Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thoughts on offshore model

Slowly, offshoring is moving to higher end services like consulting and even specialised consulting. (Legal, Technical, Medical etc)

First, a brief on how the model works. Usually, there is an onsite co-ordinator who front ends with the customer and gathers requirements and inputs. An offshore consultant then provides the solution that is shipped back to the onsite consultant. This onsite consultant then presents this solution to the customer. The customer OKs or modifies it, and then the offshore consultant starts work to implement the solution.

My 2 penny:
Offshore -onsite model is like a split AC. The blower throws all the cold air, but the backend unit has to do all the work. Most importantly, the duct connecting the 2 must be absolutely clean and clear.

what this means in the real world:
The onsite co-ordinator usually gets the credit for all the work. Thats a reality that cannot be changed. The only time this will actually hurt the project is if the onsite co-ordinator also starts giving himself/herself that credit and forgets that the work is being executed by a more experienced consultant in the backend. The blower can throw the air, but there cannot be 2 cooling units in an AC.
The offshore consultant has to remember that the customer will never see how articulate one is, how well one has designed the solution et al. That clarity on expectation needs to be in place. Even if the customer knows that another consultant is doing this work in the backend, the onsite co-ordinator is the face and just as you see how white the blower of the split AC is, the customer will also see just one face.
The communication channel between these 2 must be absolutely transparent and clear. This is key to the success of the project. Sometimes, onsite co-ordinators might start to take decisions that rightfully belong to the offshore consultant. The offshore consultant then withholds good advice from the onsite co-ordinator. Thats like the AC failing. If there is an expectation mismatch, or if there is a communication error, it needs to be set right rightaway - by the 2 consultants in question.

Software programming organisations have been working this model for decades now with a very respectable level of success. The higher end industries should benchmark to see what works in that industry. After all, they are the pioneers of the game.

PS: do you think i shld start writing a separate technical/consulting blog instead of taking up byte space here?

1 comment:

J P Joshi said...

Enjoyed reading your thoughts on the offshore model.. the example of the split AC is really very appropriate.