Bring Price in Line with Quality?

I’m no fan of offshore outsourcing, but it has nothing to do with “our jobs” or anything else political. I believe in global markets, and the price of labor is what someone is willing to pay. When I saw this article, I got to thinking about my experience with offshore outsourcing.

My experience has been that offshore outsourcing is just not worth the money for three main reasons (and my experience has been with Indian consulting firms):

  1. The skills and expertise that are sold do not align with the skills and expertise of the resources that get assigned to your project (I’ve been there and talked to – and in some cases met – the people who ultimately get assigned).
  2. The English speaking skills that are sold do not align with the English speaking skills of the resources that are ultimately assigned to your project (again, been there, done – i.e., tried to communicate verbally with – that).
  3. In general, you have two opportunities to communicate with these resources: at 7am and 7pm (neither are times I particularly want to be on a conference call).
  4. The quality of work delivered is not what was promised, but in nearly every case it was “lack of proper requirements” (and I’ll admit, sometimes that was true), so my company got to pay to have the work done again.

Okay, that’s four reasons. And I could go on. To me, if you’re going to say, “Your project will be staffed with resources with fluent English skills, minimum of 2 years experience and a degree in IT” then that is what you should get. I’ve talked to these people. They’re usually right out of school and speak poor English. Email is definitely the way to go.

So, I believe $16/hour is still too high for the quality of work I’ve witnessed. I have nothing against outsourcing in principle. But I do have a problem with sugar-coating, deception, and bait-and-switch tactics. You know, sales. If you’re going to sell something, be able to deliver. That’s all. My experience with Offshore Outsourcing has made me a lot less gullible.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to answer an email regarding a wire transfer from Nigeria. This could be my big break! What? You got that email too? Oh, man…


I’m Gonna Work In Support

Okay, I’m practicing for work in support once my job is outsourced to China.  Here was a recent exchange I had with a customer:

Dear Support,

I am reporting the following error on my account:

Task ‘ – Receiving’ reported error (0x800CCC0F) : ‘The connection to the server was interrupted. If this problem continues, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).’

And here was my reply:

Thanks you, Customer, for recent the email of you.
We have diagnose and nice the potent problem of report you made. The reason
for error were:

Disk run low on volume /home

The problem has correct and your situation is standard at this time.
Thank are many to you for contact support.

Best oef greeting,
Whoe Support Team (now outsourced to China)

And the cool thing is, I think they believed I was actually in support! I’m so excited! I have so finely dulled my grammar and phrasing that I can work for any 2rd world support organization. Gosh, I miss software development, though. If only I could find a way to convince someone to pay me $10/hour for poor quality work that I could get them to pay me 4-5 times to redo – at $10/hour, of course – and blame them (of course) for poor requirements as the cause of all my rework.

Thank you my blog read. Please have is day nice please. That’ll be $10. 100 times.

U.S. Government to Outsource NASA to China

In a surprising move to people with a clue, the United States government announced today that it will outsource functions currently performed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to China. At a joint U.S./Chinese press conference in Beijing, a Chinese government spokesman was quoted as saying, “Is historic for U.S. and China and be huge step for relation. Our two country share lot and can say in same thing way too.” President Bush, on hand for the announcement replied, “I’m here today to talk about China.”

The Chinese space program has shown progress lately, launching an unmanned probe to orbit and study the moon. Early this century, the Chinese have made enormous advances in space technology, launching a man into orbit and bringing him safely to Earth, as shown in this 2005 photograph.

Chinese orbit the Earth

Seriously, I’m not making this part up…Read the article here

When asked for comment, a U.S. government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the current trend in IT outsourcing was used as a model, and that the “purely boneheaded reasoning to base such critical business function purely on the basis of cost as is done in IT did not play a factor here.” When reminded that the U.S. put a man in orbit more than 45 years ago, and that outsourcing America’s space agenda to a country that is just now doing that might be viewed as some as a step backwards the official said, “What do you know about science? There you liberal media people go again. I’m mean, no comment.”

A phone call to NASA headquarters was not immediately returned.

Pervasive Follows Apple Out Of India – “Tim-may!” (with apologies to SouthPark)

Ran across an article about Pervasive in Computerworld, and found a link to a
Network World article about the same topic. Seems that there is ever increasing employee turnover, increasing labor costs and insufficient management bandwidth to keep the operation going. In another post on this, the most important blog you will ever read, I noted from another Computerworld article that the boom continues for Indian outsourcing firms. This reminds me very much of the boom times in the late 90s where job turnover was high (along with salaries). But it can’t last forever. As labor costs continue to rise in India, the main value proposition of outsourcing (i.e., onshore labor cost savings) will continue to diminish until even the most braindead board will not want to continue throwing away their shareholders’ money as they are now.
Continue reading

“IT Outsourcing Boom Benefits Indian Firms”

This from Computerworld, April 24 issue. Looks like the Indian “Big 3” firms are doing quite well. Tata Consultancy Services, Ltd., Infosys Technologies Ltd., and Wipro Ltd., all report booming growth, with Wipro and Infosys reporting 30% and 35% full-year revenue growth, respectively. Reminds me of the mid-to-late 90s here in the US of A. Enjoy it while it lasts, fellas.

“Prenuptials For Offshoring” – Computerworld January 23, 2006

I read an article in Computerworld’s January 23 issue titled “‘Prenuptuals’ For Offshoring” and it made me think. Those of you who know me know that I’m no fan of offshore outsourcing. This article talks about things to put in your offshoring contract. Apparently it ain’t all that easy to get your money out of these folks if things turn sour. The expert quoted in the article (an attorney) recommends putting lots of escape clauses in the contract so you can get out of a bad relationship (or if you’ve committed lots of business to the particular outsourcing company, get out of the parts that are going south without having to sacrifice the relationship). Continue reading