In my experience having worked in IT for fifteen years, Indian ITs have only one advantage, which is that they are cheap.
I can hire an Indian IT programmer for a quarter of the cost I can hire a local person to do the same job. There the advantage ends.
I have found that many Indian ITs are only “best” at being:
- dishonest. They lie on their CVs to meet job specifications, and end up not being able to do the job very well because they were never qualified for it to begin with.
- unproductive. They take multiple tea breaks throughout the day.
- slow. They take two to three times as long to get the job done.
- lack initiative. When they hit a problem, they don’t always pro-actively take steps to solve the problem, but rather idle around until you ask them and clear the problem for them.
- communication skills. Their English ability is not always the best, and there is too much risk of miscommunication.
- lose core skills. A business which depends too much on outsourcing ends up losing core in-house competencies: when your contractor leaves, he takes all the product knowledge with him, leaving the company to start from zero. Worse, your contractor takes your company’s knowledge over to your competitors.
Getting them to work on government or business systems involving sensitive or personal data is out of the question, even if you make them sign a telephone book of non-disclosure contracts. There is no way you can track where the data goes once it goes “offshore”, and there is no way to easily or cheaply enforce an NDA [i.e. non-disclosure agreement] in Indian jurisdiction if there is a breach. The potential damage from a worst-case scenario of an overseas data breach is far too great than any short-term cost benefits gained.
The best IT professionals I have worked with – project managers, programmers, business analysts and quality testers – have all been Singaporeans. They’re not as cheap as FTs, but their cost is more than justified by the productivity and quality of work.