Outsourcing: The world is your oyster

* Outsourcing/offshoring companies to consider

Today, I want to share with you some of the notes I've received from various people who are directly involved in outsourcing and offshoring.

First, suppose that you own a software firm specializing in service-quality management for telecommunications companies and you needed someone who a) could program in Java and b) who knew something about telcos. Oh, and you wanted them right away and really (I mean really) inexpensively. Where would you turn? This was Bill Prescott's problem as manager of engineering for West Ridge Networks.

He turned to MapleWorks (http://www.mapleworks.com), an outsourcing software development specialist based out of Ottawa, Canada, with an additional office in Boston. Paul Gasparro, a co-founder of MapleWorks was able to dig up not one but two such programmers at a price-point that met Prescott's budget.

Operating under a special tax refund program in Canada called Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED), Gasparro is able to source high-quality, low-cost developers. Prescott says that he was not able to find programmers in India with the kind of specialty programming expertise he needed at the price he was able to pay. MapleWorks delivered.

Another reader wrote in to say that Trados (http://www.trados.com) is a company with a different perspective. The idea is this: You've outsourced a lot and now you find that you're having trouble getting all of the outsourcing company's content straight thanks to language differences. Trados has software that significantly eases the deployment of content in globalized environments, whether that content consists of Web sites, intranets, product documentation or other written materials.

I was interested in Trados because I feel its market is probably an area that is usually overlooked when organizations decide to outsource but one that could represent significant delays and costs if not handled well.

If you're looking to make sense out of the whole offshoring/outsourcing scenario, you may be interested in Mohan Babu's upcoming book about the subject. Titled "Offshoring IT Services: A Framework for Managing Outsourced Projects" you can find out more about the publication at http://www.offshoringmanagement.com.

Finally, I heard from a couple of readers who wanted to tell me why we should outsource work to Vietnam and Brazil.

Nguyen Huu Lee e-mailed me a delightful missive regarding TMA (http://www.tmasolutions.com), of which he is chairman. He enthused about the company's capabilities and how nice Vietnam is to work and to visit. On its Web site, TMA describes itself as the largest software outsourcing company in Vietnam with 500-plus software engineers and 7-years of experience in providing software services to companies including Nortel, Lucent and Japan's NTT-Data.

Tom Price, a reader from Brazil and a senior partner at Tom Price & Associates, wrote me to try to captivate my interest in Brazilian outsourcing suppliers. I think that CAFTA and FTAA efforts (see link below) will make South America a very interesting place to source in the future.

Price says that Brazil offers a growing community of small and midsize software development companies that are servicing such multinational companies as Johnson and Johnson, Bunge, Citibank, Pirelli, EDS, Gerdau, Dell and John Deere. He says that Brazil offers a "strong talent on software specification and design" with "reasonably cheaper labor costs in comparison to U.S. and European costs."

Price says he is more than willing to talk to readers about outsourcing in Brazil and you can contact him at tomprice@terra.com.br .

Thanks to all you faithful readers who take the time to write me and express your thoughts!

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