I've used outsourced services several times successfully. I don't think using geographic location is necessary a good indicator for outsourcing value. In my experience it depends on the type of service you are seeking. For example, I've used crowdsourcing services for logo and web designs and discovered creativity has no geographic boundaries. Neither is the skill level necessarily the only indicator for the best creative. Some designs have been submissions from design student or freelancers with no formal training.
As for technical work, I seek service based on the following criteria:
- technical competency and skills
- communication skills
- Process skills (to manage overall risk of project)
- references from existing clients.
Country is secondary to the above list.
Here is an answer based on past experience of 14 years in the trade, it is by no means a generalization:
India: they will always say the can do it, you end up closing the deal with a sales person only to be relayed to someone who is not very fluent in English. You end up micro managing paying a lesser hour but wasting more time. (we stay away from)
Ukraine/Estonia: really good overall, language is a barrier but their math skills really show off in any of their projects. Prices are very competitive
Argentina: Great design and coding skills, If you know spanish then its a breeze. Argentinas pesos situation against the dollar makes it very competitive
Colombia: As well as Argentina very good on the design level, coding skills lets say they are evolving but future looks promising.
I don't think there is the best outsourcing value country for everyone. It really depends on your needs. For example, one of our customers has another small team in Ukraine with rare and excellent skill set which was the most important for him in spite of big time difference and lack of English speaking skills. Rather then picking by a country I would filter an outsourcing teams by some general criteria (the order doesn't assume importance, all of them are important in my opinion):
1. Close time zone and business hours intersection (from one of the reports I've red recently: most of European countries tend to near-shore). Desirable to meet in person.
2. How communication is organized (one of the key factors in my opinion, India and Philippines have an advantage in terms of English language and I guess it's much more easier to communicate).
3. Particular skill set, proven experience, references. It will be probably better to find particular experts at marketplace (like oDesk or Elance) and gather a team consisting of them if you need certain industry experience like speech recognition or video processing/streaming. If the skills are relatively general I would seek for a team which is specialized at this particular stack (RoR, for example). I observed both approaches and it worked.
4. Pricing model and budget (fixed price, risk sharing, gain sharing, etc).
Hope this helps.
Hi, I was formerly the CEO of RentACoder /vWorker and oversaw several thousand outsourcing engagements each month, from every imaginable country.
There is no one best country for everyone… each country is unique and so finding the best one for you is a matter of looking at your own needs and matching them up to what's available. For example,if the work you're doing is not unique and doesn't need to be protected with intellectual property laws, you can save the most money by going overseas to a country like Romania or India. If your project is mathematically oriented, it is often well worth it to choose someone from a former Russian republic with a very strong mathematical background. If you're looking for someone to just follow your very detailed spec not do anything creative, India may be the best choice.
However, none of those countries have good intellectual property laws. So if you outsource anything secret or proprietary, it often gets copied and released to the public without your permission. In that case, you will want to stick with the country that can protect you better. It may be the UK or the US, depending on where you are located (or Australia, if that's closer to your time zone).
I hope that helps, and if you want to explore this further for your particular situation, just give me a call here on Clarity.
Which is the 'best country'? Mmmmm that is difficult question to answer. One that is closer to your time zone would be good place to start. But more importantly I would assess your outsourcing options on the following criteria.
1. Do they have companies in your region that they have worked with before? If so can you get references?
2 Do they have local sales/account management?
3 I may have put this at no.3 but for me it is the most important. Do they have established project management processes? Ask them what software they use for project management, collaboration, code distribution, virtual communication etc. If they cant answer these questions and if you cant get access to them I wouldn't go anywhere near them.
4 How good is their written communication including the understanding of yours? Communication is important at the best of times but when you are outsourcing it is critical. Firstly it is important you have a comprehensive brief but then it is equally important that your outsource team can understand that brief. You should develop a test brief and see how they respond to it before engaging.
5 Price. Are they at least 3 x cheaper than what you can hire internally? If not hire and manage either local staff or contractors. If its not at least 3 x cheaper I dont believe you are saving any $ and only make the project more difficult.
6 Culture fit when it comes to meeting deadlines. This point is related to project management processes but I have found that in some cultures there is a tendency to agree to a deadline and guarantee they will deliver only to miss that deadline and worse still not communicate anything or feel that it is such a big issue. Probably the most frustrating part of outsourcing
Hope that helps. If you need any more assistance I'd be happy to discuss it further over the phone
Some interesting answers on this thread, and generally I agree that there is no 'best country' in general. But, if you want to drill down and describe exactly what you need, including communication, culture, legal, technical, and subject matter, etc. I can probably point you in the right direction.
Each region is very different, to say the least, but there is usually a best fit for each clients need. At SourceSeek we look at it like dating - you need two profiles to make a match, because the client and the vendor have to like each other and work together well. Having a 'skills fit' is necessary, but not enough!
Typically a 30 minute phone call is enough to determine a target region. Good luck!!
There are different countries that offer great outsourcing value depending on your needs, timezones and budget.
Eastern Europe has some great hubs (Hungary and Estonia for example), Asia has great engineers and obviously the USA (but they get a lot more expensive).
What are you trying to create? What do you want to build?
There are several countries which usually fall under the go-to countries when it comes to outsourcing tech.. These could include the Philippines. India, and other countries with low labor costs yet high quality professionals.
Since I'm from the Philippines and I've had experience being outsourced, I'd say that our clients prefer our services because first, we do have lower rates than others, as much as we deliver quality services (may it be through web content writing, SEO, customer service, internet marketing, etc.)
India is also a go-to because of the mentioned reasons.
We've hired 2,000 people, on average, for various short-term freelance tasks, per year. We've had great experiences with both in Bangladesh and the Philippines. We've found some of the best managers and writers in the Philippines. In addition, for various types of art design work, we've found success working with the super talents in Pakistan.
Since I'm not totally sure what you mean by "business and tech issues", I'm going to guess you mean what a lot of tech entrepreneurs I work with mean, which would be something to the affect of a) ad-hoc problem solving / consulting ("business issues") and b) smallish technical projects that don't necessarily have incredibly detailed written scopes ("tech issues"). I'm also going to assume you don't need 100% native English speaking fluency but that you DO need people working for you to have a decent amount of intuition. Finally, I'm going to go out on a limb and suppose that you don't want to pay the rates top providers in the US / UK / Australia / NZ would charge.
This is where I started out when I began outsourcing some of my company's work five years ago. While I now have a US-based staff, we still outsource from time to time to a short list of fantastic providers.
For dealing with issues where a deep understanding of the way business is done here in the US is required, we generally stick with providers in the US and Canada.
For knowledge work that can be coalesced into a process, the Philippines is great.
For the most complicated technical tasks we need done right, our sweet spot in terms of quality and affordability has been with providers in Eastern Bloc, especially Romania. For scaleable handling of all other technical tasks we have had good results with providers in the Ukraine, even with all the recent upheaval in that area in the world.
I've had experience with India and Argentina. I've found that at cheaper costs, Indian labor tends to have a language gap as well as a severe lack of critical and creative thinking. At higher costs, it's better to look elsewhere - which is what led me to Argentina. Costs are, of course, higher than India but being able to communicate during normal business hours is phenomenal. I have also found it MUCH easier to find extremely skilled workers, often with a very good grasp of English combined with technical knowledge, critical thinking skills and creative thinking skills.
I wholeheartedly believe in the Argentines and recommend looking there for talent.
India: by far the cheapest option, but you'll lose a lot of time in communication.
Eastern Europe: good quality, low prices, there's still a communication issue.
Try Greece: they have good engineers and people learn English from the age of 9. After the economic crisis, the labor expenses are low. You could find good quality and good portfolios at an amazingly low price.
You could give me a call and discuss about your project, budget and options. I can also suggest you companies with good portfolios from different countries.
Your primary focus should be:
- Communication skills
- Payment methods
It depends on the type of activities, skillset and infrastructure that you're talking about. In general, if the jobs are more to create mass production.. India, China, Philippines and probably emerging location like Vietnam and Pakistan will be a good.
if you're talking about higher value activities example development center for digital enterprise, Malaysia is a good location in terms of talent and infrastructure support.
Simply, there is no right or best country. Every start-up or company is different. The success criteria is unique to every circumstance. Each case has hard and soft criteria that is unique to them. That's why, and not to sound too sale-ay, my company helps companies, probably like you and ISVs and Start-ups outsource software development through our free, proprietary Accelerance Partner Matching System. We've assessed over 1,500 global software service companies, each of which have between 50-800 resources and, “are large enough to scale while small enough to care”. Today we have about 40 Accelerance Certified Expert Software Development Partners in over 20 countries!
Yes, 20 countries and certain locations within those countries chosen with such criteria as globally competitive pricing (e.g., $20-40/hr), under-leveraged yet deep talent pools, highly regarded education systems, political and macroeconomic stability, low employee turnover, strong experience dealing with Western clients (US, Canada, West Europe, Australia...)
Personally, I was a Division Manager at Cognizant since before they were 1,000 people (now they are 180,000!). I Founded, ran and sold a 200 person development shop in Costa Rica. Today, we have successful partners in Argentina, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Nepal, Peru, Belarus, Bolivia, Uruguay, Hungary, India, Mexico, China, Colombia, Romania, Venezuela, Armenia, Philippines, US, and a few others coming on line soon.
This free eBook might help add some insight to your inquiry: http://www.accelerance.com/images/downloads/Rapid%20Referral%20Process%20ebook.pdf
Hope this helps!
In Eastern Europe add Russia squarely to the top of the list. One must ask himself this question: why are Samsung's European Labs, Google's developmet, Microsofts labs and NVideo's labs, to name a few all located in Russia? High quality, inexpensive engineers, lowest corporate taxes, lowest income taxes, etc. Just look up job listings on sites like Linkedin, for Russia. A lot of IT job listings.
Outsourcing isn't about the location but about the actual service provider, whether you look at India, The Philippines, Eastern Europe, or even the US (you can find cost effective providers in the US, often doing it as a side job.) Focus on the quality of the work, not the location.
You can find the best value by outsourcing to areas like Eastern Europe, South America and South East Asia, which all have a low cost of living and large supply of technical talent. Companies in the US like to work with firms in South America because they are in the same time zone. Companies in Europe prefer working with outsourcers in Eastern Europe or South East Asia also because of proximity.
If you have the right selection process you can find great value in any of these three main geographies as they all have high quality talent. The key though is to be careful when assessing quality as within each geography you will find a wide distribution of talent so if you pick at random or if you optimize purely on price you will probably not find the right person. Usually its best to look for a highly talented person and focus on quality first.
India and Philippine from my own experience.
They are able to speak good English and possess specific expertise in different area. However when you get touch with any local outsourcing company or individual, It will be great if you go through the vetting process and selection.
the term value is is a bit of a broad stroke - but generally speaking I think the most "valuable" outsourcing solution requires leveraging of a hybrid of resources across multiple locations. Our shop focuses on core services in scalable and cost-driven countries (India) while engaging in higher-level consultative and communication-based positions across Eastern Europe; with management and sales/customer service driven solely out of the US. The most successful outsourcing or "globally distributed" infrastructures I have been blend a multitude of market resources and provide the best overall team composition that mitigates each market's risk (which can be unique depending on the market) but also maximizes the pros/upside of each market you are in (driving costs lower, availability of recruiting new resources, educational infrastructure, governmental and policy support etc.)