In a previous post we discussed how offshoring, despite its huge financial benefits, comes with inbuilt disadvantages. Even if you have found the perfect partner to work with. In this post we will examine the best ways of handling these disadvantages and making offshoring work for your company.
1) Cultural and language barriers between the companies – Maintain professional communication among all involved parties. At all possible occasions attempt to maintain polite and inoffensive communication especially when straying outside the boundaries of business. No matter what your perceived relationship with the client is, always keep a clear head, and mind what you speak, on both formal and informal occasions. Whenever possible attempt to understand something of the background the client comes from. In addition to helping you avoid topics which may be offensive to the client; it will also give you an opportunity to learn about the people you are doing business with.
2) Loss of customer focus, from the offshore company – It is rare to find this becoming a issue in recent times, as offshore companies are very much in touch with their clients and onsite counterparts. This particular drawback can be easily rectified by the employment of an offshore PM to ensure project timelines are maintained, and the employment of an offshore BA to ensure client requirements are met. An account manager to monitor client satisfaction levels and to ensure delivery is also an essential part in an offshore operation.
3) Time differences – Certain compromises have to be made to ensure the smooth continuity of operations in spite of the time differences, especially as one cannot twist time to suit oneself. As a first step, ensure the project plan is built with this in mind. Allow for meetings with offshore resources and clients / onsite resources to happen during the times most comfortable for both parties. Try to avoid extreme times for either party as it may result in a loss of focus, and sub-standard participation. Unless in emergencies plan for meetings well in advance, especially when a meeting is forced to take place at an inconvenient time for one party. Finally, at all times be conscious of your client’s business hours and attempt to complete all business during that time frame.
4) Heavy reliance on an onsite resource – Distribute the workload evenly between onsite and offshore resources. In case of an onsite BA, ensure that an offshore BA is available to back him/her up whenever possible. Avoid overburdening an onsite resource as much as possible, remember that he/she will be facing the client on a day to day basis, and is possibly under a certain level of stress. Therefore the additional workload maybe an unwelcome burden. It is also in the interest of the offshore company to ensure that the onsite resource has a offshore counterpart to ensure the smooth continuity of projects during the off hours of the onsite resource.