This blog is all about my experiences and insights as an Offshore Software Development Entrepreneur. It describes the inherent challenges that come with offshore development as well as the solutions we use at Ignite to create a high-performance cost-effective onsite-offshore software development model.

February 20, 2014

Outsourcing to India – The NO PROBLEMS problem

India has become a high competitor on the outsourcing market, striving to march its way to success. As it started fitting the high ball game of the IT world, it looks like many developing countries are left in the shadow of this giant. The main reasons for the Indian market for spreading its tentacles at the Outsourcing arena are:

- India boasts a large pool of computer literate and English speaking professionals
- It has the largest number of annually graduating students compared to any other country in the world
- The NRIs (Non Resident Indians)
- Cost effective
- Seemingly excellent process standards

The Indian software industry has been a remarkable success story, while managing to grow more than 30 percent annually for the past 20 years. India exports software services to more than 60 countries, with two thirds to the United States, including half of all Fortune 500. Indian software companies quickly moved up the value chain from performing low cost programming abroad to providing comprehensive software development services from India to overseas clients. An abundant pool of Indian, technical manpower due to early Government investment in technical education, created a series of good technical and management institutes that responded to a severe global shortage of technical manpower. English-speaking, trainable Indian firms, sent staff to onsite client facilities in the United States.
Indian professionals in Silicon Valley built personal networks and valuable reputations and used their growing influence within US companies to help Indian companies get a foot in the door of the expanding opportunity of outsourced IT work. Once the potential of software exports was demonstrated, the Indian Government helped build a high-speed data communication infrastructure, which allowed overseas Indians to return home and set up offshore sites for U.S. and British clients. The Indian “brand” image for affordable speed and quality grew.

So, it’s no wonder that India will lead the software developer population by 2018 according to a new study by Evans Data Corporation in its latest Global Developer Population and Demographic Study. India now has a software developer population of 2.75 million but by 2018, it is projected to show  an increase of almost 90% resulting in nearly 5.2 million developers.
The growth of IT in India is mainly helped by the rising population ( about half of the population being under the age of 25) and of course, economic growth.
Ukraine has joined Gartner’s list of TOP 30 outsourcing destinations since 2007 and it’s scored well on quality grounds. Increasingly, companies are choosing offshore providers in Eastern European countries such as Ukraine, where computer science skills are better and outsourcing providers appear to have a more in-depth understanding of their clients than competitors further east. And why is that?
If we take a look back to my previous blog article, I mentioned there that Ukraine was a major hub of scientific research for the Soviet Union , 40% of the total share, so there is a longstanding tradition of having strong educational system and significant availability of the high-qualified IT engineers. About 70% of the population has secondary or higher education, while 60% of Ukrainian Universities have graduates with majors in physics, mathematics and programming. With only 1% of all world’s population, Ukraine boasts 6% of the world’s physicists, mathematicians and computer programmers! India may win in terms of numbers or ITO development speed, but it’s no match to Ukraine’s longstanding scientific and strong educational system tradition.

So, in spite of the dazzling figures I mentioned above, I believe software outsourcing is more than a huge number of engineers that are ready to perform IT work cheaper comparing with the developed countries' engineers. Indian culture is very much service oriented and stuck into a passiveness that is not considered as an advantage when we are talking about software business. Just forget about any sign of proactive attitude when you turn to Indian developers. Maybe that’s enough for a customer service, but not when you need to be creative in your development. As a consequence of their service orientation, the Indian culture encourages swapping problems under the table and presenting any problems they may encounter as nothing to worry about.
Indian culture is in habit of not confronting authority, while Software development is all about identifying problems, and resolving conflicts through arguments (in a healthy manner). An Indian colleague of mine once said " there are NO PROBLEMS in India, the only problem in India is the NO PROBLEMS problem…."

This doesn’t happen in a real life software project as problems and challenges along the way are inevitable. It’s always best to discuss and solve the issues whenever you come across them along the way, then at the end of the project. This is something a Ukrainian developer is used to -raise the issues and find creative solutions to them. Think of the result and less of the process!

So, although India out thrones Ukraine in the numbers of developers, I definitely prefer one stubborn Ukrainian developer over ten obedient Indians!