• October, 23 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Akibia Sends IT Overseas

You may have heard of IT outsourcing. Well now, thanks to Akibia, there is IT offshoring. The Westborough, MA, consulting company has devised a way to cut engineering costs and increase the return on CRM investments by as much as 60 percent by moving some IT concerns to India. "For the past couple of years our bill rates have decreased. This is not a good trend," says Adam Honig, president of Akibia, addressing the company's reason for multishoring. Through its Akibia Multi-shore Project Methodology, Akibia will still have local consultants working at clients' sites, focusing on project management, organizational alignment, business processes, technical architecture, change management, and training. The local team interacts with the CRM-technology development professionals in India to handle less complicated things like coding. "We started building a methodology that says, How do we take advantage of the cheaper talent in India, but have rapid prototyping, an iterative design, and be successful?" Honig says. "If [Indian call-center outsourcers] are saying it can't be done and we're figuring out a way to do it, what better position to be in?" Akibia has already used what it is calling its "Daringly Logical" approach to customer strategies and solutions to complete five projects, including three for new clients. Some of the companies include Group Health, Intergas, and StatementOne. What about communication differences, such as strong accents, dialects, colloquialisms, and so on? Honig says it should not be a problem as the local staff can field customer questions. "The customers almost predominantly interact with the local staff. However, the English language skills of most people with bachelor's and master's degrees are quite good. The other thing we do is use instant messenger technology. It works like a charm. It's very difficult to be confused by a bad accent when using IM." "The Multi-shore program allowed us to implement our solution in a very cost effective manner," Alex Sauickie, vice president of client service and support at StatementOne, said in a prepared statement. "This enabled us to increase our investment in new-product functionality and ultimately helps us to deliver world-class service to our clients."
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