Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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HI,
Has anyone got experience of outsourcing thier software maintenance for
embedded system to LCR (India, China etc). One of our senior guys has seen
an article (!?!) about how much this technique can save. I'm a little
sceptical that it applies to embedded systems, especially as there is very
little documentation to explain how our products work.

I have had a surf around the internet but did not find anything useful.

Ta

--
Kevin



Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
: HI,
: Has anyone got experience of outsourcing thier software maintenance for
: embedded system to LCR (India, China etc). One of our senior guys has seen
: an article (!?!) about how much this technique can save. I'm a little
: sceptical that it applies to embedded systems, especially as there is very
: little documentation to explain how our products work.
:

I don't think anyone here will favor outsourcing.  Most of us are either
barely hanging on to our jobs or looking for work.

I would suggest being responsible in your community, and hire local
talent... But i'm biased, and i'm an engineer, not a manager type.

--buddy

--
Remove '.spaminator' and '.invalid' from email address
when replying.


Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
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I think the long-term analysis will show that the
smart manager types listened to the engineers on
this one.




Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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Speak for yourself. TWIAVBP

Some of us have more work than we know what to do with.

Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
On Wed, 29 Oct 2003 22:21:22 GMT, Geoff McCaughan

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Need to outsource some of it to a highly talented embedded and
hardware engineer (errr... that's me) in Aus? And no sheep jokes,
I promise :)

Mike Harding


Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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So how are things going in Oz these days anyway? It's rather strange for us
here in NZ hearing all these guys from the US running around like the sky is
falling in, yet here things are ticking over quite nicely.

A lot of them seem to think that because the US economy is hosed, so is
everywhere else.

Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 21:00:36 GMT, Geoff McCaughan

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They are not good here. It's hard to say exactly why, on the
face of it the Oz economy is doing pretty well but I suspect
the figures for the manufacturing sector may show poor
results in the hi tech areas, if you looked deep enough. The
reps from distributors are a good indicator of what's happening
overall and they are not happy bunnies. My guess is that a
lot of the big companies are moving things either back to
base or out to China/Korea/India etc with the subsequent
knock on effect. Beats me why the government doesn't
put up some really attractive tax breaks etc to encourage
more manufacturing here.

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Trouble is the US economy is so big that it does have a
serious effect on everyone else - perhaps you're supplying
a niche market? They are often immune to these wider
economic issues.

Mike Harding


Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
:
:> I don't think anyone here will favor outsourcing.  Most of us are either
:> barely hanging on to our jobs or looking for work.
:
: Speak for yourself. TWIAVBP
:
: Some of us have more work than we know what to do with.

Then send some of it my way! :)

(recent grad, trying to get a foothold blah blah blah)

--buddy

--
Remove '.spaminator' and '.invalid' from email address
when replying.


Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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I haven't any direct experience, but all the second-hand stories I've heard
have been negative -- if you don't have 100% perfect specs and documents,
you haven't a snoball's chance in hell.  If you _do_ have perfect docs, it's
still a communications and project coordination nightmare.

One project I'm familiar with contracted out some embedded software (to a
domestic firm) that would have taken one full-time engineer about 6 months
to write.  It took a year and required one engineer pretty much full time to
co-ordinate the project and test the "intermediate" releases.  When they
were done, the product sucked, and they had spent a boatload of cash _plus_
twice as many man-hours as it took to do the project in-house.

--
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  Where's th' DAFFY
                                  at               DUCK EXHIBIT??
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Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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Why not show your guy this article, for a different take on the costs of
doing this:

<http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_vi
ew&newsId20%031023005950&newsLang=en>

Basically, Alibre is saying "We knew this was a risk going in, and the only
thing we can do is threaten the Russian government that other people will
boycott Russia if there isn't a public lynching REAL SOON".

China is particularly bad, as wherever your workers are there is a factory
across the street that can and will reverse-engineer your hardware and be
manufacturing it inside a couple of weeks, if it's worth their while.

--
-- Lewin A.R.W. Edwards (http://www.zws.com /)
Learn how to develop high-end embedded systems on a tight budget!
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Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
Wed, 29 Oct 2003 16:46:32 +0000, Kevin Harvey
:

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Hello.
Have you any idea about how you can find GOOD specialists in those
country's? People from ex-USSR republic who work in this counties tell
me that level of spetialists from Idia and chaina is very poor. But
promotion can be very high. An example some people told me that some
people can made few WEB sities with non-existent firm with non-existent
projects and spetialists only for searching customers.


Sorry for my english.


Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
On Wed, 29 Oct 2003 21:43:25 +0200, "artem"

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I had a really bad experience with software written by a major Indian
company that, as it turned out, obviously didn't assign anyone with
basic embedded system experience to the project, or even
professional-level C knowledge. Language and time zone problems
exacerbated the situation.
I have also worked with an excellent Indian software developer who was
in the US on a green card, but later returned to India. I wouldn't
hesitate to send any kind of embedded software work over to the
company that she started there.

Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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It's got *nothing* do do with India vs. Indiana.  It's just plain
outsourcing vs. insourcing. Outsourcing software (embedded software in
particular) is _hard_ _to_ _do_.  It involves significant overhead and cost
to manage and coordinate.  It reveals huge problems in communications and
documentation that wouldn't be problems when the design engineer is sitting
15 feet from the marketing guy who's sitting 15 feet from the manufacturing
guy, and the three of them eat lunch together.

Most of the horror stories I've yeard (and seen personally) happened with
embedded SW outsourced to domestic operations. But, I've talked to Motorola
employees who had similar bad experiences outsourcing their embedded
software to Mo's Indian SW operations that were supposedly CMM level
yadda-yadda.  They sent spec over, software comes back, and it just doesn't
work right.  Not because of the color of somebody's skin or because of their
religion -- because the person designing the software had _zero_ knowledge
of the application area, because the person designing the software never met
or talked to a customer, because the person designing the software had never
been to a customer site, never talked to the marketing person, never talked
to the manufacturing engineers, never talked to the hardware design
engineers.

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                                  at               DUCK EXHIBIT??
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Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance


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It would be nice to have names, dates, etc. I suppose that will not happen
because no one likes to document failure, especially for external consumption.


Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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None of the employers I've ever worked for would tolerate having that sort
of internal information bandied about in public.  So I'm afraid it's going
to have to stay vague and UL-like: well I knew a guy who worked with a guy
who...

--
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  Where's th' DAFFY
                                  at               DUCK EXHIBIT??
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Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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I've done it multiple times, and it's very difficult.  Even splitting a
project across a couple timezones in the US makes life difficult.  Split it
across an ocean and different language, and life becomes miserable fast.

Even if you're working with bright, competent, hard-working people.  A
discussion that would have taken two minutes evloves into a week long
exchange of e-mails and phone messages.  e-mails and messages that often
have to be repeated multiple times over a period of days before the language
difficulties are overcome.

--
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  Where's th' DAFFY
                                  at               DUCK EXHIBIT??
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Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
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I have some experinece in non-outsourcing the firmware.

In my experience, firmware cannot be specified from the beginning.
In many cases the requirements are not really known. Firmware and
application grow on each other over the development time and afterwards.
A few protocols and/or differential equations are just not sufficient.

The embedded software or firmware can be considered the core knowledge
for a company in many fields.

There are fields of embedded stuff where the products are sold for their
specifications, regardless of the firmware. HP/Agilent is such a case.
While the specifications of their products ( those I use at least) is
outstanding, the firmware is lacking and could be improved.
Such cases are seldom, though.

For possibly the vast majority of companies selling embedded products, it is
less that their specifications are outstanding, but that the product is
useful due to the firmware.
This is then what differentiates this company from its competitors.
So the firmware is usually kept on a save place, eg at the senior engineer
who also happens to be part owner of the company. Any employees only
see tiny parts of it.
Therefore it is absolutely unthinkable to outsource the firmware to
a befriended/owned company, let alone to strangers wherever they may
be located.

Rene
--
Ing.Buero R.Tschaggelar - http://www.ibrtses.com
& commercial newsgroups - http://www.talkto.net


Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance
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We tried to outsource a project to India back in 1999. We were lucky
to have some connections and after a visit there we had three
(engineers) from India here for 7 months for training and transfering
the know how. After this time we had to stop the process cause it
turned out that the know how was not transferable in such a "short"
time.

Out of this experince my conclusion with regard to outsourcing was:

- There are well motivated people in india, but like elsewhere there
are also others which just want "a job". Or in other words the human
factor is the same no matter where you are.
- The basic skills they have is usable yet usually not really fully on
the level of local engineers. However if you are lucky and have really
eager to learn people they can catch up.
- If you really want to do this with a reasonable amount of efforts on
your end and at least a good chance for sucess, you must also
outsource your senior engineer :) I.e. he must move to India and work
there with those people.

I figure most of the the fuzz about outsourcing and the (sucess)
stories around this go back to Y2k projects which were really not that
daunting tasks and where we - if we are honest - were happy not to be
involved with.

So, if all this is just for maintaining an old project, I figure it's
cheaper in the end to dedicate a local person to it (i.e. use fewer
people) than to outsource it to any far away place. Usually people
forget about the imense efforts it takes to comunicate, to check the
work you get back, and to document / specify and also the increased
costs for the unavoidable traveling.

Just my 2 though.

Markus

Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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I have a lot of experience in this field and my company is currently
offering a special introductory offer that you may be interested in.

We will maintain your software for free, no, that's not a typo we will do
it for free!!! just send us the source and schematics, it's as simple as
that.

Don't bother wasting any money on legal contracts, patents or copyrights
because as you know a couple of small changes will circumvent this unless
you a blue chip company.

As part of the offer if you also send us your customer database we will do
free market research on your behalf on how they would like to see the
product improved.

Don't wait, the saving you will make for your company will guaranty
promotion!!!

 

Re: Experience of Low Cost Reigon Software Mantainance

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Sorry I forgot to mention are November offer.

If you send use a design that we feel is a great product and your
production is >10,000 and < 1000,000 parts a year we will send you 100. If
production is >1000,000 parts a year it goes up to 1000.

Don't wait this money could be yours.  Don't sit back being a team player,
show people you are a team leader and get that promotion you deserve.  
Saving your company money guarantees you the promotion you want and
deserve!!!


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