Accelerating Software Engineering with Offshore Software Labs

Success Story.

Accelerating Software Engineering with Offshore Software Labs

About the Client

The client is a leading provider of real-time monitoring, auditing and computer forensics technologies for Windows and Novell networks. Its flagship software product secures assets for the world’s largest corporations, banks, government agencies, educational and healthcare institutions.

Business Challenge

The client operated in a highly competitive market and was challenged with scaling up software R&D without significantly increasing its budget. This was imperative in order for the client to enhance its software offering, improve customer support and retain market share.

It wanted to restructure its software engineering team, gain access to Microsoft .NET technology experts at a low cost at an offshore location, and increase total headcount to accelerate software R&D initiatives. To achieve this, the client needed to partner with an offshore software services provider with a flexible, transparent and collaborative business model.

In the end, Silicus was selected to help the client meet these challenges. Silicus was tasked to set up the offshore software engineering team, gain expertise on the Microsoft .NET platform and leverage its proven distributed software engineering processes.

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Silicus Solution

Based on the client’s preferences, Silicus recommended setting up an Offshore Software Lab. An offshore software lab would allow the client to hand pick team members; manage day-to-day activities and deliverables, leverage existing investments in tools, processes and infrastructure, and take overall responsibility for the productivity of the center. Leveraging Silicus’ Software Labs offering the client could build an extended offshore engineering team at a lower cost than working with models offered by other outsourcing firms.

The client envisioned the labs to serve as the software engineering focal point to maintain and enhance existing software products while spearheading the development of new security software solutions. To mitigate risks, the client decided to expand the offshore team in a phased approach. Silicus also assisted in identifying team members.

The Labs operation was started with a modest team size for software support. The quality of deliverables encouraged the client to assign more responsibilities – software enhancements, developing requirement specifications and releasing hot fixes. Initially, detailed requirement specifications were provided by the client when new feature implementation tasks were assigned to the Labs team. Gradually, as knowledge of the client’s software was gained, the responsibility of compiling requirement specifications was moved to the offshore team.

As confidence in the success of the Labs grew, the team size expanded every year with the Labs team taking the lead for software R&D and new software development initiatives. A strong process driven approach to software engineering ensured that the software releases were of the highest quality, increasing the client’s competitiveness.

Technologies Used

C#, Visual Basic .NET, Visual C++
Language

C#, Visual Basic .NET, Visual C++

.NET 1.1, WCF (Windows Communication Framework)
Platform

.NET 1.1, WCF (Windows Communication Framework)

SQL Server 2000, 2005; Oracle 9i, 10g
Database

SQL Server 2000, 2005; Oracle 9i, 10g

Tools
TOOLS

Infragistics (rich UI), Crystal Reports, IPWorks (mail server), Salesforce.com (bug tracking), InstallShield (installation)

ARCHITECTURE
ARCHITECTURE

Client Server Architecture

Proprietary Communication Protocol used over port 2877
COMMUNICATION

Proprietary Communication Protocol used over port 2877

Client Benefits

LOWER SOFTWARE SUPPORT COSTS AT LOWER RISK

Silicus helped the client mitigate software engineering risks with reliable and predictable processes while reducing costs by leveraging experts form a low cost location.

TIME TO MARKET

The client leveraged Microsoft .NET accelerators and frameworks developed by Silicus thus gaining a competitive advantage by reducing time-to-market for its software release cycles.

NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

The offshore team spearheaded the client’s foray into new platforms, such as Linux, thereby adding to the potential customer base. The Software Labs team modernized parts of the software to improve the user experience and provide better features. For example, the team replaced TCP/IP sockets communication with Microsoft’s WCF for better performance and control.

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