On occasion we are asked if we offshore our development work or have an outsourcing partner that we work with, as many of the Technology consulting firms have done over the years. This is an interesting question and I think I would like to challenge you to consider this question closely. My understanding is that the reason we are asked this question is the feeling that if our development is outsourced the cost to delvier our software will be lower. The reality is is many times different and I will argue that the majority of SAP software enhancements cannot optimally be developed offshore without significant additonal cost and risk to success. The reality is that we do occasionally perform some of our work offshore but that work is very infrequent and it’s not because we couldn’t do it more often but because it is not cost effective for our clients and complementary to our noramlly aggressive timelines. Note that I am not against offshore development and am not commenting on wether this is the right thing to do, let’s for arguments sake just say that it is a reality and my intent is to just comment on the application of outsourced development.
We all love lists so let me throw out a list of considerations when considering outsourced development.
Requries a Liason
Many companies have learned over the years that working with any consulting partner requries a liason, normally this is a project manager but when outsourcing development a dedicated individual is requried that can manage the process of ensuring the development of the customer’s solution. Certainly this can be a project manager but depending on the size of the project what we have seen is that a individual that has a good understanding of the development domain and also the business process is ideally suited.
Timelines are out the window
Short timelines or tight timelines rarely work
The reason I am posting this on my blog is that this links to the use of the software blueprint and also the importance of the SAP Business analyst (SAP calls them Business Process Experts but as those who know me I would rather use a common term and not a SAP specific term where possible).