“Outsourcing” and “offshoring”—two words that have gotten a bad rap in the software industry—are gradually getting a whole new meaning thanks to an old friend: India.
Traditionally, and maybe in your mind now, the software industry perceives Indian offshoring as a poor choice, likely to end in applications that can’t scale, misunderstandings that result in unusable projects, and such high turnover, you were almost guaranteed to lose access to your app’s original developers. However, this is changing on a variety of fronts.
I have spent my career helping develop and foster the tech industry, both in the U.S. and India. Having relocated back to India, I have seen a sweeping change in the tech community that is profound and worth taking note of. For instance, the peak of the startup wave has passed over the U.S., but it’s now at its peak in India, bringing with it teams building complex technology companies and, perhaps more importantly, elevating the confidence and technical standards that were once lacking.
Rethinking outsourcing and offshoring
Today’s startups and enterprises are required to innovate fast and adapt to change faster. The better thought-out and faster your experiments are performed, the higher the return and chance of success. Traditional thinking in technology is to build an ace team internally. In an ideal world, that’s great. However, it’s not always easy and reasonable to do so.
Consider the following scenarios:
- Your internal team is most often built around one technology stack. If you need something built that requires a very different skill, and if that thing is not going to require a lot of changes in the future, it’s not worth building a team around that skill.
- Talent is getting scarce, and hiring solid talent is time-consuming. Would you rather have your product move faster or wait until you get the right team in place?
- Technology is overhyped, and technologists are only getting more and more expensive. A decent eight- to 10-people team will cost you a million dollars of burn per year. Are the features that you plan to build worth a million dollars? Bigger question is: Could you get it done at half the cost?
- You want to pay as you need. You might want to build software for a while, then market it, then come back in a month or two and start again. You want to have the flexibility on how much you spend each month on software per skill level so that you can better control the cash flow.
- If you are an enterprise, you might want to consider bringing in some fresh energy as the team you currently have becomes too “corporate-ish” and won’t be the best fit for the innovation you are trying to attain.
Offshoring once only happened for menial jobs—manual work, essential but not valuable work, and work that did not require creativity were the best candidates for offshoring. Price also played a key role.
However, I know that India’s economy is booming and isn’t slowing down anytime soon, so now might be a better time than ever to rethink old perceptions. Here are some major considerations when considering offshoring your development to India: