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A win-win approach to offshore outsourcing?

online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB107826873734544603,00.html

Lesson in India: Not Every Job Translates Overseas (ValiCert Learned Key Roles
Must Remain in U.S. For Outsourcing to Work)

"...optimistic predictions that the company would "cut the budget by half here and hire twice as many people there...The Indian engineers...omitted features Americans considered intuitive...The successful formula that emerged was to assign the India team bigger projects, rather than tasks requiring continual interaction with U.S. counterparts. The crucial jobs of crafting new products and features stayed in Silicon Valley. In the end, exporting some jobs ultimately led to adding a small but important number of new, higher-level positions in the U.S."

Maybe this is a win-win approach ?

Joe Hendricks
Wednesday, March 03, 2004


Quote <<.The Indian engineers...omitted features Americans considered intuitive...The successful formula that emerged was to assign the India team bigger projects, rather than tasks requiring continual interaction with U.S. counterparts. The crucial jobs of crafting new products and features stayed in Silicon Valley.>>

I am an Indian and i am not sure these kind of statements are correct. Both the positive and negative parts. You pay well and recruit properly, you get great guys who can analyze usability requirements well and can develop intuitive projects. At the same time, if you recruit poorly or pay poorly, even giving large projects with minimal interaction can result in a disaster.

Bottomline: As far as technical skills go, indians are not better or worse than americans, or more intuitive or less intuitive or.............

Karthik
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I doubt Americans have better intuition about software. Intuition just depends on how much experience you have with a type of application. The difference between Indians and Americans is Indians don't need as much money to live, because their houses and everything cost less. This seems obvious but I said it anyway. There are no other general important differences.

The Real PC
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Americans, and to a lesser extent Europeans, have been using computers as part of their everyday life for years. This is true of only a small minority of Indians in India. So you don't have the same "feel". Add to that the fact that Americans view comfort as the highest virtue, whilst to an Indian it is patience and you can see why there is a certain clash of cultures.

An analogy is the motor cycle industry. The Japanese started at the bottom with the Honda 50 and such like but gradually worked their way up until by the mid-seventies they were the prime players. But it was only after the British motorcycle industry went bust, and many of the laid-off engineers went to work in Japan, that they actually go the beasts to handle.

Or consider the Italian and the US road system, and speed limits, and then consider if it can partially explain the difference between a Ducati and a Harley.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Joe, there is no win-win approach in offshoring. Wealthy Indians and senior Western managements benefit at the cost of middle class Americans, Australian and Englishmen.

Claims that offshoring is win-win are are just part of the PR effort to counter anti-offshoring bills that are starting to worry Nasscom in India.

&me
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

<<Claims that offshoring is win-win are are just part of the PR effort to counter anti-offshoring bills that are starting to worry Nasscom in India. >>

Somewhat agree and somewhat disagree. The actual truth may be that it hurts those who have lost jobs in U.S and Europe but benefits the U.S economy as a whole. Now how much that trickles down to benefits for individual U.S consumers is a tricky question. The correct answer to that could be that no one knows. The McKinsey which claims its a win-win may not be the entire truth. Mckinsey, Gartner, KPMG are high class prostitutes. They will tell anything to those who sponsor their studies.

Karthik
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

> Mckinsey, Gartner, KPMG are high class prostitutes

That's a vile, despicable insult to prostitutes!

Burninator
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Karthik, you've certainly got the number of Gartner, McKinsey and KPMG. Gartner and McKinsey are both boosting offshoring as if they're independent, yet they do hefty commissioned studies for Nasscom, and earn fortunes from Indian offshorers.

The argument that it benefits Western economies in general is also part of the PR effort. All the business cheer squad have been happy to pick up on this as it makes it seem they know what they're talking about, and are barracking for the winning side.

&me
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

*lol*

Yeah, I'd sleep with the dirtiest, skankiest crack whore on ANY block before I'd sell my soul to those bastards.

HeWhoMustBeConfused
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Just look at who writes those McKinsey and Gartner reports.

For Gartner, it's often people who were formerly executives at some brain dead IT company.

For McKinsey, it's usually some brain-dead MBA whose daddy paid for him to go on after getting his first degree.

&me
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

> Americans, and to a lesser extent Europeans,
> have been using computers as part of their
> everyday life for years. This is true of only a
> small minority of Indians in India.

The assumption quoted above is false, I think.

I am a developer in Bucharest, Romania (East Europe), and have used computers since I was 13 years old (that is, since about 1990).

I started with a Sinclair Spectrum with 64 KB of memory. The local industry produced clones called HC85 (Home Computer 85) even in the times of communism.

Then I got a Commodore C64, and then graduated to my first IBM PC clone.

From the developers I know, most have started using computers at a similar age.

Jeremy
Thursday, March 04, 2004

Since you are a European, how does that contradict Stephen's assertion about Indians?

Chris Nahr
Thursday, March 04, 2004

It's not about Americans being better at "intuitive" things than Indians.  It is a matter of intuition being developed over time from close interaction with products and customers.

If an Indian company paid American programmers to develop an application targeted at the Indian market, the American programmers would demonstrate the same issues of lack of intuition.

T. Norman
Thursday, March 04, 2004

Actually I disagree with that T Norman. The issues we're talking about are common to software rather than to specific cultures.

&me
Thursday, March 04, 2004

> common to software rather than to specific cultures

Perhaps it's about problem domain knowledge, and knowledge of the client. In _Decliine and Fall of the American Programmer_, it said that for example India has the world's busiest shipping port: and so it would be natural for India to develop software to manage a huge shipping ports: because they have that problem-domain expertise.

That's what I thought of when I read "intuitive": writing software that solves the problem, even when the problem isn't fully stated in the requirements that are fed to you; which you're able to do if you have a background of experience in that domain.

Christopher Wells
Thursday, March 04, 2004

> common to software rather than to specific cultures <

I think actually the Issue is cultural that are causing the software issue.  I believe that the preception of what is intutive  in a interface can be dictated by cultural and lingustic training of the indivdual, as well as domain knoweledge.  We as human beings are all sightly arrogant in that we beleive the other person is exactly like us or exactly like this other group which is not necessarily true. 

An native Indian Programmer knows English as spoken in India and at least one other native Indian dialect.  The American  Business man knows American English, if he is lucky.  The cultural fundation is different and out look in general can be different. This will cause sutle difference in how they see how something should work.  This can cause big issues. 

A Software Build Guy
Thursday, March 04, 2004

It could also just be lack of experience... isn't the Indian software industry pretty new? (Where are all the Indian software products?)

Rick
Thursday, March 04, 2004

I grew up in an America where your business was your business. If a company wants to outsource to Mars, so be it, it's there business.  Anyone can think such action is good or bad. But it is not their business. I almost get this feeling that people think they have a right to coerce business owners into outsourcing or not outsourcing depending on how they currently feel.  Certainly all these arguments are meant to hopefully influence business owners and not politicians.

Me
Thursday, March 04, 2004

As shareholders and customers we do have the right to coerce businesses into outsourcing or not.

T. Norman
Thursday, March 04, 2004

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