A Nearshore firm is giving a new twist to the “follow the sun” approach in which a North American firm outsources development or support work to India so work can continue during overnight hours for the customer
It is doing so by taking over, from a client’s in-house staff in Malaysia, day time development and Tier 2 and Tier 3 support for four of the client’s internally developed supply chain applications.
The Latin American firm is Common Sense, a software development and services company with U.S. headquarters in San Antonio and a main development center in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Its client is a global semiconductor manufacturer which needs development and technical support for supply chain applications that allocate the chipmaker’s products among various types of customers, says Common Sense CEO Cesar D’Onofrio. The four applications are not only important for the client’s business but involve complex business rules governing not only the allocation of products but the credit and other terms offered to different levels of customers.
“We provide level 2 and 3 support and maintenance,” such as adding new features, for the four applications from 6 AM to 6 PM Central time,” he says, while the chip makers’ own staff in Malaysia takes over for the other twelve hours.
Cultural issues haven’t gotten in the way of handoffs of work between the Malaysian and Latin American staffs, he says, with both sides able to understand the other’s accents. As for the North American users, D’Onofrio says the comment he hears “over and over” is that they actually prefer working with his Latin American staff because of their cultural affinity and the fact they are in the same time zone.
This is only one of a number of ways, Donofrio says, in which Nearshoring providers can complement, rather than compete, with Indian firms. The same model, he says, could apply to a wide variety of software work and is being used by a variety of Western Hemisphere customers who “have the overnight work (such as) maintenance or new development” done in India, with “companies in Latin America doing the daily activities.”
For example, he says, “We are good at doing user interface design. We had done projects where we are doing the front end and the people in India are doing the back end for applications for North American users.” While Indian firms are seen as further along in areas such as process excellence for testing, interface design is a differentiator for companies in Latin America, he says.
Some customers actually prefer the fact that Nearshore firms aren’t too far into process, valuing the creativity and adaptability they bring to agile development projects that require quick changes in direction and frequent, informal brainstorming.