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India Software / Application development capability hyped?

January 6, 2009 | In: Uncategorized

I came across this posting on ZDNET blog by Dana Blankenhorn  about having commercial arms for supporting Open source software (Acquia vs Drupal) where the author made an interesting remark related to his IT outsourcing partner in India whose claim of expertise was false.



Since only provided a directory of possible assistance, we wound up dealing with an Indian outsourcer my partner was familiar with.

Their claim of expertise was false. I spent months trying to explain what we needed, and each iteration of the software grew worse. We finally got things rolling after another consultant turned us on to the new, stable Drupal code base.

“ Unquote


This brings an interesting debate as I have met many startups who are really really struggling on tech front and rue lack of good tech development capabilities in India. So it is great opportunity for SAAS model in India or a grim reality where it is really hard to get a very good technical competent team to do your technology development (read software development) ?


I was wondering if I can get first hand perspective from Entrepreneurs /  Techies on this?

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4 Responses to India Software / Application development capability hyped?


Manish Pahuja

January 6th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I agree there might be such incidents BUT to generalize this with India’s capability as software developers is kiddish to say the least. Everywhere in the world there are pretenders and unfortunately the author of the ZDNET article came across such a person. This should not be alarming since the success rate is much higher than otherwise.

My concern is with people generalizing India as a ‘cheap’ software hub- there is no limit how cheap can a person think cheap is! So in an effort to save more money, they settle for the least bid and suffer. I can vouch for this since I have been on the receiving end many times when I bid for a project, say, $1000 but the client says he has received a bid for $90!! Now the difference is too huge to simply ignore and so more bids are called-with $90 as benchmark now- and more often than not a bid in the range of $200-300 is accepted. So you can well imagine the future for this project!

A small time development company like mine quotes $1000, knowing fully well that a big company-like Wipro-will ask for $5000 for the same project. But the client approves only $300 and hires a developer- more such ZDNET articles will surface!

So, rather than blaming India for such issues, I suggest these people to do an introsepction and redefine cheap.

Manish Pahuja



January 6th, 2009 at 10:04 pm

I agree with Manish as in any growing environment there will be some people who will go out and get anything to do business.


Ajay Agrawal

January 7th, 2009 at 11:39 pm

There is an apt saying – ‘If you pay peanuts, what you get is monkeys’.

More often than not, the perception in the global market is that the Indian talent is cheap. Yes, it is cheaper than Europe, USA etc. for a variety of reasons but the buyer also has to be cautious and has to give due credit for quality. Quality costs money. If the buyer is looking for quality, then they have to be ready to pay adequately else they end up losing in the bargain. The short sightedness of some buyers in selecting the lowest bid is what dooms a project even before it has begun.

Another aspect essential for the success of any project is the communication skills of the buyer and the focus that they are able to give to a project not only in freezing the specs before the start of the project but also giving timely feedback for deliveries.

We have been in situations where the client kept on changing the specs very frequently because their business processes were not well defined but were not willing to pay for the extra effort!! When we refused further work on the project unless we were paid for the extra effort we were cited the fixed price contract. We walked out of the project rather than lose money. In the end, we were the ones who were bad mouthed and threatened with legal action.

In another instance, mid-way through the project the client got involved with some thing else and could not allocate adequate resources for testing the deliverables as per the contract. Our team was sitting idle resulting in time and revenue losses for us. When we asked for compensation, we were the ones who ‘did not understand the tough situation’ they were in etc. etc.

The reasons being put forward by the client may be quite different from the actual situation.

So far we have heard the story of just one side – the buyer. Let us also hear what the other side (the service provider) has to say.


Md Aijaz

March 25th, 2009 at 9:32 am

Try with a new partner atleast.

If someone giving a quote of $10000 and another for $1000 then think twice for the bigger one. Atleast for major products.

Freelancers provide a good support but for smaller projects though. So it is better to go for a growing business firm too.

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