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May 2009 Quick Hits - News, Trends & Analysis

Customer Service in Software
Now is the time to do everything possible to acquire and retain customers, yet as reported on Computerworlduk, many major software companies offer poor customer service. How many times have you tried to get through to someone in support and they were either not very knowledgeable or the call goes to the wrong team? Either way, you are left feeling frustrated, annoyed, and would gladly change to a provider with a decent support structure. During these recessionary times, buyers of software are shopping around for improved deals, and given the rise of SaaS, there are even greater pressures on software makers to improve support. It always takes the entrance of a threat for traditional providers to change their inflexible pricing models for support. There is no space in the market for poor, expensive support, so now is the time for the traditional software giants to improve support processes, invest in the right resources and start measuring customer satisfaction regularly.  
Ireland Joins Race in Outsourcing
Who would ever have guessed that the land of Guinness, shamrocks, the Cliffs of Moore, U2, and St Patrick would one day be rated by Gartner as a top outsourcing destination in the same category as Singapore and India? Recent comments in Offshoring Times showed that India remains the leader in offshore services, but Gartner predicts that offshore spending will grow 60% in Europe this year. For those scary cats that think India is too far away, Ireland is proving a credible alternative with excellent language skills and cultural alignment. The survey addressed 10 deciding factors when selecting an offshore/nearshore destination, and they are language, government support, labour pool, infrastructure, educational system, cost, political and economic environment, cultural compatibility, global and legal maturity, data and intellectual property, security and privacy. It is evident why many mid-size businesses will prefer an EU member to an offshore partner when looking at the deciding factors above, so Ireland looks set to grow in the coming few years, now the Euro just needs to lose some value and they are set to expand even faster.  
One Must First Define Metrics in Order to Achieve Success
Using project management methodology like PMI, Prince 2, and Six Sigma to deliver projects is useful for providing an organisation with a way to structure a project so that major steps are taken in a logical order. It allows the project team to define tasks on how to deliver a final product, defines roles/responsibilities and to track overall status. However, any technique for delivering a project is meaningless unless everyone has agreed how to measure project success. Without clear metrics, teams across the organisation lose accountability, and people cannot communicate effectively. Clearly define goals, lock down scope and remember to get everyone around the table to sign off those measurable metrics to ensure commitment and a general understanding by everyone what project success looks like.  

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