Offshore Management Framework: The key to managing outsourced IT projects across time, distance and cultures.

July 11, 2008

Architecting Business Solutions vs. the Business of architecting technology solutions (continued)

In my previous post, I talked about the extending role of Enterprise Architects at services firms into Marchitects. This ‘selling’ of architecture services is no different from what our peers in client organizations undertake too.

Enterprise Architects, many of whom report into a CIO/CTO organization are also under continual pressure to ensure that the organization derives an optimal ROI from their IT investments, which means they need to ‘sell’ the value of robust, scalable architecture, planning and roadmaps to their stakeholders, some of whom may be focused on the tactical: ensuring that the quarterly targets are met, budgets balanced and operational challenges addressed. Even the ‘strategic’ focus may sometime involve reacting to external trends (read between the lines: it is the economy, slowdown etc)

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June 2, 2008

Offshore Architects as High Tech Cowboys

I read the interesting story about “High Tech Cowboys of the Deep Seas” in the Wired magazine a few months ago. [blog on] The part that caught my fancy was the distinct parallel between the Cowboy life of the protagonists in the story and Architects working for offshoring firms: experts in their niche skills who are able and willing to travel to unchartered waters (literally) to salvage sinking ships (or projects). Unlike the Deep-Sea-Cowboys, the Offshoring ones don’t generally risk their lives or limbs; though it sometimes feels like it when one hits rough tides in projects. This said, for Architect-cowboys, roughing-it-up may include a missed flight connection or being stranded at an unscheduled stopover due to inclement weather, secondary inspections at unusually long immigration and customs etc etc.

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April 28, 2008

Observations on Hiring Consultants Onsite

Last week, I had blogged about how my offshoring blog is doubling as a recruiting tool. Of course, not all recruiting has moved the Web 2.0 way. Though much of recruitment for offshoring firms happens at offshore base locations, sourcing firms, including my employer, are also hiring top-end technology consultants onsite; albeit selectively.  

I had an interesting time interacting with and interviewing fellow consultants and technologists the past couple of weeks. The consultants in question were referred to us by the head of their company’s consulting practice since the group was being disbanded due to some corporate restructuring; and the management of the firm had offered to connect them with other partner organizations (including Infosys). Why that group was being disbanded rather than being offered/sold as a consulting practice is something I had no intention of probing. So here I was, working with my colleagues to whet the profiles from that data set, and began making cold calls to talk with the prospective candidates. A few observations based on my interactions with the prospects:

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February 22, 2008

Additional Comments on : What makes a client offshore visit successful?

I was reviewing Michael’s detailed comment to my blog entry on my earlier note “What makes a client offshore visit successful?” and I thought I should do justice by re-posting it on a blog entry as many readers may not have RSS to comments of the blog.

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January 18, 2008

Lack of Innovation in offshoring/outsourcing services?

Steve Hamm, in his recent blog questions “Does Outsourcing Retard Innovation?.” in the brief blog, he hypothesizes  how “Accenture, IBM, and the Indian tech services outfits talk a lot about transformational services, but, it seems, not a lot of clients are taking them up on it.” Nothing innovative in this statement! (pun intended). Steve’s blog takes off from his discussion with Bob Suh, Accenture’s chief technology strategist whose conclusion seems to be similar to a BCG survey from a few months ago. [my blog: Execs frustrated by lack of innovation : Can offshoring help?]

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January 13, 2008

Offshore Architects, Legacy maintenance and modernization

I was reflecting on the nature of engagements that some of our teams undertake, more because of the fact that the engagements mirror the portfolio owned by CIOs, essentially trends in typical IT shops and it is a no-brainer: a larger percentage of work involves maintenance and sustenance of IT systems. [ref: Software maintenance - who's interested?]

The challenge in such (application maintenance management) scenarios is not in the intricacy of work but the fact that it is not seen as sexy or cool by many developers, and software engineers, and even less so by most software architects. The reason is obvious: the industry has glamorized new development as being ‘creative’ while labeling maintenance to an equivalent of ‘grunt work.’ Given this mindset, it wouldn’t make sense for me to even attempt making an argument for why architects should get more involved in ‘legacy’ work but here it goes anyways.

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October 21, 2007

Big sourcing deals and managing offshoring programs

Last week there was an interesting news release about Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the Netherlands-based Nielsen Company inking a large sourcing deal, by some accounts, the largest sourcing/offshoring deal by an Indian services firm. Coming at a time when naysayers were beginning to question the sustainability of the model in light of challenges of rupee/currency fluctuations, questions on India/China etc, this is bound to provide fodder to strategists and deal consultants who are bound to analyze the intricacies for sometime to come.

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September 26, 2007

M & A among offshorers .. or is it Offshoring M & A?

Infosys Rumored To Eye Bid For Capgemini ran a headline in Forbes and other business media, earlier this summer, causing a bit of a buzz in the stock-markets. Quoting the forbes article “They’re both denying it, but the markets are abuzz with rumors that Indian software giant Infosys will attempt to acquire a controlling stake in European tech consultancy Capgemini”  Another news, this time about a real merger in the offshoring space [Wipro completes cash tender offer for Infocrossing] was also watched closely by analysts and technologists alike.

Now, I am not given to rumors, but in my day job as an Architect, consultant and advisor to CxOs and technology leaders, I come across my share of smoke-and-mirrors on various aspects of technology management, including on Mergers and Acquisitions. I have to be cautious in voicing my opinion as I am bound by my employment contract, but then, it is hard for me to totally abstain from analysis of ‘hypothetical’ possibilities, the ‘what if’ scenario planning as management gurus call it.  And this is certainly a trend that media is closely watching. [Example, #1 among the “Five outsourcing trends to watch” Consolidation … also blogged online ]

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August 28, 2007

Musings on Offshoring, immigration, visas and attrition

Wall Street Journal had an interesting article “Firms Get Creative To Work Around Visa Bottlenecks” that looks at different aspects of challenges faced by employers planning for foreign-born candidates in America.

As organizations globalize and continue to hire the topic is sure to generate interest among sourcing managers.

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August 22, 2007

Offshoring companies and innovation: Infosys ACM award

While the jury is debating on whether offshoring can help in innovation [Execs frustrated by lack of innovation : Can offshoring help?]… offshoring companies, including Infosys are certainly trying to help seed innovation.

Interesting announcement: ACM and Infosys Technologies Announce New Award to Recognize Contemporary Computing Research and Innovaton

Jim Horning comments: "The Grace Murray Hopper Award is for a contribution made before age 35. The new ACM / Infosys Foundation Award does not have such a strict definition of "young." Fortunately, there is not a shortage of stellar young contributors, by either definition. ACM thinks there is room for both awards."