Challenges in Developing Products for an Advanced Mobile Market: Sasken's Experience
Sasken, a communication software company based in India, provides research and development support to leading wireless device vendors from its offshore centres in India in an intellectual property-oriented product and services space. Sasken has faced a number of challenges in building an advanced multimedia player for high-end mobile handsets for the Japanese market. The Japanese market is one of the most advanced in the mobile services it offers, and is well ahead of the rest of the world in terms of handset functions and features. Located in an offshore centre far away from the target market, in a country where the mobile industry is still evolving, the Sasken project team faced a number of challenges in building a technology-intensive product according to its client's specific requirements. With high client expectations and norms regarding quality, completeness of the product and timeliness of delivery, the Sasken project manager had to successfully manage evolving technical requirements for the product from the company's offshore centre in Bangalore. Sasken's project team also had to cope with unavailability of tools and platforms, with communication and co-ordination challenges, and with cultural differences that were typical of offshore product development. This case illustrates how having clarity on product features, following a suitable process orientation, adhering to quality and timeline expectations, effectively dealing with a distributed team setup, and managing cross-cultural issues are important pre-requisites for success in offshore software development.