Offshoring – A Trip to India
Nowadays companies are offshoring a lot of their operational tasks to countries that provide these services at a far better price. One of the countries that is in the offshoring market is India. A country that is famous for its curries, Bollywood movies and the Taj Mahal, which is one of the New7Wonders of the World. Additionally India has some good Universities were intelligent people are educated in various disciplines, for example IT.
For a customer, whom offshored IT operational tasks to India, a colleague and myself went to Pune in India to meet with the customers offshore IT operations team. One of the reasons why my colleague and I went to visit the offshore IT operations team was an attempt to improve the service level to the customer’s end users even further.
Offshoring brings challenges for example:
- Culture: one can’t change culture, however the Indians are a relationship driven people. So create and sustain a good working relationship and they will walk that extra mile for you.
- Language: the Indians are good in the English language by speech and writing. The end users usually speak English, so they can work together and resolve issues. If the end users don’t speak English a mediator is needed in the form of a team manager.
- Time zone difference: between the Netherlands and India (Pune) there is a 5,5 hours time difference. Shifts at some point overlap a few hours and the India teams usually work in 24 hour shifts.
We learned that the India IT operations team have the capacity to do a very good job. But can’t always do their job correctly because:
- Work instructions are unclear, incomplete or maintained incorrectly.
- Processes are unclear, incomplete or managed incorrectly.
- The onsite team isn’t always available, because they are too busy. Therefore cases get delayed.
- The offshore team is often unaware of the customer environment either from a technical or procedural point of view and the importance of certain business processes.
Make offshoring ‘work’
For starters the onsite and offshore teams need to understand why they are working together. A dedicated resource from the company is needed to work closely with the offshore team to make sure everything is streamlined correctly. In the end it is about customer satisfaction which can only be achieved by understand that they all are a part of the same team and have a common goal.
In order to make it successful, make sure:
- The teams communicate to each other.
- That work instructions and processes are documented correctly.
- A dedicated company resource is coaching the offshore team.
- That the onsite team trains the offshore team in the tasks they need to perform.
- To provide the offshore team with the feeling that they are a part of the ‘team’.
|Date / Day||Activity||Picture
|Departure from Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands via Frankfurt Airport, Germany to Pune Airport, India.||
|Arrival at JW Marriott Hotel Pune, with just 4 hours of sleep we went to the CompuCom office to meet the offshore operations team. The team was very open, kind and gracious with lots of hospitalities, like offering local food they made at home for us to taste. Also they offered to guide us as much as possible during our stay to get the most out of our stay in India.|
One of the first things we noticed and were very impressed to see was the traffic, no lanes, complete chaos, but in the midst of the chaos we could find some order. Cars, bikes, tuktuk’s (auto riksja), they take and give space, they warn each other by horning all the time, just to let each other know that they are close. So at one point I was wondering if they never crashed into each other, after we took a turn to go into another street a tuktuk crashed onto the back of our taxicab. Not much damage, but since this incident the taxi received a nickname ‘the cab of death’.
|While in the cab on the way to the CompuCom office we saw a holy cow trying to get into a small road shop, blocking the shop for potential customers. According to the Hindu people this a sacred animal, anyways still the holy cow was blocking the shop of the owner, so he gently waved the holy cow away with a broom. Successfully paving the way for potential customers again.|
First whole day at the CompuCom office to work with the team. We talked about the customer and what we are expecting from them. Meanwhile I received many question about issues they face. Also they asked me to tell them more about the infrastructure at the customer.
|A team member took us for a tour around the city. We visited the Shaniwar Wada palace fortress. Went to the Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati temple and been shopping in the Phoenix shopping mall.|
In the evening we dined with a couple of team members at the Pascha club which is on the rooftop of the JW Marriott hotel, they serve high quality authentic Indian food accompanied by some local beers, just delicious!
|Weekend day and relax day, gym, spa, pool.||
|Another great day at the office. Together we evaluated work instructions and transferred knowledge by working on the job.||
|Before we started the late shift, a team member took us to two more temples the Chaturshringi temple and the Kali Bari Samiti temple.|
Because Pune is known for their Universities, we went to the University campus were all kinds of faculties are located and people study.
Just before we drove off to work we made a quick stop at MG Road, a sort of shopping street, to do some additional shopping.
During the working shift we worked again on questions from the team and they explained were there pains were. So we took a lot of notes, at which we have to improve in order for the team to have an even more added value.
|During the team meeting Berry kept presentations on various technical subjects:|
• EMC Archiving
• Enterprise Content Management System
|Just before starting the shift Berry completed and passed an online certification for VCP 5.5 at the hotel, without any preparation.|
Another team meeting with some presentations by Berry.
|All good things come to end. Last short day at CompuCom with the team. Because we felt at home, it made saying goodbye the less part.|
At the hotel we were making preparations for our ‘The Voyage Home’.