Asda makes savings with Indian outsourcing project

Retail giant Asda has declared that it is prepared to use Indian software developers in the future following the success of...

Retail giant Asda has declared that it is prepared to use Indian software developers in the future following the success of outsourcing projects in the subcontinent.

James Rogers

Asda IT manager Doug Cliffe estimated that the company saved "hundreds of thousands of pounds" by outsourcing part of its Y2K conversion work to Indian company RS Software.

He said, "Given the right project, I would use Indians and RS Software again. The team were well-motivated, bright people who really knew what they were talking about."

The project, which took place between December 1998 and October 1999, involved shipping two Unix boxes to India.

Cliffe said, "This involved 14 systems in the central Unix area. The developers were doing Y2K conversion work and putting the applications into a format that was better to support the latest versions of systems software."

According to Cliffe, Asda made use of more than 20 software developers in India with another four working alongside them in the UK.

He said, "Going to India was a key part of the project. It was important that we saw the team in operation. Their man-management and training approach all sounded good but it was only when we met the team that we realised everything was in place."

Cliffe acknowledged that the language barrier and cultural differences presented minor problems but they were "not insurmountable".

Asda also used GSoft to fulfil a consultancy role in its dealings with RS Software. Cliffe explained, "Because of the need to get things up and running we really benefited from having someone with an existing relationship with the Indian business community."

Asda is one of many British companies that have employed Indian outsourcing skills successfully in the past few years.

Last year Thomas Cook saved more than £2m by outsourcing a foreign currency and travellers' cheque system to the subcontinent.

james.rogers@rbi.co.uk

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