We’ve reported several times now how Nike is increasingly developing and announcing new technological breakthroughs and products, including fitness apps, wearable technology, and innovative new kit.
The company’s speedy growth had led it to consult offshore outsources for help, like many other major companies. But, as an interview with ComputerWorld reveals, that caused more problems than anticipated.
The major issue was that the app developers they’d consulted didn’t really understand the products that Nike was trying to produce.
The idea of wearable technology, having your active life recorded in one place, apparently didn’t make sense to the people doing the work, according to Christopher Davis, engineering director at Nike+ Running, as the developers, “didn’t fit into the Nike culture.”
This culture problem, as it is known in offshore outsourcing circles, was impeding Nike’s agile development work, so the company shifted gears. It has now hired a small onshore developer, Catalyst IT Services, which has development centres in Baltimore and Oregon.
Nike says the costs of using an onshore team are on par with the development costs using an offshore team. The code, though, was better and arrived with fewer defects from the onshore team, said Davis.
Davis said he prefers to work with onshore teams, in part, because everyone is in similar time zones. Nike does still use offshore outsourcers for testing work because the cost savings, in that case, make sense.
The growing popularity of the Agile development methodology, which requires fast turnaround of code and close interaction between developers and users, is helping to increase demand for onshore operations. Onshore developers are also doing a better job competing on price as offshore rates rise.