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Why India continues to be the preferred destination to outsource

Outsourcing was considered a taboo in its early days, but slowly it is proven as one of the most significant business models.

The rosy days of the global economy are gone and so, while, lowering financial liabilities, organisations have to sustain the quality of service and employ a workforce that is economically affordable and efficiently skilled.

Many countries like China, Malaysia, Philippines, Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand are rapidly growing as preferred destinations for global outsourcing, but India leads the race by a wide margin since the inception of outsourcing.

So, let’s see why and how India managed to remain in the spotlight.

Cost Effectiveness

Every business strives to be as cost effective as possible, and one of the best ways to cut down on operational costs is to reduce manpower expenses. India qualifies well on this metric and hence attracts foreign companies to invest here, as resource wages are comparatively lower as compared to other countries.

With low labour costs, immense human resources and excellent infrastructure, offshore companies can invest and expect their projects to be completed with high quality and minimum expenses within strict deadlines.

Skilled, Professional Manpower

Currently, India has about 2.75 million software developers in the national workforce. By 2018, this count will reach 5.2 million, a whopping 90% increase.

India’s software development growth-rate is attributed to half the population being under 25 years of age and current economic policies. India is a budding hub of developers and coders, promising to provide world-class services to outsourcing companies.

Apple Inc., the leading technology giant, is looking into setting up a company-owned, technology development centre in India. If this happens, Indian software development prowess will get a huge endorsement. It will be an inspiration for more companies to enter Indian shores for business.

Lack of Language Barriers

In India, English is a compulsory language at school and college levels. A large number of Indians can understand and communicate in English easily.

IT firms have recognised that communication skills of individuals and organisations should comply with international standards. The BPO industry is training its employees to improve interaction skills with offshore customers for business success with special, communications and language training.

Innovating the Business Model Itself

Traditional strategies to maintain profit margins in businesses are losing effectiveness due to soaring competition. A well-designed business model can circumvent the shortcomings of those strategies.

Development based on any traditional business model can fail to protect your margins because of globalisation and price transparency. Indian companies have realised that time spent putting together a solid business model is time well spent.

According to a report by KPMG, the Indian IT services industry is expected to rise from £5 billion in 2000, to  £56 billion in 2010. After contributing significantly to India’s economy over a decade, it has been speculated that new business models will emerge to deal with a rapidly changing marketplace and customer needs.

Innovative Tools for Managing Innovative Teams

Companies are hiring highly qualified and competent people across the globe. Members of geographically diverse offshore teams are working in tandem by using online project management tools, video conferencing, and other media for real-time communication and collaboration.

 A Stable Government and Attractive IT Policy

The Indian IT market currently focuses on providing low-cost solutions to the global IT sector. India’s reputation, as both a source and a destination for IT and ITES workforce, has helped it improve its relations with a number of global economies.

The stable Indian government is offering safe harbour (SH) provisions for various software development services, ITES and knowledge process outsourcing services . The government is initiating several programmes to fulfil India’s vision of good e-governance and digitalisation.

The Indian government’s call “Make in India” is already attracting lots of interest among foreign companies to invest here. It’s been predicted by aircraft manufacturer Airbus  that the Indian outsourcing industry will reach £1 billion with the recent positive impetus.

Conclusion

Mr. R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM says, “The future looks positive as the Indian IT-BPM industry is evolving dramatically in terms of scale, complexity, and innovation. Going forward, enabling a radical transformation of key sectors in India using ICT to increase access, enhance efficiency, and enable innovation in the sector are going to be some of our priority focus areas. The rapidly accelerating trend of innovation and entrepreneurship in the ICT sector impacts several domains and provides clear indicators that the journey has begun.” [image]

Some places in India where talent is being reared, are a striking contrast to the mediocrity of their surroundings. With the astounding growth of Indian IT and ITES industry, rapidly changing economic scenario, development of SEZs, and availability of the skilled human resource, the global offshore business will grow significantly in the years to come.

Have you outsourced to India yet or plan to do so? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Mobile Search Optimization – Google’s Move to Change the Game

Mobile Search Optimization – Google’s Move to Change the Game

Google’s search engine algorithms are important on many counts. While all web developers know the basic SEO strategies, businesses need to be aware of how Google wants them to behave.

Mostly, the trend is of businesses look at exploring White Hat SEO, or SEO through ethics that Google approves, in a better way. The latest Google update just reinforces Google’s dominance in the search engine market. The Google Penguin update, for instance, was aimed at filtering spammy content and ensuring that quality content rank higher. Now, we see that Google has introduced the Mobilegeddon update that is rewarding websites, which are mobile friendly.

In fact, there is one interesting point that I would want to mention here. As early as 2013, Google’s Matt Cutt had stated how the company will now penalize companies with slower page loading times.  Yes, Google’s plan to move in this direction was evident for some time now – it was not a matter of if but when.

What Does The Mobilegeddon Update Mean?

The Mobilegeddon update is aimed to reward businesses with sites that are mobile friendly, helping them get better rankings in search results and be featured more prominently.

The change, effective from April 21, means that you will have to design a mobile friendly site sooner than later if you want to stay in the competition. The update seems to be much more important than all Google updates till date, including Google Panda and Penguin. Those in the web developer world would know that when these two updates were introduced, the rankings of many websites changed drastically – many for the worse. Some of these sites never managed to recover. So, what does this mean if you’re a website owner?

A Mobile-Friendly Site… Is Your Site One?

A mobile friendly site has a responsive design, a dynamic service, and separate URLs. You can check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page. to know how mobile friendly your site is.  While not perfect, the test is an indicator of how mobile friendly Google thinks your site to be. While the parameters by Google aren’t available (Google never discloses their algorithm how they rank websites because that can lead to its misuse), but we can figure out some expected developments nonetheless. Here is a roundup of the changes you can expect from the update.

Expect each page to be assessed individually

It all probability, Google will access each page individually. This means that all your web pages need to be mobile friendly and not just one – most popular searches will probably feature mobile friendly only pages.  This also means that if your website has both mobile friendly pages and desktop only pages, expect only the former pages to be promoted. However, most websites are either mobile friendly or not, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Drop in rankings

This is obvious – if your website is not mobile friendly, expect it to drop significantly in search results.

Real-time operation

This is a big development. Google is expected to update in real time. This means that if you do not have a mobile site ready yet – don’t worry. When you’re ready with one, expect Google to pick it up and reorganize the search engine rankings accordingly. However, do note that Google’s web crawlers do need to index your page. This can take a few days or even weeks at times – so expect delays the first time when you have your mobile site ready.

Search Results On Mobiles

Did you notice how search results differ in your mobile? For one, check out the local search results in your smart phone – they’re bound to differ from the one in your desktop. This development was a result of the Google Hummingbird update and the Mobilegeddom update is just one step further.

Why Did Google Bring Out The Update?

While we might be interested more in the changes Google brings with the update, an important factor is why Google chose to go the mobile way now. The reasons are simple – mobile growth has been phenomenal in the last few years and more people access the internet from their smartphones than their PC’s. Translate this into the fact that Google aims to enhance user experience, and rewarding mobile friendly sites was a natural option.

The development means that users can browse quickly on their smartphones and access all features of the site. A simple example would be with sites that still have Flash (yes, there still are some of them out there, though the advantages of having a Flash site is next to none). Mobile devices cannot play Flash and people accessing the site would not have been able to view the website content properly. Now, that is going to change with Google gathering search results that create the right user experience for the mobile user.

Here is a chart to survive the Mobilegeddon update.

Mobile_Search

Have you been affected yet by the Mobilegeddon update?  How many of our readers do have a mobile friendly site? If not, when are you planning to have one? Or do you feel that you don’t need one, yet?

iOS and Android Design Trends: It’s Time to Evolve

The middle of the last decade saw two Operating Systems begin to take shape – the iOS and the Android. Apple owned one, and the other was open source. A lot has changed since then. The ninth iOS version has just been announced while Android has seen everything from Gingerbread to Lollipop.

The user base of both the companies has grown too. It wasn’t just a few years back that smartphones weren’t affordable for the common many. In fact, touch screens by itself were a luxury. Processor improvements, RAM increase and a host of new specs meant that these two OS needed to change too, for the better. Then, Google acquired Android. Android smartphone prices came at a level where the general consumer could afford one – and the smartphone war started.

While Google and Apple continue to battle it out against each other, both companies manage to woo in customers only because their OS gets better with time. One of the major developments that both companies have stressed in is that of design and development.  Enhancing the user experience and intuitiveness seems to be at the focus point and for a good reason.

App Developers – A Story That Has Just Begun

The developments mean that app developers can rethink on their app strategies. With a better UI, app developers can design apps that rake in more customers and drive in more traffic. Some features are the same while some are unique to one of them. The unique benefits mean that developers can look at a good amount of customization too. So, what are the Android and iOS design trends that app developers can take advantage of?

Here is a look at the trends of both the OS.

Android

 

Flat interface design

Android and iOS both have a flat design today, which offers a neat and clean look to the interface, and allows for a better user experience. A flat interface essentially means that users can access apps and features quicker. The simple colour schemes can beautifully use the Flat design.

 

Use of bright and vibrant colours

Again, this is something similar to both iOS and Android systems – apart from a high PPI ratio, the Android interface offers rich and vibrant colours for users, which aims to grab attention right away.

 

Use of layered interface

A layered interface means that users have a 3D-like experience, enabling increased user engagement. Users can also use a multi-layer interface, with active widgets at the front and the inactive ones at the back.

 

Google Material Design

Introduced in 2014, Google’s own Material Design has a host of new features, which includes grid-based layouts, and responsive animations. There is also Google Now, which uses a ‘card’ like motifs and extensive transitions, padding and in-depth effects. The introduction of shadows to app icons was a first, which meant that visible edges and surfaces of app icons and objects could be seen clearly. This in turn means that users get to experience the Android touchscreen in a more life-like manner.

 

Code Thumb-Focused Interface

Most people prefer using their smartphones with one hand – and developers can design apps that recognize simple thumb oriented gestures easily. You can even specify the instances when multiple finger gesture is needed. This betters user experience and increases the engagement rate.

 

Use of blur effects extensively

Both the iOS and Android use blur effects. It helps offer a clean look and users can focus on the areas of the screen that are ‘working’.

 

Effective Animation

Animation just makes the user experience a whole lot cooler. From background animations to in-app animations, developers can add in graphics and animations easily to give their app an edge.

 

Gestures For Different Audience

Developers can create unique gestures for the application. Think of the Game Amazing Spiderman: Unlimited by Gameloft. This episodic adventure game which involves you running around mostly, allows you to control the super hero with your gestures. While a single swipe allows you to change lanes, a swipe with two fingers means that you can change two lanes at once. Developers thus have a world of potential out there, and app designing becomes so much more exciting.

 

iOS

If Android got you talking about the user improvements, here is what iOS has to offer.

 

Native improvised design

Developers have it easy with a native environment that is friendly to app development. Aimed to make the app user experience more enjoyable, it helps developers integrate the native functions into the app easily.

 

Flat design everywhere

The iOS 7 introduced the flat design, enhancing user experience up by a few notches. The design is just right for viewing on mobile phones and offers a complete experience.

 

Minimal design -just what is needed

Down the years, there has been a trend in going minimalistic. A minimal design tries to say a lot more by saying a lot less. That’s a reason app icon sizes have gone smaller and there is a lot more information to your screen space without it seeming overdone.

 

New-age typography

Another important change that I see is the fact that there are so many typography options available. Whether it being customizing your keyboard or using newer fonts, typography options help user explore more and send messages in new, innovative ways. Apple only recently allowed third party apps and API integration, helping users personalize easily.

 

Use of bright and vibrant colors

While pixel density is always focused on while creating iOS devices, Apple also uses bright and vibrant colours to enhance the user experience.

 

Blur effects

iOS too uses Blur effects, which means that users can check out the portions of the screen that are working – while all other portions of the screen can be blurred out.

 

Gesture targeted designs

Pinch on the picture to zoom in. Swipe your fingers to move from one screen to another. Gesture targeted designs have made users experience iOS devices in a new way while allowing developers to use their creativity a little more.

 

Building a successful app – Do’s and Don’t’s

How do you build your app? Understanding the benefits on offer and the unique features of the operating system you’re developing for, will just enable you to develop apps that fully explore the capabilities. This in turn betters user experience and helps you reach out to a wider audience. Here are a few do’s and don’t that can help you.

Do

  • Do explore the full potential of the operating system
  • Do keep your audience in mind
  • Do focus on user engagement
  • Do create a fluid UI and gestures that are easy to comprehend

Don’t

  • Don’t use dull colors
  • Don’t use complex working method that makes users read a ten page manual first
  • Don’t just design something for the sake of it – the user has to like what you’ve to offer.

iOS and Android have stayed up to date, constantly reinventing themselves down the years and helping developers do a lot more. While they have managed to retain user engagement with their native interface, the question is, does your app have the potential to use those design features to spark user engagement?

iOS 8 Vs. Android Lollipop: The Developers’ Perspective

iOS 8 Vs. Android Lollipop – Which one let’s you build better? Here is a quick head to head comparison of the features of both the platforms that developers need to take a look at.

There are more mobile users using the internet than those using fixed internet access lines today, and it comes as no surprise.  It’s no longer the question of whether you should have a mobile presence, but rather ‘when?’ Google’s Mobilegeddon update was important for web developers. For app developers, Apple’s introduction of Swift as a programming language was a wake-up call.

Mobile adoption is increasing with a Gartner report stating that users are increasingly satisfied with the current engagement rates. So, does it mean that you need to develop apps for both these OS? That’s one area that many entrepreneurs and developers ponder about. App entrepreneurs and developers are looking to develop apps on both Android and iOS, and are often asking the question, ‘Which one do we look at first’? Here is a quick head to head comparison of the features of both the platforms that developers need to take a look at.

iOS 8

What do you like about the iOS 8 – the new developer friendly features or a smoother performance? iOS 8 has the same design as its predecessor and comes with a number of extensions for developers. With iOS 8, Apple has finally moved away from its policies of not allowing third party extensions to communicate with its operating systems. So, which extensions have come in? Here is a look.

  • Today extensions

    Much like Windows phone’s Live Tiles, iOS users will be able to view information in the Today View from their Notification Center.

  • Action extensions

    These extensions allow you to translate the text displayed in another app. For instance, you can use Bing Translate to help you translate text in the Safari window.

  • Custom keyboards

    Much like Android’s Swiftkey or Swype, that’s developed by a third party app developer, Apple now allows third parties to create custom based keyboards for the iOS 8.

There are other extensions as well. Photo editing extensions allow users to edit photos, right after taking the picture with the phone, without the need to go to the third party app. Storage provider extensions allow users to select cloud services like Dropbox and OneDrive easily.

What makes iOS 8 Special?

We know that iOS 8 boasts of new features – but which ones are the best? There are a host of things that are new to iOS 8. One of them is Continuity, or the ability of Apple users to pick up their work from one Apple device to another Apple device – say you were writing on your Mac and then had to go out – your iPhone could help you finish off your task.  Introduction of Swift as a programming language brings in a whole new dimension to app developers. While there is a good learning curve of Swift, Apple promises faster and better app-making with Swift.  There are many other features that can be a developers’ paradise – from Family sharing to Health Kit and Home Kit.

Where does it fall short?

Don’t fall in for the iOS 8 as your ultimate choice for app development – there are a number of areas that Apple still needs to address.  For instance, Apple didn’t time the release of iOS 8 well, with bugs aplenty leading to missing features for users. Apple had to send in an immediate update to fix the issue.

Apple’s iOS8 isn’t open source like Google’s Android. While that can work to an advantage sometimes, it means that users and developers have to wait for Apple’s acceptance before bringing in something new.

What’s the future like?

The changes by Apple that allows third party app developers to integrate with Apple’s own services, is a positive one. While it opens a new world for developers, users are benefitted as well through increased choice. Apple is expected to work more towards making their OS more developer friendly, with app making becoming easier.

Google’s Android Lollipop

Google has recently unveiled the next Android platform – Android M. The move is a surprising one as Google is yet to fully roll out Android Lollipop for a number of devices. For developers and app publishers, the question often is to choose

Google has made quite a few changes to Lollipop and seems to bring significantly more to the table.

  • New & Vibrant Google’s Material Design

    Lollipop sports a new design, and unlike iOS 8, which is similar in UI to iOS 7, has over 5,000 new API’s for developers. The design, called Google’s Material Design, offers new themes and new widgets that offer complex views and custom shadows and animations with the help of new API’s. Backgrounds and images look sharper than ever and the ‘shadows’ effect is the first to be introduced.

  • Theme for apps

    App makers can create different themes for the apps that can help change the users’ Android experience.

  • More stable core

    Google seems to be doing away with its lagging issue bit by bit. The lollipop promises a more stable core, offering better frame rates and user experience. In fact, Google is investing in Project Volta that is making the cores more energy efficient.

  • Heavy Customization capability

    Users have a room for customizing their Android easily. While Google will maintain the same design language for all of its devices, from Google Chrome to Android Wear.

  • More intuitive

    Lollipop better understands the users. Whether it be the use of contextual technology with the help of Google Now or touch feedback on default animations, Lollipop is more intuitive than its predecessors.

  • Testing

    Developers can test apps with a new updated runtime, which helps apps pass the ART test.

What makes Android Lollipop appeal?

Android is open source and thus has the scope of customization. While Google releases its Android version, most providers customize it. So, there is a different feel to your Samsung Galaxy S 6 than the HTC M9. What the customizations do, is help enhance features and enable developers to expand on device capabilities.

Where does it fall short?

Google is still working on stability. Android still faces the lag issues

What’s the future like?

Google has been experimenting with Android for a long time. It’s time they got it right and the Lollipop was a step in the right direction.  Android M, already slated to be released by the year end, will further expand on Android’s capabilities.

Verdict

Google offers more customizations than Android but a system that still is plagued by lags. iOS offers a lag free system but offers less customizations. Both the companies are looking at enhancing user experience, albeit different ways.

While Apple’s CEO Tim Cook termed Google’s system as vulnerable, Google’s then CEO Larry Page said that there was no real competition to Google. Developers need to understand that both the app ecosystems offer a lot when it comes to exposure and the way out is only to move from one ecosystem to another. As to which ecosystem, works better initially, here’s the deal – Google’s Play Store fares better when it comes to freemium models while Apple is the better way to go first if you’re offering paid apps.

SaaS 2015: Trends and Opportunities

By the end of 2015, the U.K IT and Services market is expected to be worth £43 billion. SaaS model will play a pivotal role in this mammoth growth

Traditional on-premise applications are passé. We have been in the industry for quite a few years and never before has the gap between SaaS and other software delivery models been so wide. Companies that are looking to increase security and drive in productivity aiming to get access to enterprise grade applications.

From helping employees collaborate better with the help of Cloud to coming out with applications to interact with customers, these apps can help increase efficiency and better sales targets.

Having delivered many SaaS and B2B apps in the recent past ourselves, we know that it’s an exciting world out there.

Predicting the trends

So, what does 2015 have in store for us? Going by the current trends, we will see a lot more of Software-as-a-Service this year. Some of the major trends are visible.

For instance, since last year there is a growing demand for vertical SaaS, or solutions to particular industries that mainly include healthcare and financial services. This goes against the traditional norm of growth of horizontal SaaS that were mainly solutions used by sales and HR.

The ACG report corroborates this. The report also states how SaaS models are targeting individual users to form enterprise-wide deals. Here is what happens – SaaS vendors woo in a few employees with what they offer. This in turn leads to potential enterprise deals as employees understand how productivity is affected. The tactic, similar to the freemium model, will see a significant rise this year.

Gartner on its part states that cloud-integration would be a $1.5 billion business soon. SaaS, a type of cloud integration is among them. What works for SaaS is that there are too many avenues still left to be explored. This means that these vendors will be up trying up new tricks up their sleeves, from offering free SaaS to a plethora of on-demand services catered to the audience needs, innovations will be many.  SaaS services will be made to focus on specific geographic regions also, to address specific needs of a company. A company in the U.K. can do with a SaaS system that takes into account the U.K. tax structure. You can use the services of a good SaaS app/product development team to design your own SaaS software as well.

There is an increasing need to have these services on mobile devices and that’s what exactly will be happening, with more vendors keen to bring their services to tablets and mobiles. A good app/product team of developers can help you develop your own application that’s available in major app stores too.

The Different Benefits

Most of us have used SalesForce. SalesForce is Customer Relationship Management  (CRM) software and one of the more popular applications out there. SaaS adoption has slowly been picking up, and companies are exploring new avenues to tap into it. Here is why.

  • Cost-effectiveness

    Many of these solutions are available on a subscription basis, meaning that you do not have to worry about huge deployment costs. You already have a working API, and do not have to think about creating a website from scratch. You can implement enterprise grade applications as well, that are unique to your organization. There are no costs involved when it comes to installing and maintaining a sales app.

  • Reduced time to build

    The solutions can be built easily and are tailored to suit your organizations’ needs. You can build a site to interact with parents if you’re running a school. You can build a SaaS app to help people book cabs. You can even build apps that can help share thoughts anonymously by users. The possibilities are endless.

  • Subscription based model

    Most SaaS vendors like SalesForce offer a subscription-based model, where you use their services for a particular amount of time. This helps you only to use the services when you need it and adopt newer business strategies quickly, when needed. It doesn’t matter if you create your own SaaS application. Just ensure that you’ve a good SaaS app/product team of developers to help you with issues related to uptime and security and upgrades.

  • Easy integration and high scalability

    Where Software-as-a-Service scores is its easy integration with your company’s systems. Whether it be putting up the company logo or integrating the SaaS software with company systems and company data. Vendors offer API’s that can integrate easily with your company ERP or CRM and even with other providers.

  • Work on the go

    This is perhaps the biggest advantage when it comes to working with a SaaS solution – your employees aren’t restrained by premises and can work when they want, where they want. Is there any urgent project coming up? You can just log the details into the system. Is there a client’s feedback that you need your colleague to check? You can just put it into the system.

If it’s cost effectiveness services that you’re looking for to leverage in business productivity, 2015 can be a great year.  Hire a SaaS app development team who can ensure a smooth transition to the SaaS system, without the hiccups.