I just saw an article in Boston.com that caught my attention. It’s titled “Internet outages hit India, Middle East” Written by Matthew Rossenberg January 31, 2008.
Here are some highlights from the article:
“NEW DELHI—India’s lucrative outsourcing industry struggled Thursday to overcome Internet slowdowns and outages after cuts in two undersea cables sliced the country’s bandwidth in half.”
“Such large-scale disruptions are rare but not unknown. East Asia suffered nearly two months of outages and slow service after an earthquake damaged undersea cables near Taiwan in December 2006.”
“The biggest impact to the rest of the world could come from the outages across India, where many U.S. companies outsource customer-service call centers and other back-office operations.”
“The companies that serve the (U.S.) East coast and (Britain) are worst affected. The delay is very bad in some cases,” he said. “They have to arrange backup plans or they have to accept the poor quality for the time being until the fiber is restored.”
“Big Indian outsourcing companies, such as Infosys and Wipro, said they were still trying to determine what, if any, disruptions to their work had taken place. ….”
I understand why companies are going offshore. English Speaking well educated technology resources at a fraction of the cost. When you do application development and you have an outage, in most cases the impact would be minimal to the business. Unless some critical update needed to be placed into business production code ASAP and you could not.
With a down database/failed database not being able to reach your Database Administrator could put you out of business fast.
My competitors with customer facing talent in the US and back office support in India or someplace else in the world would argue they U.S. team would do all the support. But if you have 100 DBA’s in India and 10 in the U.S. Can they really support their customers adequately when they were at 10% capacity. What if the outage went on for days or weeks.
The two quotes that distrurbed me most were “Such large-scale disruptions are rare but not unknown. East Asia suffered nearly two months of outages…..” Could that small U.S. team really support all the clients for two months.
The other quote that disturbed me “Big Indian outsourcing companies, such as Infosys and Wipro, said they were still trying to determine what, if any, disruptions to their work had taken place. ….”. Talk about the ostrich putting it’s head in the sand. Still trying to determine if any , disruptions to their work had taken place. Give it break. This was a big mess. Admit you have a big problem and you need to figure out a contingency plan to make sure you are able to support your customers if this happens in the future.
My other fear is proprietary information falling in the wrong hands, and the country you out sourced too laws do not provide adequate protection.
As a business owner I keep thinking about the fact I will have access to technical expertise at a fraction of the cost. Which translates into profits. By biggest fear a company trusts me to manage their database environment and it has a failure and we are not there for them. So for now we have decided to remain a 100% U.S. based offering. It’s a business decision we have made that costs us more, but we feel provides us a superior product in the marketplace. Perhaps that’s why we have a 7 year track records of near perfect customer satisfaction.
One thing I know for sure if the majority of my DBA’s were in India I would have had a big problem on my hands and I would know it. I would not have my head in the sand making statements like “Big Indian outsourcing companies, such as Infosys and Wipro, said they were still trying to determine what, if any, disruptions to their work had taken place.”
This is my two cents on this topic. I have a lot of respect for the Technical talent in India but if you cant maintain adequate IT infrastructure then it makes no sense to have DBA support offshore yet.
For those that want to read the entire article here is a link to it…..
Posted Michael Corey, Ntirety