Usually when talking about offshore (i.e., the relocation by a company of a business process from one country to another—typically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes, such as accounting), in terms of benefit we think of cost reduction. Of course this is one of them.
When working with offshore we usually realize that the processes we have defined are neither correct nor optimized. When sending specification to an offshore team (especially when writing in a different language than our mother tongue), we usually receive a lot of questions for explanation or more details, which could be caused by the language barrier.
There are two ways to handle this: Blame the offshore team (Unfortunately, I have seen that very often), or accept that you need to review your process.
You probably know now where I want to go. 50% of the benefit you are going to have with offshore will come from a better definition of your process and better way to specify needs. On the other hand, if you don’t work on your process you are going to lose 80% of the potential cost saving and you will also probably lose in quality. This of course depends on where you are working and to where you are going to offshore. In all cases, don’t be scared to work with an offshore team, it’s going to help you improve a lot.
I started at Sogeti 10 years ago in Paris, then moved to the UK, Poland, and the USA and now I am based in Switzerland. In Poland I was in charge of externalizing some of our French activities (Katowice mostly). Last detail, I liked to compare the way of work between the different countries I had the chance to work in. Just to see if you read this post till the end, try to guess which country is the worst (From the one I have been living and working) in term of process definition and specification. A provocative statement, probably. And a small hint: I am from that country.