Canadian firm opens Romanian office

Resource Information Systems has opened its Romanian Solutions Centre, allowing the firm to add the final offshore component to...

Resource Information Systems has opened its Romanian Solutions Centre, allowing the firm to add the final offshore component to its application support and maintenance (ASM) outsourcing service offerings.

Until now, Calgary-based RIS did not have an offshore outsourcing location, said chief executive officer Peter Thompson. The Bucharest centre will allow RIS to send specific, non-mission-critical projects overseas to provide further cost savings for both Canadian and US clients. Projects that can be offshored will typically fall within the application enhancement, upgrade and development categories.

As part of its Smart Shore delivery model, RIS also offers on-site outsourcing, which combines clients' internal staff with RIS' employees for mission-critical application support that requires onsite management and end-user collaboration.

Then there is near-site outsourcing, a nearby, lower-cost alternative for clients with on-site support needs who happen to be in higher-cost regions and who want to avoid displacing existing employees. Nearshore centres in Calgary and Toronto complete the portfolio of services, providing centralised application support services while maintaining the cultural proximity and time zone compatibility required for mission-critical ASM.

The Smart Shore delivery model is tailored specifically for the ASM market, said Thompson.

"In application support and maintenance, it's different - it's totally separate from development, infrastructure and help desk. There are different methodologies, types of processes, people and culture," which is why it's not wise to jump on the offshore bandwagon immediately.

"When you pick up an application and look at it from an offsite point of view first, if it's a mess, if it doesn't work and users are upset and screaming every day, it's not a candidate for offshoring."

Part of the RIS Smart Shore methodology is to assess the viability of the project from an onsite perspective first. "Rather than moving everything offshore to save money, you have to first make sure that there is maturity in the organisation [in an onsite setting]. Then you can look for specific work that can move offshore."

IDC Canada director of outsourcing services Jason Bremner said RIS is probably on the right track in terms of its delivery model.

"Clients want the flexibility of having services delivered from the right location, at the right time and to the right place. If that means some onshore, some onsite, some remote but in Canada, and some offshore, that's great - they want that. The service provider needs to consider its ability to provide various service delivery models if it touts that it has a global model."

The Bucharest will have 20 people working in it within then next six months or so, said Thompson. "We're getting it off the ground...and getting the structure going, proving the concept. Then we'll see the real growth happening after that."

Romania ranks sixth in the world in the number of certified IT professionals. Its government is committed to attracting and retaining IT talent by exempting IT professionals from income tax payment.

What made Romania an attractive location for RIS was the time zone and closer than India.

Thompson also noted that Indian companies are "in a bit of a whirlwind right now of high turnover and a dramatic increase in wages," while Romania, being a relatively newer location, does not have those problems and there is still some time before wages start going up.

Meta Group vice president Stephen Lepeak said the specific location of the new centre is not as significant as what this means for RIS in terms of business process capabilities.

"It highlights that this is not just about insource versus outsource, but about service provision becoming global.

"RIS is recognizing and building out their delivery capabilities. What is critical is their Smart process and methodology, which says 'how do you determine where to source IT services from?' The real issue is first 'should I insource or outsource?' and 'if I do make the decision to outsource, where should I go?'"

The benefits for RIS, according to Lepeak, include "broadening its global footprint, while being able to take the time to invest in a process to help clients determine where to place their services and why".

Patricia Pickett writes for

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