I believe technology can be exploited to greater levels than we have allowed. We are constrained by 20th century business models and ideas. Collectively, we need to move past technology for the sake of technology and truly focus on moving markets beyond the status quo!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

We Go Together Like…
David Cassidy and puka shells, Donny Osmond and purple socks, or chocolate and peanut butter. OK, I am dating myself, but there are just some things that do go together. I spent the past 2 weeks realizing there is some truth to this concept, even in technology.

On April 25, 2007 I was honored to deliver the keynote address at the SQS Software Quality Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany. This is a major event in the software quality world, with attendees coming from around the European Union to hear about quality and exchange ideas with others. While preparing the content for my keynote, I had several conversations with SQS CEO, Rudolf van Megen. Mr. van Megen has a unique outlook on the quality market and its future direction. During our conversations he told me of the big push in the German market, specifically, to using offshore providers.

This move to offshore work by German corporations was not surprising in as much it was an interesting study in market trends. A scant three years ago, most attendees at the SQS Software Quality Conference were more than somewhat skeptical about using offshore providers.

Today, in 2007, after learning about some of the inherent perils of offshore partnerships, the German market is wholly embracing the philosophy. Interestingly, the German market is certainly using providers in India as well as eastern Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, etc.), and South Africa.

With their pragmatic and disciplined approach to offshore partnerships, the German market learned the goal is not cost savings. The goal, rather, is to enable the strategic work of an organization by sending the tactical component to a trusted offshore provider. The German market has also taken in to consideration barriers, rather real or perceived, such as time zone, language, cultural issues, etc.

In just three years time, there has been a complete shift in thinking about offshore partnerships. Because of this, more strategic work is being enabled in the enterprise.

Now, with the strategic work staying local and tactical work going offshore, the technology that most likely goes together with offshore work is…yes, virtualization!

Virtualization technology delivers so much to an enterprise. First and foremost, it allows for a malleable enterprise environment to be delivered anywhere independent of an operating system.

The benefits of virtualization abound in a variety of use cases, but while I am talking about technology going together like David Cassidy and puka shells, offshore work is exponentially easier and far more predictable when using virtualization technology. Two of the more popular vendors offering virtual lab automation technology specifically for the application lifecycle are Surgient and VMware.

For example, an enterprise can use virtualization technology to allow its offshore partner to take an instantiation of an environment to use for development or testing. This “as close to production as possible” environment delivers enormous benefits to both the enterprise and offshore partner. The offshore partner does not have to wait for machines with the “standard” image to arrive at their location. Communication is enhanced. Predictable software delivery suddenly becomes achievable.

So, if you are using offshore partners figure out how virtualization technology can help you.

If you are using virtualization, figure out how you can gain efficiencies by engaging an offshore partner.

It’s as natural as chocolate and peanut butter or peanut butter and chocolate.
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