Domestic On-shoring is Better Most people are familiar with the move toward “off-shoring” of web development that took place in the early to mid-2000s. Agencies and other corporations alike could not resist the temptation to hire Interactive Professionals at mere pennies on the dollar compared to their US counterparts.
On a spreadsheet this approach seemed to promise a way to keep production costs low. But as any seasoned pro worth his or her salt will tell you, spreadsheet projections are often interesting but completely misleading.
It is not so much that we have an axe to grind with the theoretical benefits of off-shoring, but the marketplace has realized that the hassles of off-shoring are just not worth it.
- and that working with domestic (US) interactive firm is the best way to ensure the integrity of end product and budgets alike.
The Downsides of Off-Shoring
In the case of “off-shoring” to India, Ukraine, Russia, Brazil, etc, several significant issues were unearthed for which no spreadsheet could account:
Higher Stateside Project Management Costs – in many ways, working with off-shore talent is a lot like herding cats. For various reasons, beginning with cultural differences (even in the cases where English proficiency is not an issue), time zone disparities, national holidays, electricity outages, software, trends, design sensibilities, and myriad other challenges, Project Management hours (and therefore costs) typically skyrocket. In the most obscene cases, the stateside PM overhead can easily outrun any savings to be had in hourly production costs associated with a typical web project.
Higher Reworking Costs – as the vast majority of Interactive Pros who have managed off-shore development and/or design personnel will tell you, for various reasons the cost of having to re-work/tweak/fix code and designs burgeons when international fulfillment teams are in play. For instance, whereas a mock-up/concept might undergo 2-3 rounds of revisions with a Stateside Designer, a like project can easily entail 7-10 rounds of revisions to get a design just right when working with an off-shore designer. It is typically even more intensive as it relates to code.
Deadline Blow-outs – Of course, the mother of all issues (in a Client’s eyes anyway) is that of deadlines being pushed out seemingly indefinitely. This sort of thing really takes its toll on the Client/Vendor relationship, the internal and client-side primary stakeholders, as well as the Agency/Offshore Partner relationship.