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Increase in IT Staff Productivity Provides Offshoring Alternative

"As an executive, there's always pressure for offshoring," says Jim Garcia, CTO of Enporion Inc. "I've always resisted that because the total cost of ownership of an offshore project is going to be higher than you think."

Founded by energy companies including Allegheny Energy Inc. and KeySpan Corp., Tampa, Fla.-based Enporion provides online procurement services to the utilities industry. With 20 employees, the IT department accounts for a significant chunk of the company's total workforce, Garcia says.

Even with that kind of IT focus, Garcia hasn't been immune to the siren call of offshoring because he's constantly trying to improve efficiency. To avoid shipping work out, Garcia had to improve IT development staff productivity. Three years ago, Garcia was the skeptical recipient of a pitch by Skyway Software, a provider of a visual development tool that doesn't require coding. (At another company, Garcia had an experience with a codeless environment that put a crimp in IT productivity, hence his skepticism.) But because codeless technology had since matured, Garcia opted to become a beta partner and test the mettle of Skyway's Builder product on internal applications.

The Builder environment worked as advertised, Garcia says, so he then used it to develop a customer-facing application that includes functions for online auctions and electronic requests for proposals.

Garcia has experienced a 10-to-1 increase in productivity; using part-time staff resources, he got the auction tool in production within six months. Garcia says such improvements rival anything he would expect from offshoring.

On average, Garcia says, developers can get up to speed with a new application built with Skyway in a week, enabling him to shift developers easily among projects. Now Garcia doesn't have to turn to offshoring. Problem solved.

Megan Santosus, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a features editor for Write to her at

This was last published in January 2006

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