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Companies looking to save money by offshoring would make bigger savings by looking at the processes behind their software development.

Erich Gerber, chief executive of Interactive Objects, a German consultancy, believes Model Driven Architecture (MDA) can cut as much as 40 per cent from the cost of developing software. But offshoring a software development project can only cut 30 to 35 per cent from the total budget.

A survey of CIOs reveals that 67 per cent of them do not know any alternative strategies to offshoring. Although a third of British companies are expected to have at least some offshore projects by next year IT directors are still worried by offshoring. Hidden costs are expected by 76 per cent of survey respondents and just over half cite intellectual property concerns over offshoring.

MDA is a set of standards for software development which aims to avoid some of the common pitfalls. Gerber believes that investing more time in the design stage of any project can reduce testing times and improve the quality of applications produced. Sandards were agreed four years ago and the technology is now ready for the mass market, he says.

"We are leaving the early adopters stage and moving to market adoption. I see this with customers and potential customers, and you can see it in reports from research companies like Butler Group. Other companies are getting involved too - Microsoft, IBM and CA - even if they call it different things."

Gerber expects Europe and the US to "be ahead in technology adoption for some time to come" so doesn't expect to have to compete with Indian firms using MDA just yet. Indian firms already using MDA feel free to email me....

The survey was carried out by Vanson Bourne, which spoke to 100 CIOs at companies with more than 1,000 employees. More details on MDA are available on the Object Management Group's website. ®

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