Friday, November 29, 2013

Think Learn Test and Adept

At present business climate is going through rough weather for small to mid-size software outsourcing companies in India. So called benefits in the outsourcing sector such as low development cost, lower cost of operations, 24 x 7 development cycle and an offshore team of engineers that is fluent in English are not sustainable in growing economy scenario. When Business is sluggish, most of the clients are likely to become extra demanding in terms of getting their business benefit out of the application that you are developing and not ready to pay more than the contact price (Not considering any new CR), there is going to be more pressure on profitability. They also expect that the offshore company will have flexible operating resources (timings) and they have the capability to get their product up and running in market quickly with no extra cost. This is the time when you need to be more efficient, identify gaps between client expectations & the effort estimate. You need to focus more on adding value and get the commercial transactions processing smoothly as per current version of SLA.

Some companies make the mistake of engaging a junior developer to build software.  (Or we can say save cost) These resources will most likely work on only one project at a time without any prior experience and domain knowledge. This can result into rework and delay development / deliveries. More issues crop up when the person falls sick or resign from the job. Who is going to take their place? Is there proper documentation for what they created so another person can take over? Is there any proper knowledge transfer system in place? For the sake of telling the client, all companies claim that they have such system in place however it reality, it does not exist.

For every software service provider company, skilled resources are their “products”.  Only they can fuel the growth engine and decide future road map for the company. Unfortunately in India, attrition ratio keeps going high for skilled engineers. Today it has already become major road block for almost all companies and hampering their image in global market. Had it been top four Indian IT services companies - TCS, Wipro, Infosys, HCL, or a midsized software companies operating from B and C class cities, all companies have recognized that retaining talent is the biggest challenge. Retaining efficient and loyal employees is a key factor for uninterrupted growth of a company in this domain.

In India, no one becomes a software engineer for an outsourcing company simply because they love coding or consulting. They do take a job with local companies but their intention is to gain couple of years’ experience which may be the compulsory clause in some countries under their high skilled migration policy.

Every software engineering graduate in India wants to go to the U.S. on an H-1B employment visa or Australia or in Europe and wants to earn quick money in short span. There has always been an organic demand for Indian software engineers both in domestic and global markets. Most of the software engineers coming from middle or upper middle class have a common dream of earning in $ and send enough money back to India to buy a house, status to get a good life partner which is a key factor in cast specific arranged marriages in India or start some business of his own. This particular attitude of skill set makes the medium and small size software companies in India unstable.

The global software services market is always under constant fluctuation and when business is sluggish, bench increases with offshore service providers in India. This is another factor that directly or indirectly creates the fear for skilled resources and this insecurity feeling is pushing them to lookout for other options. When it comes to “other options”, they take the easy route of contacting their current or previous project provider abroad and try for the job. This is absolutely unethical practice however it has become so wide spread that most of the industry people have now taken it as “new normal” trend of 3 to 5 years job cycle. It is mandatory for small to medium-sized businesses into offshore software development services in 2014 to find out ways in which they can live with it and sustain their growth.

“It is the job of clever people to ask difficult questions. 
It is the job of very clever people to ask simple questions.”….
Colin Shaw

Bhartesh Sagar

November 29, 2013