Having addressed the technicalities of why we went offshore, what model we applied, the location we chose, the out come and the future in the previous post it'd be natural progression to start a chain of journey posts to tell our readers about my journey from a 2 bed terrace in Gravesend in Kent to offices in London and Islamabad and clients in Chicago, London, Bristol, Nottingham, Manchester, Gent, Breda, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dubai, Doha, Islamabad, Hong Kong and Sydney.
To totally misquote Walter Elliot; success is not one long journey but many small ones.
My journey began in 1999; started life as an offshore project and supplier management contractor, went on to create a company (Ikonami) and build a team to cater for the growing demand. In its early days ikonami worked with clients in the UK managing their offshore software projects and suppliers in a range of countries from India, Israel, Pakistan, Romania, South Africa, Ukraine to some based in the Far East.
Ikonami was a bridge between UK companies and offshore software service providers.
Experiences over the next four years, a mix of frustrations and successes shaped our strategic thinking; in 2003 I concluded that ‘… there is a gap in the market for a world class software services supplier with an offshore development center, an onshore management center to deliver value adding software services at fair rates to SME’s and start-ups based in the UK’. You may say ‘..well such providers already existed and do..’, and you will be both right and wrong.
How many SME’s can afford the services of tier 1 offshore software service providers? Not many! Your savings will be in the range of 10-15% (if you could afford their rates) and as an SME or a start-up that is not what you are looking for or can afford, you are after that elusive holy grail that every outsourcing provider promises but seldom deliver; the upwards of 40% holy grail of savings but not at the cost of quality of service and deliverable.
And seeking that grail many SME’s and start ups forget to distinguish between ‘cheap’ and ‘good value’… and end up chasing monkeys. (Outsourcing is already 'great value' so spend that little bit extra to engage the 'right' provider for your business or clients.)
With that in mind and having experienced it first hand I decided to set up an offshore software development center (ODC) in South Asia. And build an offshore software development and support services delivery capability that matches the quality and consistency of tier 1 providers, including skills base, range and depth of knowledge of specific domains, hr and talent development practices and infrastructure… whilst being sensible about costs so as not to incur similar capital expenditure or ongoing overheads. That meant selecting our offshore location with considerable care.
My team and me delivered on that vision of consistent quality and mature processes, validated by accreditation's bagged within our first 12 months of setting up the ODC; Ikonami achieved ISO 9001-2000 and ISO 27001 certifications and were delivering over 40% savings for our clients consistently without any compromise on quality, timeliness and relationship. We exported local (UK) best practices to our ODC and soon became and remain an employer of choice for local talent, we have kept to our vision.
So in a nut-shell that is part of our journey.... or in the least our purpose is clearer! there is much more ... so more on more later.