Home or Away – Onshore or Offshore IT Programming Resources

Who has the advantage?

In the recent NFL Wildcard games all of the home teams failed to advance to the next round. Yet this week in the Divisional Round all of the home teams won. So is there really any advantage? This question is similar to the challenge CIO’s face when developing new software applications. Do we hire our own software engineers or we do we hire a 3rd party staff augmentation firm? Assuming they have the budget, time, infrastructure, and can find the right senior software developer in this competitive market, most CIO’s would hire a new associate. However finding great software developers is not easy, the cost is always more than you think, and the risk of hiring the wrong person is long term. In this “Agile” deliver-now world, 3rd party IT resource partners are vital. The question of Home or Away (Onshore or Offshore) becomes the next critical decision. Just like an NFL head coach you need a strategy and game plan. Many enterprise firms have outsourced key projects to Offshore companies such as WIPRO and others with various degrees of success over the years. At a recent CIO summit held by Advocate, a leading IT consulting firm, over 75% of attendees stated they were bringing critical applications and programs back to the USA. With security risks, poor communication, bad code, the additional time required to manage a long distance team, and the emergence of “Agile” in the enterprise, the CIO’s all felt the trend for the next few years was to stay home and stay close instead of offshoring. So what criteria should you use to make this decision? Here are a few guidelines:

  • Evaluate your current team’s strengths (rank all of your players)
  • Identify the IT resource gap from expertise to communication
  • Determine your timeframe and risk to deliver your application
  • Prioritize your best IT resources with applications then fill the gaps
  • Implement Agile development practices

Some risk analysis is always worth discussing with your team. Do these statements ring true? 

  • Onshore means fast turnaround, no timezone delays, good communication, and high-quality code
  • Offshore means lower cost, lack of control, poor code, and higher risk of failure 

Just like the NFL, all teams plan for success (home or away) – but the winning teams execute.  It’s all about communication, experience, skills, desire, and a team spirit (culture). So, before you make that next key decision, think about which team you want to play on.