Sure, money’s a factor in any business decision, especially those concerning labor costs. But it shouldn’t be the only factor in the decision to use Nearshore resources. Saving money is always a good thing for your business but frugality alone won’t help unless you have other goals in mind. Expanding your reach with new talent, creating a more agile business, developing a multilingual support offering, or enhancing your range of available support hours are all equally good reasons for seeking out personnel in nearshore locations.
One of the most compelling reasons to go in search of nearshore resources is to expand your reach with new talent. By expanding your reach, you open the possibilities of exploring new ways of thinking, new techniques, and possibly new markets for your products and services. A person’s origin affects his opinions, approach to problems, creativity, and thought patterns. It’s almost impossible to quantify these intangible assets in any meaningful way. However, by realizing these differences, you’re able to capitalize on those differences.
As Kim Man Lui and Keith C. C. Chan stated in their book, Agile Teaming, “Software teaming is multidisciplinary, involving psychology, sociology, group dynamics, project management, and software engineering. Experts in different areas on team collaboration, however, are exploring more or less the same things.”
For example, if you hire five developers from Argentina, five from Puerto Rico, and five from Mexico, you’ll have three excellent teams approaching problems from three different angles. Not a bad thing if you’re looking for innovative and creative solutions. Anyone can crank out code and for just about any price that you want to pay, but the code quality you’ll receive for your money is another story. Software projects have a very high failure rate, which makes choosing talent a highly important task in the life of the project. Take that task too lightly or focus too much on cost savings and you’ll ensure the failure of your project.
Choosing nearshore developers means that your software will have multilanguage support by default
Creating an agile business is an economy-driven requirement and maintaining a competitive advantage is more difficult than ever. One way to attain and maintain this competitive advantage is to enlist nearshore labor resources to boost profitability, increase earnings per share, decrease time-to-market, and respond quickly to changing business needs.
For example, if your business existed prior to the Internet revolution, you probably had a set of tried-and-true business methods that had proved successful for the entire life of your business. However, if you didn’t create a more agile business and change with the times, you likely went out of business before 2000.
A more concrete example is that all software was once distributed on tape, then came floppy diskettes, next was the arrival of optical media, and now a large percentage of software developers deliver their software as downloadable and installable packages, and most recently, in App Stores. A software company not willing to change its delivery practices from tape to disk to download would stand as a fine example of a non-agile business. Enabling agile business practices avoids this catastrophe. Agility isn’t necessarily inexpensive but it’s the correct solution for business owners who want to remain in business.
It was once thought that English was the universal business language and the language of the Internet. We now find that this was never true and that business globalization has proven it. Internationalization, or ‘I18n’ as it is known, has become the standard for the world’s software developers. If your site and software is only available in English, or any single language, you’ve limited your available customer base.
Choosing nearshore developers means that your software will have multilanguage support by default. Why? Because there are diverse cultures in many of the nearshore locations and many developers will speak multiple languages themselves.
One of the best examples of a multi-language site is Wikipedia. The number of languages it supports almost guarantees that anyone in the world can use and enjoy the site and its offerings. Having a multilingual development team also decreases the chances that your product names will be offensive or silly to a particular customer base. All you have to do is remember the VIC-20 computer, the Chevy Nova, or the Ford Pinto to realize you need native speakers carefully placed in your target markets.
Expanded support hours
Attempting to support your software or online service via a “follow the sun” scenario can help your business reach customers outside of your normal business hours. Customers need support when they have problems, which incidentally, can fall far outside of your limited 9 to 5 business day. Nearshore resources can pick up where you leave off and provide around the clock support. And, yes, at a reasonable cost. But, beyond the hourly rates of your support personnel, what is a customer’s peace of mind and loyalty worth to you?
Additionally, if you’re into selling your products to a global market, do you have support personnel who can respond to customers in their native language? If not, you’d better have an extensive FAQ section on your site with multi-language support enabled.
Using lower cost locations can help your profits but there’s no guarantee that quality of service will follow. You have to select nearshore resources and partners intelligently and often you’ll get what you pay for. Decide first how you want to approach your business’s goals and let price be a secondary consideration. You can have the best of both worlds by using nearshore resources: An economically frugal workforce and a first-rate service. Remember that there’s more to any business than just saving a buck.
Ken Hess is a technical analyst, author and consultant. He writes regularly for Linux Magazine and ServerWatch. Read his other article for Nearshore Americas here.