We live in a world where ‘product engineering’ holds sway over much of our lives. But it’s not a recent phenomenon. Early adoption was years ago and primarily by large engineering companies like Sun Microsystems, Motorola, Texus Instruments etc. I remember them setting up offshore centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad to leverage the capability and capacity that they could get from India.
But at the turn of the millennium, just after the dotcom burst, various mid-sized or small ISVs realised they cannot spend like before. That’s also when the R&D workload either remained constant or in some cases went up, as they had to provide customers with more features. In short, they had to develop more at lower budgets. Basically stretch the dollar. This led to a market in 2001, where companies wanted to leverage the offshore resource pool capacity. But they were finding it tough to take work offshore, as IT was core to their businesses. That’s when we created a unique model whereby we help customers offshore work to India, and not outsource to Ness. We started extending their innovation centres in locations in the US, and build their centres in India, with an understanding that these centres will be focused on engineering. That’s also when we adopted Agile, becoming one of the first companies to adopt distributed Agile, and created an environment where we could take up the product engineering work from different locations. This created a model in the industry which helped many ISVs to start offshoring.
It’s interesting to know what happens next. This I’m talking about around 2006-08. From ISVs, work started moving into platform companies, but on the whole it expanded into companies who treat their application as a product, and view themselves more as technology companies. For example, firms in financial services who treat themselves as technology companies. They embraced this model and started leveraging engineering centres not only in India, but also in Eastern Europe where they could get different kind of talent pool.
By 2010-11, a shift happened towards mobile and handheld devices. Also the arrival of the whole digital experience. This led to more focus on product design along with the rigour of product engineering. Design slowly became critical towards developing a product. Like I say it’s no longer important just to have a phone, but to have a good-looking phone. And to build a good-looking phone, we need design skills within traditional engineers. We have embraced this change and have integrated our service offering towards experience engineering with a seamless integration of our design and engineering excellence.