Quality control and peak work management are major challenges, says Rafiq Dossani, a senior research scholar and executive director of South Asia programs at Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and author of India Arriving: How This Economic Powerhouse is Redefining Global Business, published by AMACOM in 2007.
Dossanihas studied the delivery of IT services through globally distributed centers.
"When people work in the same location, quality is usually assessed by team members jointly and sometimes with reference to an independent QC team," he says. "When they work across locations and time zones, joint assessment becomes difficult. So, too, does independent QC assessment."
And if a rush of work suddenly and unexpectedly occurs due to time deadlines, that poses problems.
"The bench of workers in both countries together might be jointly sufficient to respond," he says, "but may not be adequate individually, leading to delays."
"The allocation of complete projects to a single location is probably the best solution," Dossani says. "The problem it raises is that it does not allow work to be done where the skills are located. For example, India might be better for architecting a chip and the U.S. better for understanding customer needs."
A second strategy is to limit coordination to managers rather than engineers.
"This requires subdividing a project into components, with a subproject manager for each component," he says. "The subproject managers then coordinate globally, while the engineering staff interact only locally."