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  • Dreaming Big in Small Cities

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    Traditionally, big cities have been the first choice for entrepreneurs to setup and run offshore software development companies. Cities like Delhi NCR, Bombay, Bangalore and Hyderabad are first in that line.
    But with time, the technological chasm between big and small cities has narrowed, and the trend is moving to smaller cities in India. On similar lines, a number of offshore development companies are being set-up in smaller cities.
    We take into account one such small city, Dehradun, famous for its aesthetic surroundings, intellectual residents and ideal for setting up an offshore software development company.

    Humble Surroundings

    Dehradun has been the house of more than 10 central government agencies, military academy and a haven for middle class people from humble backgrounds. It is an education hub with some of the best schools and colleges in the country. Its a place for simple, peace loving people. We do not have discos, nightclubs, parties, not even on weekends. Instead, people tend to work hard and then want to go back to their families and spend weekends on outdoor activities like hiking, river rafting, swimming or just lying in their lawn.
    Yes, we do have lawns in our houses; apartments in high rise buildings are still new to this place. The only sounds one hear 2 kms from the center of the city in any direction is the chirping of the birds. This calm transpires in peoples very nature, rejuvenates them and helps them focus in their work as well.

    High Productivity

    Productivity is a big problem in big city companies these days and it is not because people working in companies in those cities are not good. It is because they are surrounded by so many other problems in life that even while spending 12-14 hours outside of their home they are barely able to give 6 hours of productive work.

    Work places are generally in the center of the cities commercial areas; homes are in suburbs. So, one spends 2-3 hours just travelling; and that too is not easy with terrific traffic. Then there are so many other things that one has to attend to, common household activities, social activities and people are generally living without much of a family support in big cities so everything has to be attended to by themselves and after all this and with all this stress in mind, one comes to office. India started as an offshoring option because of cost benefits. But over the last 20 years, the cost of living in these cities has gone so high, that these cities are now losing the cost benefit factor with rising salaries; and coupled with lower focus at work, the productivity to cost ratio is really going down.

    In Dehradun, the workforce is never more than 10 minutes away from their home, they are generally living with their families and have a strong support system at home, are properly rested, at peace with themselves and their lives, both at heart and mind and so if they spend 10 hours away from their home, 9 hours in office, they can easily give 8 hours of productive work with one hour of break. They still get to spend 14 hours with their loved ones. The cost of living is comparatively very low in Dehradun owing to its B class city status.

    Hence Companies which are set up in small towns like Dehradun are able to offer cost benefits to their clients as well and offer a much better productivity to cost to their clients. Comparative analysis of developers working in big and small cities further highlights the difference in efficiency and productivity of the two. A project involving teams from both Dehradun and Delhi helped us understand this in a clear manner. The developers in Dehradun were able to dedicate two more productive hours to the project than their counterparts from Delhi.

    Attrition Rate

    While working at one such beautiful company in Dehradun I came across a US based client, who is a pioneer in offshoring, with more than 20 years of experience in onsite-offshore development model who shared a very relevant story.

    They have a very successful product and were working with a big offshore team in Delhi for last 5 years. They used to travel every six months to meet the offshore team. They observed that in every trip, 60 % of the people in their team were new faces. Also, in the span of 5 years and around 10 offshore visits, there was not a single person from offshore team who was available for three consecutive visits. So, despite being the biggest client for this company, they were not able to hold to members of their team. It is one of the biggest problems of our industry at the moment. It is not easy to hold on to good people. This client identified this problem and started looking for options in smaller cities and thats where we met them.

    In small cities we are able to maintain very low attrition rate and the most important reason is that companies look to hire people who want to work here, live here and show interest in long term associations. Comapnies in small towns are built on trust and mutual understanding hence it is normal to see the same set of employees working on a particular project for years.

    A balanced playing field

    The same situation that we see in Dehradun is reflected in other small towns all over the country. The expanding network of technologies is leveling the playing field, by offering modern set up and facilities to parts of the world that were previously considered remote. As the world comes to realize the same, more and more clients want to save on their expenditures by hiring companies from smaller towns. These companies deliver better work at cheaper prices and our ideal for long term symbiotic partnerships.

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