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Offshore Economics Should Include Cultural Nuances

May 4, 2004

ITSM Watch Staff

By Kevin L. McLaughlin and Jerry Kenney

So how could we get the offshore team to understand the excitement and energy needed to successfully run and operate an internal service? We followed a front-office concept and had the India project/team lead come for three months and work next to our NA-based resources. By working shoulder-to-shoulder, we were able to share our daily routines and the lead was able to understand and experience why we pushed as hard as we did to meet our customer's expectations.

The next three months went well, and when the lead returned to Mumbai, it was soon obvious that the front office concept was a good one. They were quickly running at the same level of quality and efficiency as we had been accustomed to.

The contact was implemented with both good news and bad news. The bad news was a further reduction to our budget (by 25%), the good news was we now had a team of 22 resources - almost double the size of our previous team - and we were doing a lot more for less cost than ever before.

Since then, we have repeated a couple times this successful offshore teaming, and each time it is easier as we apply what we experience and learn with each new contract. The most important point to share is that building a successful offshore team is all about relationships. Not much different than building a virtual team, or an on-site NA-based high performance team.

As an additional reward, our original offshore team was so successful and dynamic that we won a prestigious Global Service Reward. Not bad for a project that saves my company about $705,000 annually.

Next month we will return to core ITSM concepts and talk about change in an ever-changing world. And we will not be talking nickels and dimes, either.

This article was written to discuss the strength in offshore resourcing and does contain some fiction to make it more fun to read. The details are fact. Atos Origin granted their permission to share this experience.

Kevin is a Service and Security Manager for Procter & Gamble, has his MS in Computer Science, his BS in MIS, is a PMP and has been an ITIL practitioner for more than five years. He is an ITIL exam grader, has his Manager's Certification in IT Service Management and is a Board Member for itSMF USA.

Prior to his Technology career, Kevin spent eight years as a Special Agent for the US Army CID Command.

Jerry Kenney is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Texts and Technology at the University of Central Florida. For the last four decades he has been a writer, trainer, and QA manager for a number of global corporations.