Global Delivery Model (GDM) in the software services space has evolved (highly) over time and has gained acceptance across customers as the benefits far exceed the perceived risks. A significant one among the many known advantages (cost, investment, and geo-spread) this model presents is access to talented & skilled technical resources with experience in latest technology-stacks.
Let’s take a quick look at the three widely used GDMs viz. on-site, offshore and hybrid delivery models
ON-SITE DELIVERY MODEL
In this instance, typically, the service provider sends skilled and experienced consultants to the client’s company. Since the service provider and client are at the same location, there is more communication and face-to-face interaction, which means the client’s business requirements are better understood. This type of delivery model is suitable for projects where more face time is required, and it is not easy to capture all requirements in a document.
OFFSHORE DELIVERY MODEL
When it comes to offshore delivery model, all the work is done at the service provider’s location. Often times, the service provider is chosen from a country where costs are competitive and has some time-zone advantage as well. With regards to the process, the client’s needs are understood in detail at the beginning and the project time-line and scope of work are agreed upon. After this, there is reasonable (ongoing) interaction between the client and service provider – say, checkpoint or review meetings. So, it becomes imperative that the communication that takes place initially is clear and documented thoroughly. Best practice from the service provider’s end is to assign an Account/Client Service Manager to manage and guide the team, so that the client does not have to worry about the day-to-day aspects of the project. This is quite a popular and successful model, as the client gets the project done without incurring heavy on-site infrastructure and resource costs.
HYBRID DELIVERY MODEL
As the name suggests, this is a mix of on-site and offshore delivery models. Here the project team sits in more than one location. Based on the type and scope of the project, the work is distributed between resources in both teams. You have the best of both worlds here, as there is face-to-face interaction, planning and information gathering on-site, combined with cost savings, access to skilled staff and higher productivity achieved through an offshore development team.
As in life, every model has its pros and cons. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. One needs to take a careful look at their priorities and challenges (technical, finance, resources) and decide on the model that fits well for them. Companies can also migrate from one model to the other – say, you start with the on-site model and as you get comfortable with the team, you could move to a hybrid model and at some point in future, go fully offshore.