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Nearshore IT outsourcing: facts and myths

Nearshore IT outsourcing, or simply “nearshoring”, is the practice of handing off parts or entire projects to a third-party provider that, in general, provides:

  • A certain degree of cost savings
  • Time zone proximity
  • Cultural and business practice similarities

Whenever you delegate a business need, there are associated factors that come into play. Assuming that finding someone that advertises a service is a warranty of them performing it in a professional manner is a mistake, one that people might not make in other circumstances. An email stating that “you can save 50% in your healthcare costs” makes the most positive person raise an eyebrow.

Fact #1: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Developing software and understanding the business are very different things. And one can’t fulfill the lack of the other one: adding more people doesn’t cover for the potential harm you’re inflicting to your project, client or even your corporate image. We see outsourcing disasters every day, and even though we are grateful because they are a great source of revenue (as we are hired to fix them), we encourage you to stay away.

Myth #1: “If I outsource my project I’ll finally have the time to focus on other things”

Would you hire someone to sit right next to you, and then go sailing and let it flow? No, you wouldn’t: you’d want to make sure that the new person has direction, understands the expectations, your business culture. It shouldn’t be any different when outsourcing, as only you know what you want.

Fact #2: “Know the person, then their background”

Sir Richard Branson recently tweeted “I focus on personality before qualifications“, and it can’t be a more accurate statement. That personality needs to go with yours. If you are a business person and expect to bond with geeks, you’ll probably fail. If you are a geek yourself and expect everyone else to be one, it will be a difficult path. Outsource the way you’d hire: take your time, evaluate their personality and look at their history of success.

Myth #2: “Only outsource work, never vision”

This solely depends on who you are trusting your business to. The incredibly capable tech leader you’d take pride on finding for your company also exists in other places, and is ready to work with you. Don’t prejudge. Don’t listen to other people’s outsourcing stories that are biased by their own successes and failures: everyone’s different. But do take into account that a closer time zone means more shared office hours. That a person in Argentina generally sees life closer to your vision than someone in China. That you need to feel comfortable. Happy nearshoring!

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