Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: "Outsourced Product Development" widely seen

Bloggers have started noticing the articles posted by Intelligent Solutions, and one of the blog owners has invited me to contribute to the outsourcing blog of Go4outsourcing.com. The blogger has republished the article"Outsource Product Development- Time and Reason" published in ezinearticles that can be seen at blog.go4outsourcing.com

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: When does outsource product development make sense?

Outsourced product development has caught the imagination of the entire business world. Sometimes, an enterprise opts for outsourced product development to manage costs, boost bottom line and save time for core activities. Other times, some strategic purposes such as dispense with some centers located at critical geographical regions have bearing on the option for outsource product development.

There are several reasons can be cited for outsourcing option. But the moot question is -When does outsourcing make sense?

What are the reasons to outsource product development?

Acquiring Expertise

One of the most plausible and successful reasons to offshore product development is to acquire expertise not currently available within the company. This lack of expertise could be because of a specific, non-core activity within the company, or it could be due to sudden rise in demand that exceeds the company’s existing capability.

Building Additional Resources

One very obvious reason to outsource is to supplement the number of development teams available to complete projects. Actually, in most of the cases firms prefer to staff below their total development capabilities in order to lower costs and risk, and with outsourcing they escape the possible burden of repetitive layoffs and hiring sprees.

This approach to outsourcing, or resource expansion, works well when the company outsourcing the project understands the capabilities required to effectively outsource a development project.

Minimizing Development Costs

One very pertinent reason to outsourcing is to minimize costs involved in the development of products. Outsourcing seems to be a better and cost-effective measure, if you take into consideration all costs involved in maintaining the necessary capabilities within your company, which include:

  • Employee costs such as salary, taxes, benefits, etc.

  • Overhead expenditure on office space, desks, computer, training, software and hardware tools, etc.

  • Supporting costs on information systems, management, human resources, payroll, etc.

  • Risk costs such as downsizing costs including severance pay, legal support, etc.

In addition, certain irritating questions keep recurring such as:

  • How do we build and maintain a high quality development team within our corporate culture?

  • What traits and skills are important? Are those traits and skills available in our area of geography and expertise? How long will it take? What will it cost?

  • How many teams will we need today and should we try to staff every project internally?

In addition, organizations having internal product development resources that choose to outsource product development projects can have the following benefits of outsourcing:

  • Gaining new perspective & process

  • Acquiring quality system reviews, and

  • Gaining industry standard practices

To glean the maximum benefit, the firm outsourcing the development should have systems in place to imbibe within the lessons-learned and to integrate them into its systems where appropriate.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Steps to Ensure Successful Outsourced Product Development

Successful launch of product development hinges heavily on cautious planning, unambiguous characterization, and effectual communication. To completely define your outsourced product development projects and accordingly map out your road to success, three primary rungs of analysis must be done with a well thought out process, comprising Product Requirements, Project requirements, and Design Requirements.

Product Requirements

It usually starts with customer or marketing requirements and flows through the system engineering and regulatory process to fully define how the product will look, feel, and perform once it is complete.

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Project Requirements

Precisely, project requirement process sketches out a clear development plan that considers and documents interface points, tools, risks, and defines how information will flow, how system will be used, and how obstacles will be overcome.

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Design Transfer Definition

The design transfer definition comes at the final step to ensure successful outsourced product development. The optimal end result from this process is a sender that fully understands the formats, templates, and best-practices expected by the receiver and a receiver that knows which outputs will be sent and in what format and timeframe to expect them.

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Bottom Line
With careful, up-front analysis of the product, project, and design transfer requirements as a critical first step, your company will be on the road to outsourced product development success.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Outsourced Product Development - Rising Phenomenon

Outsourcing today is no longer seen as an option only for repetitive, non-innovative, and non-strategic functions; it is increasingly being evaluated and regarded as a viable option for more strategic business functions. One such area that has seen new and growing interest in outsourcing is outsourced product development.

In the backdrop of speedily changing business environment, stiff competition, and declining market shares, companies have been challenged to expand into new markets, introduce new and innovative products, and apply the latest offshore product development technology to their development work.

Major outsourcing driving factors:

•Cost efficiency
•Focus on core business
•Reduce/manage risk
•Solve business process issue
•Access to technology
•Optimize application investment
•Headcount reduction
•Transfer management and maintenance
•Achieve cost variability
•Asset reduction
•Access to global expertise
•Derive incremental revenue

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Optimized Articles

7 Techniques to Ensure Higher Rankings on Search Engines

Optimized articles help web sites get higher rankings on search engines. Webmasters love to link such sites which provide relevant information. To maximize the benefits of writing unique articles, it makes smart business sense to go for optimized articles to get the web site of those posted articles placed higher on search engine results pages.

Optimized Articles: Techniques
To write an optimized article, you need to apply a host of search engine techniques throughout the content of the article. Given are the 7 techniques of writing optimized articles:

Optimized Articles Technique 1
Select Targeted Keywords

Optimized Articles: Technique 2
Put Top Targeted Keyword in the Article’s Title

Optimized Articles: Technique 3
Spread the Keywords throughout the Content

Optimized Articles: Technique 4
Place Keywords in the First Paragraph of the Article

Optimized Articles: Technique 5
Incorporate Keywords in the Final Paragraph

Optimized Articles: Technique 6
Enclose subheadings with h HTML tags

Optimized Articles: Technique 7
Article submission
to online publishers

Optimized Articles fetch increased ranking on various search engines.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Why Search Engines Love Quality Content Web Sites?

What Makes A Web Site Successful?
Content, content, and content. To have a successful web promotion, you need to have quality content as search engines understand content or plain html text. Content with right mix of keywords not only ensures higher search engine rankings but also drives increasing number of potential customers to your web site.

Driving traffic to your web site is just one aspect of search engine optimization. What makes the difference and enhances your visibility on Google, Alta Vista, Yahoo and other search engines is the content, a treasure trove out of the ordinary and valuable information that keep your visitors coming back frequently. Beyond doubt, content of a web site must be interesting if it is to be effective.

What Makes Quality Content?
In today’s Information technology driven world flooded with information and content glut, what makes quality content that get your visitors hooked to your web site? And, how do you charm your visitors with interesting content?

What Makes Content Friendly to Visitors & Spiders?
Given are the ways of good content creation with which you can grab the attention of search engine spiders and targeted traffic:

•Plan and Identify Keywords and Audience before You Write
•Use of Interactive and Active language
•Write Articles & Blogs
•Place regular Press Releases
•Use of Anchor text
•Avoid Over-optimizing

Creating good content is a facilitator that lets your visitors to delve deeper into your web site. Taking the time to develop your content and strategy to optimize for spiders will pay off in returning visitors and good search engine rankings.
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Monday, October 24, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Web maketing with Article writing

Promotionworld, the free search engine submission and website promotion site, has published recently my write-up on Article writing, which has steadily become a proven web promotion tool for your website/online business/ online services. Out of various ways of web marketing, article writing related to your business field and distribute them for free is an effective and low-cost way of web promotion.
Read more.....

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Outsourcing content development: ensure a WIN, WIN situation

Outsourcing content development requirement to an offshore content development writer asks for serious deliberation as writing optimized content in tandem with business objective and strategy demands in-depth understanding of industry vertical for which content is developed.

Usually, people find quite intriguing the idea of hiring offshore content developers as they need to:
•find a right content writer that does outsourcing for this sort of thing.
•understand the benefits and hazards of outsourcing content development requirements.
•understand the privacy and security issues.
•set a standard pricing policy.

If all such questions keep recurring to your mind, then one thing is very clear that you understand the significance of website content development, which is just not the replication of printed content. Website content development incorporates distinctive writing talent and skill that integrates well with all search engines. A content developer needs to have a strategic understanding of search engine optimization techniques while developing content for websites.

How to outsource content development project?
To resolve perplexing situation, one needs to take into consideration following points while outsourcing content development requirements:

•Look for established website content development provider specifically one who has proven expertise of writing in your industry vertical that can help you achieve the desired results.
•Ensure a clear cut communication and specify your requirements before the start of the project.
•Remunerate the content writer either monthly or make payment based on project and types of research and skill required for developing the content. Precisely, it means describe the target audience and what you aim to achieve with the content at the beginning of the outsourced project. Once this is done, there shouldn't be any anomalies in getting your content developed.
•Make your outsourcing deal with credible and well established content writers. Make the content developer aware of your Intellectual property and other privacy and security issues.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Offshore Product Development: Rising Trend In India

With increasing cost of development, changing market dynamics and the need to shorten the time-to -market are factors forcing software companies to a new wave of outsourcing called offshore product development(OPD).

Nasscom also predicts that the Indian product development market is estimated to grow to $8-11 billion by 2008.

Emerging players in the offshore product development feel that offshore product development will going to open immense opportunities for new breed of India based product development vendors.Though India is by far the premier choice for outsourcing, offshore product development vendors, however, see threats from emerging outsourcing destinations like China, Russia, Canada,etc.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Intelligent Solutions:Google’s very own Blog Search Engine

Google has launched its very own Blog Search Engine, and that definitely is pleasantly great news for the bloggers community around the globe. The Blog search facility from the search engine giant will hopefully be the preferred choice of the blogging community, who were hitherto restricted to Technorati and the likes for blog search.

Currently at the Beta test phase, Google Blog Search contains many advanced search capabilities that include search by exact words, phrases, authors, etc.One can also restrict its search to specific dates.

Frequently Asked Questions provide you a better view about Google Blog Search Engine.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: eBay to buy Skype Technologies

With the online auction site eBay nod to buy Skype Technologies, the internet telephone company, at a $2.6bn deal, the internet telephone market is all set to create an unmatched e-commerce engine.
The deal, close on the heels of combining the two leading e-commerce franchises, is going to create an extraordinary powerful environment for business on the net, which will certainly expand eBay's global virtual marketplace.
Skype's software,precisely, enables your PC to interact with other PC users having the Skype facility for free and make substantial reduction in call charges to to mobiles and landlines.Other prominent players in the online phone market include computer giants such as Google, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: .NET: Cutting-edge Technology

Choice of platform for the future should be based on sound business reasoning instead of personal preferences or even technical excellence. .Net is one such technology platform using Web services that benefits everyone right from individual users, organizations, and developers. Organizations get the best of their return on investment in .Net technology that enables them to implement powerful, cost-effective IT solutions to meet future needs.

.Net lets organizations free from the confines of proprietary technology, providing the flexibility and scalability that can enable organizations connect their existing IT systems and provide a foundation for the next wave of technology.

Benefits of .NET

Organization’s perspective
Helps organizations lower operating costs by helping connect systems
Increases sales by providing the right information as and when required
Integrates services and applications with customers and partners
Helps developers quickly create new solutions to address business issues
The user's experience becomes very customizable and provides integrated data and customized interactions that work well with a wide range of computing hardware, such as Pocket PCs, Smartphones, laptops, and other devices

Individuals’ perspective
Helps individuals with a more personal and integrated computing experience.
.NET-enabled computing is centered on the user–not on the features of the software or hardware
The user's experience becomes very customizable
Provides integrated data and customized interactions that work well with a wide range of computing hardware, such as Pocket PCs, Smartphones, laptops, and other devices
Enhances the mobile computing experience so user's can get their information regardless of their location

Developers’ perspective
Provides a tightly integrated set of tools for building and integrating Web services
Provides comprehensive development platform with Visual Studio .NET that offers the best, fastest, and most cost-effective way to build Web services
Can take advantage of a programming model designed from the ground up for creating Web services in a highly productive, multilanguage environment
Allows to use existing skills to create a wide range of solutions that work across a broad array of computing devices
Provides a foundation for building Service Oriented Architectures (SOA).

Monday, June 20, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Why outsourcing makes business sense

Convergence of technologies such as telecommunication, information technology and media has redrawn the landscape of business, where geographical boundaries get blurred and electronic commerce and enterprise systems completely rule the roost. Such a scenario has propelled the demand for off- the –shelf software products and qualified software professionals to handle these functions. Consequently, demand has exceeded supply, and dearth of professionals has increased hiring costs, longer product development cycle and longer time to market.

Most likely, you won’t find required software products and qualified professionals in-house even within your geographical boundary. Outsourcing could be an apt alternative to solve many of your business problems.
Unavoidable reasons why outsourcing makes business sense

There are certain unavoidable reasons that make you realize that you will gain eventually if you use outsourcing as an intrinsic part of your business strategy. You can avail following advantages, if you opt for outsourcing:

Lessen overheads, free up resources
Minimize capital expenditure
Enhance efficiency
Free from non-core functions
Access to pool of specialized skills
Save on manpower and training costs
Trim down operating costs
Speed up development cycle
Build long-term, strategic relationships with world-class service providers
Boost tactical and strategic advantages
Focus on strategic thinking, process reengineering and managing trading partner relationships
Share your risks
Offer the best quality services, products and people
Be reliable and innovative
Provide value-added services
Perk up customer satisfaction
Harness the provider's extensive investments in technology, methodologies and people
Exploit the provider's expertise in solving problems with similar requirements.
Focus sparse resources on time-critical projects
Acquire required project management and implementation consulting expertise, along with access to best practices and proven methodologies
Minimize the risk of technological obsolescence
Extend the reach to more trading partners quickly and efficiently
Ease the overall IT management risk while retaining control of strategic decision making.

Outsourcing is, now, an established management tool for redefining and rejuvenating the business that induces today’s executives to reorient their traditional firm towards a more flexible structure crystallizing around core competencies and building long term strategic outside relationship.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Intelligent Solutions: Essentialities of eBusiness

eBusiness has seen many changes and ups and downs since its inception. Many companies were beaten by the eBusiness bug during the dotcom euphoria, caught off-guard and faltered without making a fuss, as most of them couldn’t understand the nuances, tools and technologies of electronic business, online business or affably known as eBusiness, which has truly been impregnated with unseen and untapped potential.

What was emerged from the dotcom bubble is the realization that mere a mindless entry into eBusiness or eCommerce or for that matter having an online presence will not give any competitive edge. To be successful and to have cutting-edge over competitors, an eBusiness initiative needs to have synergies with overall business strategy of the organization and has to have distinct set of objectives as a big differentiator or driving force.

This article discusses essentialities an organization needs to be fulfilled in order to stay competitive in the realm of eBusiness.

Essentiality 1: Identify eBusiness strategy

It is essential to identify and define eBusiness strategy, which should be nothing but an integrated part of your overall business strategy. This identification of strategy will lead to a set of well-defined initiatives each with its own objectives and desired outputs. In addition, you need to have parameters to evaluate the success of each and every initiative that eventually have impact on your eBusiness strategy.

Essentiality 2: Prioritize eBusiness initiatives

Prioritizing eBusiness initiative is another essentiality otherwise you could end up with several competing initiatives each with its set of proponents. Metrics to prioritize eBusiness initiatives include:
· Business impact
· Business urgency
· Technical complexity
· Effort involved
· Change involved
· Organizational readiness, etc.

In a collaborative discussion between you and IT professionals, eBusiness initiatives are prioritized to work upon.

Essentiality 3: Define Success Measurement metrics

Your eBusiness initiative should have a set of measurement metrics that help you define success. Some of the important measurement metrics are:
· Is the aim of eBusiness initiative to curb increasing cost?
· Is it to improve productivity?
· Is it to provide your customers with upto -date information?

These measurement metrics to establish the success of eBusiness initiatives should be defined in such a manner to reflect impact on overall objectives. Take the example of a tourism company that wanted to have a Web site based on state-of-the-art technology platform. Its Web site provided tourists with the option to book tickets, accommodation and all online. Initially, the tourist firm used to garner a meager 2% of its overall revenue through online presence, and remaining 98% was coming from other channels such as call center, travel agents, business affiliates, etc. The re-designed site gave it a scalable platform and allowed it to drive business, using multiple mechanisms marketing, personalization, improved usability, enhanced functionality etc. Today, around 15% of its revenue is generated through the online presence. Such metrics enable you to monitor consistently your ROI and the health of your overall eBusiness initiative.

Essentiality 4: Structure the Organization as per eBusiness Initiative

Your eBusiness initiative needs to have adequate representation from both the business and the IT team, so that they can work as a team to reach the overall goals. There should be a clear work-flow structure that is able to look across the different initiatives, monitor their health, resolve conflicts, and provide the required funding and resources.

Essentiality 5: Implement the Solution

Your set of eBusiness initiatives needs to be very conducive towards an iterative implementation model. Once business requirements have been understood, an architecture definition phase should be undertaken to define the base technologies and platform. It is also an appropriate time to decide between an out-of-the-box solution or a custom-development based on core technologies.

Further, your implementation model should also take care of the user experience, as many of the end users may not have had prior training on using Web-based applications, and hence usability of the application becomes key determinant to have online success. Once the architecture and user experience model is in place, the application can be further evolved as per business requirements, technical design and implementation.

Essentiality 6: Consistent Monitoring

A consistent monitoring of the key metrics, making changes as per the business needs and day-to-day maintenance are required to keep the eBusiness initiative fresh and in tandem with changing business demands.

eBusiness that makes Sense

Once all the stated essentialities are fulfilled, an organization finally embarks on eBusiness initiatives that make sense for its particular situation. eBusiness needs to make business sense and should be judged by the same set of metrics and ROI calculations which are industry standard and widely accepted across the organizations. Technology will keep on evolving and each organization will decide its own platform depending on the perceived benefit and the scalability of the technology.