Delivering best-value outcomes with distributed teams

IT Services have gone global and every serious IT services player has a ‘global delivery model’. Terms like near-shore, far-shore, multi-shore, right-shore, best-shore litter sales collateral; everyone has a ‘high quality Offshore Delivery Centre’; everyone is ‘globally integrated’. The picture is of a market that has matured into a level playing field, where global sourcing is painless. At Arrk Group we have a different view.

Next door global delivery

From the founding of Arrk we have always been a hybrid UK/Indian company, jointly managed and structured as a single horizontally integrated organisation. Single vision, single values, single culture, single management, single quality systems. Our Indian and UK teams work side-by-side (often ‘two-in-a-box’) to deliver services to our Customers.

In contrast most IT service providers are entering the global services arena either as an offshore company with an onsite presence or an onshore company with an offshore facility/partner. There are a number of problems inherent in both these models.

Direct line to service failure

With a traditional ‘direct’ offshore engagement model where a UK Customer contracts directly with an offshore supplier, problems in service are typically driven by the offshore supplier’s lack of UK domain knowledge, limited capability in effective customer relationships, inadequate delivery management capability, differences in language and culture and often fundamental disconnects in values and mutual understanding. This is often further compounded by the Customer’s lack of experience running an end-to-end service delivery operation with an offshore component, and managing an overseas supplier effectively. These issues are especially acute where the Customer has a requirement for rapid, bespoke application development to meet dynamic business needs. In these instances outsourcing is not simply about reducing the maintenance costs of steady-state systems, but of providing an enhanced capability (quality/capacity/efficiency) that is responsive to business needs. The danger in ‘offshore outsourcing’ in this context is that the service delivery teams become further disconnected from, and less able to serve, the needs of the end business customer.

Onshore ‘brokers’ add limited value

The alternative model, to engage with a local service provider with an offshore facility/partner, is often equally unsatisfactory. This is because unless both onshore and offshore organisations are highly integrated and experienced in working with one another these structural issues and friction are simply subcontracted further down the supply chain. The truly globally integrated organisation does not yet exist on a large scale and while industry leaders are beginning to wake up to the fact that multinational is not the same as globally integrated, the market is a long way from being mature in the regard. It is the Customer, of course, that ends up paying for this in higher baseline costs and an often unsatisfactory delivery outcome. Worse still, by engaging indirectly the Customer does not develop any experience in running an end-to-end service delivery operation with an offshore component.

Taking a pragmatic view

Our unique positioning as a hybrid UK/Indian company has given us a deep understanding of the global IT services market. We recognise not only the benefits but also the pitfalls and limitations of global delivery models. This sensitises us to the difficulties often faced by organisations in engaging with global suppliers and enables us to advise our Customers on a global delivery strategy that delivers the best balance between risk and reward. Furthermore, we have developed an integrated engagement and delivery model which provides creative solutions to many of the challenges and opportunities presented by global IT service delivery.

Integrated Global Delivery ModelTM

Our pioneering Integrated Global Delivery ModelTM, developed over the past ten years, combines best of breed capabilities of UK and Indian IT sectors into a Quality Management System and Knowledge Base that enables our Customers to integrate with global services rapidly, and at low risk, in a way that is tailored to the needs of their particular business. Key features of our Integrated Global Delivery ModelTM include:

  • Joined up trans-national delivery management teams
  • An expert UK customer engagement, consultancy and delivery management capability that is able to rapidly empathise and interpret customer objectives and requirements and ensure benefits are realised
  • An empowered offshore delivery management and technical services capability that understands how to successfully deliver software services using integrated mixed Indian and UK teams often located at multiple global sites
  • An integrated global quality management system for service delivery and customer engagement using common processes tailored to each Customer’s requirements
  • A proven governance, delivery management, software development and quality methodology.

Best of both worlds

Our UK team’s innate business domain knowledge and cultural empathy enable them to ‘bridge the divide’, by facilitating communication, and ‘break the ground’, especially in new engagements. Experts in global services and the Indian cultural context, they also play a role in coaching Customers in successful offshore engagement. This provides our Customers with the ‘best of both worlds’ – to capitalise on the benefits of Arrk’s best value offshore delivery capability whilst maintaining local accountability and support in the UK.

We share the principles, practices, processes, tools and techniques behind successful Integrated Global Delivery with our Customers in order to build these capabilities into an integrated Customer and Arrk joint team operation.

Arrk is extremely focused company offering a strong value proposition to large corporates, SMEs and software companies looking at offshoring. Arrk has a depth of understanding of UK businesses, plus strong integration between its UK and India operations.

Butler Technology Audit 2005