Archive for July, 2006

19
JUL
2006

Signal 3: Are you already good at outsourcing (Giving up control?)

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Does your company currently outsource? I do not necessarily mean do you already outsource software engineering which people usually associate with outsourcing, but do you outsourcing anything. For example do you outsource accounting, PR, human resources recruiting, sales, field engineering, or IT support? Do any of these processes take place remotely, i.e. you do not see the people all of the time. Is your company already able to get work done when you do not see the people all of the time, when they are not in the same office every day. 

If your company already has business functions which are accomplished remotely, it sets a certain culture within the company that we want to carry out our work in the most efficient and if possible the most cost effective manner. Having this type of culture in the company makes it easier to spread outsourcing to other business functions.

Categories: Outsourcing SMB's |

18
JUL
2006

Signal 2: Documentation exists for existing application. System specs, design doc

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If you want updates made to an existing application, whether major or minor, the process will be greatly eased if the application is documented. Current documentation of the structure of the application, the database schema, etc., would be best. Using the documentation it will be obviously easier for remote software engineers to study together with the existing code to learn your application. They will be able to make updates to your application faster and leave you with a favorable impression of offshore work. If you do not have this assistance to provide them with updates may take longer and leave you with the wrong image of offshore outsourcing. 

If you do not have the most up to date documentation for your application, next best would be any of the documentation used to originally develop the application; original specifications, design document, etc. It can be expected that the functionality and the structure of the application has since changed, but something is better than nothing. At least an offshore team could get started to learn the application using the original definition documents and the existing code.

If you do not have this ocumentation, do not fear all is not lost. A good way to get an offshore team up to speed on your application, i.e., to begin knowledge transfer is to have them document your application, document the database schematic, dig through the code and document what is happening in the modules. Of course a lot of the software engineers may find this boring, but many will agree it is a good way to begin learning an application, especially in the absence of any other documentation.

Categories: Outsourcing SMB's |

10
JUL
2006

9 signals that your company is ready to outsource offshore, Signal 1: You have Sr. management buy-in.

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No matter what occurs in a company, as far as major projects or strategic directions are concerned, everyone agrees that you need to get Sr. management buy-in and offshore outsourcing is no exception.

This is somewhat of a no brainer which is why I have it listed as the first indicator that your company is ready to outsource. If you have this level of buy-in initially it is going to make the process much easier. If you don’t have it initially though, never fear, management can still be sold on it.

Throughout the process if you are leading the offshoring initiative, you will be selling multiple levels of personnel within the company so you will get a lot of practice at selling!

Categories: Outsourcing SMB's |

8
JUL
2006

Security threats in Outsourcing not just offshoring

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There has been a lot written recently about the theft charges against a HSBC employee in India. Most of the articles are used to show that their are security issues associated with offshoring. While I agree their are security risks which need to be mitigated when offshoring, I believe more strongly that those risks exist whether you are outsourcing offshore, outsourcing onshore or whether you work only with your own employees onshore.

A recent Information Week article lists a number of security breaches committed by US employees against their employers. None of these situations attracted as much attention as the Indian HSBC difficulty.

Check it out the article for yourself:  http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=188703447

The point is that is it important no matter who you are working with to mitigate your security risks and take appropriate steps to protect yourself.

Categories: Outsourcing SMB's |