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5.12.06

Software Outsourcing - Top 3 issues

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Given the way IT outsourcing started to India it was natural for us to look at ourselves in the eyes of our customers in the biggest markets and try to change ourselves to keep them happy and satisfied and give us business. Good starting point, but even today asking a question of what problems are plaguing the Indian IT Industry I guarantee you that there is a higher probability that you will find answers of what we need to do and how we can improve to serve our customers better.
Well great thinking but I don't totally agree with this approach as I believe that outsourcing to India is as much a need for our customers as it is for us. Added complexity is also of course that the outsourcing destinations are now across the globe which means that both outsourcer and the outsourced need to work together to make it a success.

So what do I propose to do I will try to highlight the top 3 issues and how in my opinion we can look at it from both sides. Limited by my knowledge I will look at the issues with India as the outsourced destination.

Issue 1 : Engineers don't see the big picture

Well I definitely agree that it is definitely a good scenario to have when the customer and the offshore vendor see the same big picture while most times the customers' feeling is that the Indian teams somehow missed the big picture.

Yes Indian team's rotate fast, transitions are the name of the game, utilization ratio of its engineers is a key handle for bottom line management but is all that alone responsible for the situation above. I think that is not the case. If we just take a quick poll of the % of project teams working in India who are aware of their customer's road map for that market / product my hunch is it would not be higher than 15-20% (somebody has data to disprove this - I would love to hear that). So if the customer does not involve a offshore team in the road mapping process he needs to be aware that he is building the 'implementor' mentality and that is all he will get.

If this situation has to change our people need to change too but so do our customers !

Issue 2 : Adapting to Cultures

When ever a fresh engineer travels to a customer location outside the country he definitely goes through a cultural orientation. That is great - Indian companies want to support their engineers in making their movement to a outside location smoother. I also appreciate the efforts by us to understand the cultures of the countries that our customer's work - celebrate their festivals, declare Christmas vacations etc etc.

What I definitely not appreciate is our partners not at all appreciating our culture - Try answering some questions below and you might get a sense of what I mean
  1. How many project/product releases are planned during the Diwali/Deepavali and how many during Christmas ?
  2. How many instances do you folks have where your on site counterparts have changed their 'vacation plans' ? [ Simple my customer might possibly plan one vacation for a couple of weeks together in a year where as a Indian might plan the same 2 weeks of leave spread over 7 festivals in the year - well folks its a cultural issue and customers need to appreciate it !]
  3. How many times have you received gifts from your onsite partners during Indian festivals?

Issue 3 - Generalists vs. Specialists

One of the biggest concern of a European/American customer is that the association of a Indian engineer in a particular role/domain is very short. I personally feel that this is an area where we need to work first in sorting out the issues before customers can do anything. Simply put competition and lack of urge for a laid back life is not in the psyche of the Indian Engineer - all through his school, college life he is pushed hard by peer competition and there is always a reward for performance - so why not in work life ?

I don't have an answer for how this can be resolved, but unless we collectively try to address this it will have a cyclic impact on the first point !

1 comment:

Mohan said...

Great points... I especially like the "Issue 2 : Adapting to Cultures"
Great question: How many project/product releases are planned during the Diwali/Deepavali and how many during Christmas ?

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