Is There Any Lead Paint In That Code? - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // IT Strategy
Commentary
11/15/2007
11:39 AM
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Is There Any Lead Paint In That Code?

Maybe outsourced IT work and offshore manufacturing are as different as apples and lead-painted oranges. But does the rash of tainted product news from China make you more edgy about the quality of IT work that's done outside the U.S.?

Maybe outsourced IT work and offshore manufacturing are as different as apples and lead-painted oranges. But does the rash of tainted product news from China make you more edgy about the quality of IT work that's done outside the U.S.?Sure, organizations like to argue that it's mainly "commodity" type IT work that they're offshoring to China, India, Eastern Europe, and other places.

However, in a recent feature story, my colleague Mary Hayes Weier reported that businesses admit they're also increasingly offshoring more critical and complex work these days. For instance, 40% of InformationWeek 500 companies this year say they're offshoring business processes, up from only 17% in 2004.

But of course that doesn't mean everyone is always satisfied with the outcome of offshore engagements. Twenty-percent of InformationWeek 500 companies also reveal that they've taken back offshored work in the last year.

When an offshore IT project fails, it's usually blamed on issues relating to disconnects between the client's expectations and the offshore company understanding the client's needs.

But even with detailed contracts spelling out what a client expects from offshored IT work, is quality still a worry? Are there any lead-paint-like time bombs that you fear -- but don't like to admit -- about your offshore IT work?

Even if you cancel an offshore contract and have the work re-done, are there still potential problems or lingering damage that might haunt you?

If so, what are they?

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