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  • #2248960

    The business case for NOT outsourcing software development


    by newtc ·

    Is anyone frustrated with the continuing theme of outsourcing that encourages American companies to outsource to foreign software development companies? (c.f. the recent white paper on TechRepublic: Offshore Software Test Automation: A Strategic Approach to Cost and Speed Effectiveness.)

    I?m interested in hearing reasons why companies should keep their IT and software development ?onshore.? Any ideas?

    TIA, Newt

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    • #3217194


      by bigbigboss ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      This is all about economics. If you can buy a Brazillian car that is better can cost less than a US car, would you buy a US car, even if you know that someone in Detroit is going to loose his job ? Americans did just that, with Japanese cars, in the 70’s.

      We can’t fight with the price of out sourcing. We may have a fight with quality of product. We must analyze our strengths and weaknesses in quality and see how we can improve on our strengths, and also let the decision makers knows about our strengths. But we must also know about the strengths of our competitors, especially those in South Asia, as they are really good.

      So, what are our strengths ? On time ? Better understanding of users needs ? Better understanding of our local culture (so that we don’t insult our customers in our help text) ? Less bugs ? Faster running programs ? Better testing ? More skillful with complicated systems ? More organized way of doing business ? More compliant with our laws and regulations ?

      We must find our strengths before our industry went the way of textile industry.

      • #3223692

        Quality? Not from India

        by mhallana ·

        In reply to economics

        Quality has not been my experience with the Outsourced strategy. As we moved our e-Procurement off shore to India, we found that coders are in great demand. They jump ship in a matter of days, and have no loyalty to any American Company. We put our HD there, and wow guess what ticket closures went down, and quality fell into a DEEP cave. For the past few years I bought what you?re saying, and was one of the leaders placing entire applications overseas.

        Having first hand experience on HOW the decisions were made: Quality, Better Workers, Better work ethics, and ALL of what you claim, is UNTRUE! The one and only decision we ever made, was on money.


        How fast could our CEO, CFO, CIO, COO pull money out of their options, would it increase the margin to the point that the stock would recover, would it decrease the cost of overhead (sick leave, vacations, benefits) and when would we see the first results.


        I wish everyone would stop being so naive, If you think it is about anything else at all I invite you to talk to the highest level in your corporation you can get to come to meet you.

        • #3223507

          Quality ? Not from anywhere

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Quality? Not from India

          Well maybe in extremely rare cases.
          But quality in terms of code hasn’t been a factor since someone realised you can make money with this sheet.

      • #3223005

        True Costs is misleading

        by terry_157 ·

        In reply to economics

        If you have solid user specifications, solid specifications, a sound project manager on site who has good chemistry with his EXPERIENCED team in India or China, who understands the business model and business processes of the client AND has a team of very senior developers, AND a knowledable PM counterpart in the U.S. at the client site AND a good QA team with methods, test beds etc., AND a highly compartimentalized development processes that do not expose the entire application AND a PHYSICALLY SECURE building with card key or biometric entry, AND you have turned off the USB drives etc., AND you have performed competency skill tests on all deveopers and testers AND you have run background checks on all developers etc. AND you are darn sure you can sleep peacefully at night that no one is coping the source or stealing it or reusing it in another application causing potential IP issues AND the application does not cause undue risk of exposure etc. to the Corporation and its key assets, then go offshore and try to save a few pennies.

        The reality is few implement the above because they are looking for a “CHEAP” way out. If you lose your source, or you cause RISK to the company in any measurable way, the reality of saving pennies means ZIP as you may have cost the Company or client MILLIONS of DOLLARS in LOSES.

        And, if you think it is a WISE development practice to give you most precious corporate assets to people you have never met in another country while you mandate reference & credit checks on your own new hires, then unlock your doors and open you windows and pray your children will be safe from harm with the teen baby sitter as you and your wife go on vacation in Europe. Oh, by the way, don’t forget to move to that “other” neighborhood that is across town first as its CHEAPER to live and you are not concerned about the crime reports on TV.

        Reality Check – Off shore resources rarely give a DAMN about your business and it is YOU that is taking the RISK! As Forest Gump says “Stupid is as stupid does!”

        You don’t think this happens, well pal, you are dead wrong!

    • #3216908

      Learn to love Rogan Josh

      by drowningnotwaving ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      Or lahksa when your job goes to Malaysia. Or dim sims ‘cos china’s next on the block, with nearly a million, english speaking IT grads per year being pumped out.

      Their quality problems (which certainly exist now) will be ironed out and, just like the cars, electronic goods and the clothing industry – you’re going for the chop.

      As I said in another thread, even if the business equation in terms of quantity and quality or overall output is 5 Sureshs = 1 Billy Bob, well oops the money just went o’seas.

      So, for all of us who have tch-tch-tch-ed our toungues at the complaining unionists when their factories closed – about how ill-prepared they were, didn’t they see it coming, it’s all part of globalism and isn’t that good for all of us in the long term –

      Well now it’s our turn.

    • #3219127

      The Risk of Hidden Cost

      by rapace ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      Immmature process can lead to huge hidden costs. If your org has immature process and you try to outsource to one of the Indian firms touting CMM 5 it is going to get much more expensive.

      If you work in an environment where 3 bullet points in an email gets everyone is headdown then your business folks are going to be severly challenged when dealing with a much more rigorous, requirements driven outsourcing. Without considering how difficult it will be to adapt their need for detailed requirements, the cost of change racks up fast.

      If you spend half your time in meetings and everyone needs to be face-to-face to make decisions your business owners will not be satisfied with the distributed nature of outsourcing.

      If you rely heavily on the development team to solve problems on-the-fly or think independently outsourcing is not for you. It is very likely that your business owners have absolutely no idea that this is day-in, day-out activity.

      The draw of outsourcing is cost savings but most companies find that outsourcing has many unexpected costs that, when weighed against the savings, negate the benefits.

      Frequently business teams considering outsourcing are ignorant of what it really takes to complete an app dev project because much of it never crosses their threshold.

    • #3217657

      Privacy data outsourced

      by problemsolversolutionseeker ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      Companies handling your personal data are outsourcing! This is a concern for me, since recourse would be difficult against an incident that occurs outside of the United States.

      I already am resigned as well to the fact that I will be flying to India for medical purposes when I get older and start having old people issues.

      Better keep my passport updated and handy, eh?

      • #3223778

        We definitely DON’t outsource

        by sarah.seddon ·

        In reply to Privacy data outsourced

        We made a decision early on in the life of our company NOT to outsource. Firstly, as we develop software, who is to say that one of the outsourcers won’t be tweaking the code and putting out himself? We have spent time and money developing our strategy – why we would ‘give’ all of this information to developers somewhere else? Plus, recently we had a customer who wanted to be able to compare spreadsheets by highlighting formula changes. As our developers are here, with us as part of the team, we thought this was a good idea and were able to present the customer with exactly what he wanted within three weeks. The whole company is able to work as a team. Now admittidly we are a small company, but have actively decided against outsourcing.

        In private situations with banks here in the UK, I have been put through to places where it’s obvious English isn’t the first language. The people tried very hard to be helpful, but couldn’t understand what I was asking. Needless to say, I no longer bank with this particular bank!

        I’m sure outsourcing has a place, but good customer service (which includes responding quickly to customer needs) is vital.

      • #3223471

        No personal data outsourcing – period

        by jferanda ·

        In reply to Privacy data outsourced

        If Singapore government can mandate that the personal data outsorcing is not allowed, so can everybody else.
        These practices are detrimental to the workers of the company, state and country.
        its not all about money and economics. Its about providing good service, Be understood when and what is wanted, loosing vital knowledge base that cannot be replaced overnight and especially in time of emergencies, terrorism activities, war times and all the other concerns given by the other respondents.

        It appears the these outsorcing activities are driven by the globalisation phase currently going around the world. But these are only phases that will come and go as have others in the past.
        We seem to embrace concepts and then pay the price down the line.
        The price for outsorcing is the loss of tangible and intagible benefits to many:
        *Loss of work
        *Loss of income
        *Loss of expertise
        *Loss of personal information
        *Loss of control
        *Loss of security
        *Loss of recorse or difficulty thereoff
        Can you please continue with the same format and add your vision of losses to the country and economy?

    • #3223756

      My humble point of view….

      by mike ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      The first thing that must be remembered- a business exists to maximize profit for its shareholders. If it can perform some of its operations at a fraction of the cost without sufficient risk to jeopardize itself, it only makes business sense to do so. If not, it will lose business to those who do and can offer a less expensive product of the same quality. It may sound callused, to use a quote; ?It?s nothing personal- this is business.?

      That being said, I will not jump further into the quagmire of morality this subject can create and will give you one business case against outsourcing. A hint lies in the above paragraph- risk. It doesn?t matter how well your relationship and non-disclosure agreement (NDR) with the vendor is, the sheer reality of outsourcing is a dependency of resources outside of your organization and outside knowledge of how your corporation operates.

      Let?s look at outsourcing coding first-

      An outside contractor working for you today may be working for a direct competitor tomorrow and will remember all the solutions they used to solve your problems. Unlike ?no compete? contracts that employees may have to agree to, contractors cannot be legally bound to them because of the sheer nature of their business. A coder will not forget how they designed a creative data-mining project for you simply because they moved on to another contract- they will use the knowledge gained from your contract, and if they have any value, will use that and add additional goodies for the next customer- giving them an edge over you.

      How about outsourcing technical support?

      An outsourcing contractor can come in with very attractive prices for a technical support contract. Once signed, your corporation will likely release in-house support personnel to the contractor or just let them go. A dependency has begun because your corporation now doesn?t have the internal personnel to support their own systems. A couple of years down the road, after the contractor is deeply ingrained into your corporation, rates may rise and what can you do? You can?t fire them overnight because you now don?t have the resources to support your own equipment. What happens if the contractor decides to get out of the support contract business or folds altogether?

      It may take your company years to regain what they had.

      Now, I?m not poo-pooing on all outsourcing- there are some very good vendors who offer outstanding services. They can be invaluable for temporary projects where a corporation doesn?t want to hire massive quantities of resources for a project that they can?t keep on the payroll forever. That would be unfair to the resources- to be fired or laid off after the project after being lured away from another job.

      In conclusion, I would like to state that I believe there are times where outsourcing makes sense and others where the risk may be too big- it has to be viewed on a case-by-case basis.

      • #3139338


        by newtc ·

        In reply to My humble point of view….

        Mike, what about the offshore component of this question. Not just outsourcing, but offshore outsourcing?

    • #3223737

      to get what you want…

      by dsm5 ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      … you have to be able to write a spec that works. Spec writing for offshore development, rather the lack of quality in that task, has caused considerable re-work, gnashing of teeth, loss of promising career prospects, and so on. Leaving yourself at the mercy of interpretation in overseas “code factories” is not just naive, it is a real money-waster. It is not that the offshore groups cannot deliver what we want, but that getting it to look and feel like what you sold to the business users requires serious technical and user-interface specification that has been found wanting, let us say.

      The result has been a product that has had to be re-worked and results in, generally, wasted money and time.

      One of the other causes has been the lack of drive or inability to manage the process remotely. No matter how many early morning or late night video conferences you have, there is nothing like sharing the view of what is going on and having users walk through the intermediate products as they have developed the interface.

      It is management that is often lacking and left to the architects, my experience is that the delivered product will generally NOT fit the dimensions of the solution that was sold. However, as noted, this is a management issue, not a technical one, per se, and IT management is often more short on the ground than spec writing ability. But that is just my experience. What do I know?

    • #3223729

      Source code security

      by terry_157 ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      We believe the risk to offshore to India, Russia, China is too great of a risk to have our IP – Source copied, stolen, modified in a way that we do not desire. And, that is on the commercial side.

      We also are U.S. Govt. contractors. As such why risk undermining the code’s security and have a country like China, who last year attacked DoD components over 300 times last year acquire it. They are organized military hackers.

      Why would we want to save a few bucks offshore when I can go to several states within the U.S., Homesource and get as good if not better quality work and still save $ without the worries?

      I can do background checks on U.S. Citizens!

      We also don’t want the logistics issues.

      We prefer to help the U.S. ecomony not undermine it.


      • #3223660

        SECURITY is #1

        by it cowgirl ·

        In reply to Source code security

        You are right on the money! I mean security. Or do I?

        With the onset of the Sarbanes-Oxley and all other government regulations (both State and Federal) security is a BIG issue. Also, in the light of terrorist activity world-wide, why would anyone in the US send their programming jobs to another country? Does anyone else in the US not see the absolute absurdity of this practice?
        If I am required to protect “secrets” and devise “impenetrable” security for my government entity or my company, how do I possibly meet this requirement by sending the job to another country to perform the task? Is it logical that virtually every bank, insurance, retirement fund, and state governments are having programmers from all over the world write the code to secure this information because they company can pay these poeple less money? Now these other countries have the code to penatrate virtually every piece of critical information in the US. Or worse yet, sell it at a high price to those willing to pay the highest price to deafeat the US through its money flow!

        I know, lets make them sign an agreement not to tell or sell! Of course, sfter someone has breached your security, secrets, and money holdings; you will have no resources to pursue your programmers’ breach of contract for the next 50 years! Yet the terrorists will have your security, secrets, and money holdings.

        How can I possibly protect my company’s (country’s) assets, client and comany information, and secure my company/country by sending those jobs (which program my protection) to another country? A lesser example of this issue is already being fought against test sites which “magically” obtain the answers to certification tests for Microsoft, Ciscso, et. al. The information is easily obtainable and they cannot really do anything about it to those in another country. Luckily Microsoft and Cisco do not really loose money because more people take their tests because they can easily pass them with the answers. But can your company or county survive if your security, information, and/or assets have been breached?

    • #3223651

      Dealing With a Fad

      by the-jetman ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      While the entire idea of off-shoring IS NOT a fad, it’s a popular idea that far too many don’t understand and decision makers jump on the bandwagon bec they truly want to more cost-efficient. So, many make the leap and get burned bec they “think” they understand the constraints/considerations/issues from the success stories.

      In my own experience, several years ago I was living in a little town in Long Island, NY and had been doing good consulting work for a local small Web-based firm. Thay made many moves to grow, including a merger w/ another small company that hit the VC lottery, during the height of dot-com bubble. Well, the VC money dried up quickly and my client had to extract himself from the merger and re-gen his pre-existing Web biz.

      Eventually, I was hired to “run” things on the IT side, as opposed to being a pure consultant. At that time, I’d been an IT pro for twenty years, so I was thunderstruck one day when I discovered my boss (the owner) had off-shored *all* web development to Russia and I hadn’t heard *anything* about it ! NOT ONE WORD ! He and his mgrs, none of whom had *any* IT experience/training *decided* this idea made sense ! Admittedly, the volume of work necessitated addl bodies (pos from overseas), NO WAY were they qualified to negotiate this type of deal w/o an IT pro at the table. But, they did and eventually paid the ultimate price (out of biz.)

      This was an isolated case, but still IMO symbolic of a certain kind of mindset in American mgmt, in small *and* large corporations. Mgrs/execs can make *any* decision they see fit in the IT arena, w/o any input from IT pros, bec too often we’re marginalized by prejudice. Obviously, we’re going to try and preserve our jobs, but that doesn’t mean we’re *always* incapable of making important business decisions or that we can’t sit at the table when those decisions are made.

      Offshoring is a fact of life, in all domains, including IT. But it’s a rare organization that can make it pay off in the short-term. *That’s* why I see this as a kind of fad, bec I believe mgrs/execs don’t realize they’re trading one set of probs for a new set of equally challenging issues. Offshoring introduces brand-new classes of people/communcations/tech issues and line mgrs/execs are no more prepared for these, than they are for the home-grown ones.

      *Nobody* is going to solve your problems for you, at least not at a price that you (the mgr/exec) decide alone.

    • #3223514


      by istari2ve20029 ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      If there is constant software development in your company, for internal use, intellectual property is a good reason to not outsource
      I think.

    • #3223498

      In essence it’s very simple

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development

      If you outsource coding, ie implementation, you are effectively having to go back to the way back when model. Where all eyes were dotted and all tees were crossed before anyone wrote a line of code.

      Never worked in the past (well ok may be twice in really extreme environments), when the coders only spoke geek. As far as I’m aware Hindi and Mandarin chinese aren’t going to make coders any more understandable to business heads.

    • #3223006


      by gdelt ·

      In reply to The business case for NOT outsourcing software development


      try project management (software or not),
      it’s pretty good.

      At the same time you stay is software or change to any other kind of PM.

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