On the plane back from Phoenix last night I spoke with the guy sitting next to me. He was working on Powerpoint - I was playing with Flash. Turns out he runs a healthcare consulting company and is doing quite well. His company is highly specialized and is very service oriented as opposed to other companies in his niche who are more technology based with a service edge. The workflow system they use supports their service provisioning...and it's built in Filemaker Pro. developed in house.
He mentioned they were working on implementing a new workflow system. Being a consultant. my ears perk up and the scent of money filled the cabin. But my interest quickly faded when he told me that they were working with an offshore company to get the system built.
He made the claim that "you people are expensive" and that he could have three foreign workers doing the same work for $45/hr. combined. Sure. we're expensive. But I bet this guy bills out in the $200/hr range (no question) and has a decent size staff doing the same.
So tell me...
If the system is absolutely key to the success of your company. why would you accept a "lowest bid" from a company thousands of miles away? Why would you not want to use a company who could really get to know your business inside and out? Your niche is highly specialized and your workflow (as you told me) was adjusted for every client.
How do you plan on educating them in your business process? It's more than just a very tight. well-written spec. I bet I could have learned more about his business in a 4 hour flight than they could in a 50 page system spec.
If he's as sharp as I think he is. he should have been able to draw the parallel between his service-oriented approach and using local technology help. For many things. "you just have to be there" to understand it.
Consulting is all about that human element. Treating software implementation as a commodity is dramatically undervaluing the art and science of building workable systems.
I didn't offer him a card. I'll never win a price war - i'm an American with an expectation of a decent standard of living. Bangalore doesn't interest me at all!