Slower economic growth for companies in today’s climate has forced businesses to turn to ‘Offshoring’ as a tactical strategy to attempt to lower costs for developing projects. What appears at face value, as a conveniently cheap way to pay wages and complete projects, is actually not all it seems.
Lets take a look at what to consider before taking the decision to develop applications offshore.
To unveil the truth into why offshoring is not as attractive a business option as first imagined, three essential factors need to be considered:
- Communication/Cultural Barriers
- Management Resource
- Under skilled Staff
Is the key to any successful business project and by jeopardizing this; the whole development project is endangered.
- Language Barriers
Companies assume far too quickly the automatic understanding of the English language where offshore staff are concerned. Miscommunication is therefore unavoidable, over telephone, email and other contact sources alike.
- Cultural Differences
The culture of fast paced Western business does not have time or appetite to accommodate mistakes made through poor or miscommunication. Project developers demand excellent execution of product within deadlines and this business philosophy may not be prioritized by other cultures. This only serves to highlight the lack of control business managers have over the work that is carried out offshore.
- Time Zones are inevitably challenging due to opposite working hours. Onshore employees work through the daytime, but this is night in the majority of chosen offshore countries. Therefore, it is unlikely that managers will ever to able to effectively communicate to offshore workers to ensure the development project is going as planned.
Company control is inextricably linked to the previous points of discussion; poor communication leads to control challenges. It is almost impossible to take the reigns on controlling a project that is miscommunicated offshore.
- The stability of the development project could be in the balance as the offshoring corporate strategy could prove to make business vulnerable regarding intellectual property laws. As these laws are not always in existence in offshore countries, on shore managers are under pressure to control all legalities that otherwise would not prove an issue in the US. The attorney ‘safety blanket’ is not an available option when turning to offshore.
- Security control is also lost; the instability of offshore political, social and cultural movements places the project in unpredictable circumstance. Offshore locations are less secure, prone to threats of war, violence and terrorism that may directly strike a development project at any time.
- Project Completion
Working through different time zones increases the time that it takes to complete the product and so deadlines are missed and urgencies cannot be responded to with the urgency required. The quality of your project should sustain priority and by using offshore development, this quality becomes unstable.
Onsite meetings essential to these development projects become increasingly costly where offshore employees are concerned. The hidden costs of meetings that involve offshore staff lead to overheads, and if these meetings are decided against, this leads to problems in communication between on and offshore staff.
Lack of Skilled Staff
- Staff Capability
Managers must attempt to action an effective transition so that employees are confident with product knowledge. Developers offshore often overstate the capabilities of offshore employees when understanding the English language. With language barriers sometimes interpretation leads to the wrong thing being built or deployed.
- Staff Depreciation is due to high demand for good developers; the talented employees tend to move from job to job to increase their income. This causes issues with project continuity, especially on larger projects when you need to consider the training of replacement staff. Staff turnover will cause time delays and extra expense.
- Staff Morale During the process of moving some or all of these functions, there is likely to be a negative impact on staff. Even after the decision has been made to offshore, there will be an underlying negativity of further outsourcing and subsequent impact on jobs. Good communication is vital in keeping everyone honestly appraised of plans and actions. Attracting good quality staff into other areas of the business will be more challenging during this process.