Interactive Workshop On Outsourcing/Offshoring Issues
Over 130 professionals gathered on a brisk November afternoon to attend several practitioner led sessions at the Outsourcing/Offshoring Workshop at Bentley College. The workshop, jointly sponsored by TiE Boston’s Software and Services Business Forum together with the TiE Institute and Bentley College, focused on providing practical answers to outsourcing questions.
Dr. Raj Melville, co-chair for the event welcomed the attendees and the opening keynote speaker Dr. Paul Davies, former Managing Director of Unisys India and author of the book “What’s this India Business ?”. Dr. Davies presented an overview of the Offshoring phenomena. Pointing to an example where Polish bus drivers were brought in to man British busses, Dr. Davies mentioned that software offshoring was just a manifestation of the economic drive to increasing efficiency and lowering costs. With the drive to offshoring, Davies said that India was well positioned to maintain its lead as the premier offshoring location as it meets all the criteria companies look for when outsourcing. Ashok Boghani, co-chair of the workshop and representing TiE Institute, introduced Dr. Davies and moderated the subsequent discussion.
Companies attending the event ranged from early entrants just considering Offshoring to companies who had already started down the path of outsourcing. Prof. Donald Chand, Professor of CIS at Bentley College and co-chair for the event remarked “New management processes for global outsourcing of IT-enables services require deep understanding of technology mediated communications, inter-cultural communications, and handling distance and time zone differences. This workshop provides an opportunity to learn from people who are actively involved in shaping and managing offshore outsourcing initiatives, programs and projects.” Three different workshops allowed attendees to pick a session based on their level of interest and their software development model.
For those about to venture into Offshoring, 'Offshoring 101' moderated by Dr. William Schiano, Director of Bentley's Business-IT Research Center provided a lively and interactive forum to engage with a panel of experts consisting of:
· George Logemann, Managing Director, Logemann Consulting and formerly with EDS, The Yankee Group and IBM
· John Mandel, VP of Engineering, Marketsoft, and
· Kannan Chidambaram, President, Vedas, a locally based outsourcing services firm
· Dr. Vanita Shastri, Executive Director, Meru Foundation an expert on cross-cultural issues with distributed organizations
For Software Companies that were considering Offshoring as a means to manage their resources, a expert panel of Software VPs and CTOs shared their experiences. The session was moderated by Dr. Anil Khurana, Managing Partner, Access International LLC and a thought leader on issues of globalization and innovation, and included:
· Mike Pyle, Senior VP, Pegasystems
· Milan Shah, Vice President of Engineering, IMLogic
· Chuck Rehberg, CTO, Trigent
· Dr. Murali Menon, VP Engineering, Bladelogic
· Dr. James M. Butler, Executive Vice President and CTO, eCredit
· Sarah Zhang, Sales & Marketing Director for Huatek, one of China’s largest Outsourcing companies, and
· Prof. Sri Vasudevan, Computer Information Systems, Bentley College
Finally, for companies looking to augment their internal IT Applications and processes using offshore resources, Brad Power, Executive Director, Institute for Process Management, Babson College led an 'IT Applications Offshoring' session that brought together an expert panel consisting of:
· Mamoon Yunus, CTO, Forum Systems
· Abhay Mayur VP, Sovereign Bank
· Ramesh Advani, Vice President of Finance, Fidelity Investments India Operations
· Mohan Krishna Jonna, President, The Boston Group, and
· Prof Don Chand, Computer Information Systems, Bentley College
John Gillis, Executive VP and co-founder of Virtusa, as the closing Keynote speaker, drew on his company’s experience as a provider of software development outsourcing. With the increasing pressure to reduce costs, companies are looking to offshore development to leverage their resources. However Gillis cautioned that a company should approach this with a long term, strategic view to really take full advantage of offshore resources. Savings from strategic offshore investments will allow companies to redirect their resources to more productive revenue generating tasks.
After the workshop, attendees met and mingled over appetizers in a vendor area where they were able to meet with Offshoring service providers and software companies.
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