Why India is a Favorite Offshore Software Development Destination

India’s share of the global offshore software development market is nearly about 44%. India exported IT and ITeS services worth more than $40bn in the year ended March 2008, a rise of nearly 20.65% over the previous year. STPI director general, N Krishnan, said the all-India tentative IT/ITeS exports stood at Rs 2,04,662 crore in 2008-09 as against Rs 1,80,155 crore in the previous year, registering a growth of 20.65 percent.

In today’s competitive world, the offshore model is viewed as more than just a TCO (total cost of ownership) factor. It enables companies to excel at their core competencies while delegating/outsourcing the other non-core aspects of the business to an outsourcing partner. The offshore, outsourcing model truly enables an ecosystem where everybody wins including the company, outsourcing vendor and most importantly, the customer.

Besides cost savings, other benefits include forming virtual teams with exceptional portfolio of workers from around the globe; ability to operate a business network with surety of maintaining the compliance of set standards; increased productivity as a result of having focused professionals working for a considerably lesser payout; and saving up on logistics, infrastructure, taxations, specialized resources and management manpower and costs.

What makes India different? India is the only developing nation in the world whose economy’s structure is similar to a developed economy structure. India generates 52% of GDP from services and that’s quite a unique thing. The primary reasons for this economic structure is the political, cultural and educational infrastructure India has developed over last 60 years.

The government of India has enabled an ecosystem including policies and political environment, which has been helpful in improving the infrastructure as well as communication required for offshore software development services. The government has been a great supporter for software firms by providing the basic infrastructure required for an outsourcing company to thrive thus playing a major role in contributing to the success and well-being of IT outsourcing to India.

On the cultural level, being a democratic and tolerant culture; Indian social framework has inculcated the basic ingredients required to provide effective services. As the base of Indian society is primarily based on co-existence with others, it’s natural when it comes to extending services to companies all over the world.

On the educational aspect, India has huge reserves of highly qualified and English speaking workforce with minimum education as bachelors and masters. The IT professionals are highly skilled and qualified in their respective streams. Some of the Indian universities are ranked among the top schools in the world.

With the internal market booming and the very favorable environment for offshore, outsourcing software development services; Indian software and BPO segment is expected to grow at a rate of more than 16 per cent to become a 132 billion-dollar industry by 2012.

Reasons for Outsourcing Software Development

Every company makes decisions that are right for them. Outsourcing software development can be risky sometimes, as some of the outsourced projects fail to meet deadlines and requirements of the customer. The trick is to choose the ideal software vendor that will deliver all useful functionalities on time and on budget. Trustful software companies usually can boast an impressive portfolios of international projects in the corresponding field of the company’s industry.

For many companies software development and maintenance is just a function within a much larger enterprise. Only partnership with more tech-savvy software development companies can allow such companies to launch and deploy innovative products designed around emerging technologies like backend as a service or data mining. But the time moves forward, and most of corporate giants maintain their leading positions thanks to state-of-the-art technologies they buy and deploy. Ready-made software solutions are often not the best fit for a fast-developing business, as they lack certain features and don’t follow the main business logic of an enterprise. Under such conditions, outsourcing custom software development is the right move to do.

The first reason to outsource IT tasks is efficiency. Today many large companies have their own IT departments that are capable of developing some products in-house. The question is, in what situations it is efficient enough. Most of technology departments successfully cope with software integration, development and maintenance of minor priority products and third party systems. The smooth operation of an enterprise would be impossible without their modest work, but this is also a reason not to distract internal teams by supercomplex tasks.

The next reason is the qualifications and expertise of highly specialized IT production. Rational work of an enterprise serves the larger purposes than building software infrastructure and developing custom software. If the general course of business is other than IT, then it should not rely too much on its own technology department. To take, for example, mobile software development which is becoming more and more demanded by companies in various industries. But it also needs skills and expertise in a relatively specific subject, especially when it comes to iPhone programming. For this reason, even established technology vendors outsource mobile programming when they need mobile applications for enterprise or e-commerce use.

One of the most important reasons for outsourcing from the business point of view is that time is crucial for commercial success, and extra teams can significantly accelerate the development. When the decision is made to implement an absolutely new solution to boost sales or enable programming services, this software solution must be deployed as quickly as possible to make excellent progress on the company’s strategic plans. It is in the organization’s best interests to outsource software development to larger, better prepared teams of software developers that are able to accomplish the task quickly and focus on the best practices of development.

Finally, risk management experts also agree on the efficiency of outsourcing. Success of a software project is not only following the timeframe and specifications. Best software projects demand creativity and innovation, which is not easy to find in software companies specializing in offshore development. But the risks of failing the project partly lay on the contractor, so they are actually less than in case of in-house development. Risk sharing is also a very important reason for passing the tasks offshore, and the risks of failure can actually be considerably decreased by cooperation with reliable software vendors from countries with a strong legal system and profound education system. In this case, offshore development can be an answer to many challenges that increasingly complex business world is posing on many companies.

Open Source Software – an Educator’s Overview

I have always been keen on taking advantage of free offers. Given the choice between a fast food meal with a freebie or one without, I’ll plump for the mystery envelope every time. It’s human nature, and marketers know it well.

Even in 1979, when I bought my first home computer, there were user groups who supplied type-in listings for a nominal charge. When I bought the first of a series of Atari ST computers in the ’80s and ’90s, I was a regular customer and contributor to a public domain (PD) software library. Fast forward to the end of the ’90s and I was distributing the source code to a number of simple educational flash games to other teachers over the internet.

So that’s my credentials. Like many others, however, I have received much more from open source software than I have ever put in. For the uninitiated, it is worth explaining a few definitions here:

Shareware Software: is free to try, but there is a moral obligation to register your software with its creator and receive upgrades and support in return for a fee. The evaluation period may last for a reasonable length of time after which some features of the software may become unusable.

The Public Domain: if the creator of a work relinquishes all his rights to his intellectual property, it enters the public domain and can be used by others to create derivative works or profit from it without payment of any fees or need for some form of license.

License: many creators who wish to share their intellectual property with others will give away limited rights that allow the user to do a range of things – but still maintain overall control of the way their work is used. Many open source software developers will use the GNU Public License (GPL) as a framework for stating how their work can be used.

Open source software does not have to be synonymous with poorly written undocumented utilities that nobody else wants. Here are a few of my favourites:

Open Office: a fully-fledged office suite, word-processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and graphics package. The fact that these programs will export both PDF format to be read by Adobe Acrobat reader and SWF flash files for use on the web makes them incredibly useful to me. They are the main application software that I use on my laptop.

The GIMP: an image processing package with enough features to rival Photoshop. For younger artists, my daughters love Tux Paint with its variety of stamps and special features.

Moodle: an open source content management system specifically designed for educators. There are plenty of other open source CMS packages available for blogging or running your own web portal.