Brief Guide to Offshore IT Outsourcing

Are you mulling over the decision of expanding your business to a foreign country? It is advisable that you opt for offshore IT outsourcing to make things simpler for you. Following are some of the features of this popular practice.

What is Offshore IT outsourcing?

Offshore outsourcing is basically the practice of appointing an external firm or organisation in order to carry out business tasks in a foreign country. However, keep in mind that the products or services are not developed in this particular country. Several businesses tend to get confused between off-shoring and offshore outsourcing. Both these practices are drastically different.

What are the different types of offshore outsourcing?

IT offshore outsourcing can be broadly classified into four main types. All these IT outsourcing categories have spread across the globe. In addition, they have also been met with favourable response. You should consider the pros and cons of different types of offshore strategies before arriving at a decision. Here are the four basic types of Offshore IT outsourcing strategies:

1.ITO or information technology outsourcing
2.BPO or business process outsourcing
3.Software research and development also known as offshore software development
4.KPO – knowledge process outsourcing

The advent of the internet has further simplified the process of outsourcing. Of these, BPO is one of the most popular outsourcing strategies. However, you will require an efficient team if you are planning to opt for the BPO strategy in a foreign country. In addition, you will also require an IT support team along with a data centre system. A data centre system is the place which houses data communication connections along with computer systems. For instance, data center Malaysia will house telecommunications and storage systems.

A major benefit of offshore IT outsourcing is that you can reduce the labor costs considerably. However, it is recommended that you conduct a detailed research before arriving at a decision.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics – Data Visualisation

1. Choose the right graph type for your data – trends are best presented as line graphs, whilst totals are best as histograms (bar charts). Proportions are best compared using pie charts, and lots of sets of similar data, lends itself to tables.

2. Titles – give your tables, graphs and charts easy to understand titles, and make sure they really explain what the data being presented is all about. Instead of ‘Graph of population’ say ‘Graph showing exponential population increase over the last 5 years.’

3. When deciding whether to present your data in a table or a graph, consider that graphs are good at quickly showing rough trends, they don’t necessarily require detailed or specific data, and are good at showing significant comparisons. Tables, however, are very good for showing large amounts of data, exact figures, and lots of sets of numbers.

4. Our eyes find it easy to scan the horizontal and vertical rows of tables and you can let the data itself guide the eyes. You don’t need horizontal or vertical lines (rules), which can even get in the way of scanning. Consider using tinted lines behind rows or columns of figures to distinguish them, and when column headings are long words or sentences, consider running them on to two or more lines.

You can also run them diagonally, or if absolutely necessary, abbreviate the words to make them shorter. Abbreviation works to really good effect in football league tables where the data content is so well known that the column headings ‘W L P F’ for example are immediately read as ‘Won, Lost, Played, Goals for…’ etc.

5. Keep the design simple and don’t use fancy or elaborate images of things to represent data. If you use pictures of things (like icons) to present statistics, don’t make one pictogram bigger than another because the eye can’t detect how much bigger one is from another. Instead, use one pictogram to stand for one unit of value, and have multiple pictograms to represent comparable sets of data. (This is often known as ‘Isotype’, and is named after the Istotype institute who pioneered this method of graphic statistics.)

6. Make sure that scales are the same – i.e. consistent – across a series of charts – if you don’t, a reader will compare two graphs thinking that they are visually comparable when they are not. Changing the scale just confuses – and could even deceive – readers.