal outsourcing. With workers in India handling everything from basic market research projects to presentations, professionals such as Cain can focus on higher-value work. "It has really been a godsend," says Cain. "I can send them something in the evening, and the next morning it's waiting for me when I get to the office."