Experience of IT offshoring from the coal face

I recently blogged about reasons why the government might not want to limit the use of Intra Company Transfers (ICTs). As I do a lot of blog posts and receive a lot of reaction about the problems caused to UK IT professionals by offshoring I though it important to provide balance.

So I blogged 5 reasons why the government doesn’t really want to reduce the number of offshore IT workers in the UK. These were views from CIOs, lawyers and consultants. As expected I received some good reaction. This is great because that is what a blog is all about.

I received a comment from a reader known as Mark. He gives 11 reasons why offshoring is not so good. He is commenting on the view from the frontline where UK IT workers are dealing with offshore delivery on a day to day basis.

As I strive for balance here are Mark’s 11 reasons why offshoring is not as cheap and effective as you may think:

1. Training and knowledge transfer time.

2. Lower quality staff with poorer language and communication skills leading to an inferior functional and technical solution.

3. Drag on the productively of the onshore team. We have a few really good onshore technical developers but they are propping up “coach loads” of poor quality or mediocre offshore staff, substantially impacting their own productivity.

4. Communication overheads. When we have conference calls there is at least 10-15 minutes of waste at the start to get everybody logged on. Also, losing face to face contact and dealing with people who have poor English language skills means that these meetings tend to last for a very long time and achieve very little.

5. A higher rate of defects and rework when compared with work carried out onshore.

6. A higher incidence of total project failure.

7. Overbilling. Can you be sure that the staff you are being charged for were truly working full time for your business if you can’t actually see them.

8. Time zone differences, Indian staff on my project work until 2:30pm UK time but they are going to lunch as we arrive to the office and we are going for lunch just before they go home so we can only actually contact each other for 50% of the working day.

9. High turnover of staff in offshore “sweatshops”.

10. More resources, more management and more time required to achieve the same results.

11. Impact on morale of the onshore project team and key business users.