Softedge creates 15 NI tech jobs for MS Silverlight project

21 May 2009

Dublin-headquartered software firm Softedge Systems is to create 15 tech jobs in Newry to create products based on Microsoft’s Silverlight internet media platform.

Assisted by Invest Northern Ireland, the £700,000 sterling investment will see the company become one of the first Irish software developers to adopt a ‘blended’ outsourcing model.

Using this approach, the company will carry out high-end product design in Dublin and then ‘insource’ development to its new Newry centre, as well as outsourcing work to a subsidiary company in India.

The Newry operation will focus initially on developing software solutions using Microsoft Silverlight, which enables streaming of high-quality video, animation and interactive features online. It is expected it will create 15 ICT posts over the next three years.

Vikas Sahni, CEO of Softedge Systems (NI) Ltd, said that Newry was chosen for the project because it offers the best value-for-money solution.

“Overhead costs in Newry are up to 30pc less than in Dublin. A further attraction is that the city’s location means it provides easy access to client sites throughout the island and to the mix of experienced and graduate software specialists we require.

“While labour costs are lower at our software development centre in Delhi, staff turnover coupled with language and cultural issues mean that it does not make sense to outsource all of our work there.

“The Newry development centre will provide us with the best of both worlds, enabling us to provide the type of blended solution that larger companies such as First Source and Polaris have deployed very effectively in Northern Ireland.

“Some of the technologies involved in Silverlight are so new that, as yet, there are no training courses available. That means we need to recruit qualified people who are willing to learn fast and to continue to learn.

“Silverlight is extremely flexible and it is much faster to use than comparable products, which means projects can be undertaken very cost-effectively. That is one reason why more and more organisations are incorporating the platform into their websites, and we believe the Newry centre will strongly position us to take advantage of this demand,” added Sahni.

Invest NI has offered £140,000 sterling towards a total investment by Softedge Systems of £703,542 sterling.

“When it comes to high-quality ICT skills, the North can offer a comparable cost base to traditional outsource locations, with the added advantage of being just an hour, rather than a day’s, travel away,” explained Jenny Young, director with Invest NI.

“In today’s economic climate, many companies are taking a much closer look at the potential benefits of different outsourcing strategies. It is clear that in the past, the true cost of factors such as the long-term availability of skills and ’fully loaded’ operating costs have often been overlooked in favour of short-term attractive salary costs.

“Other important considerations that are increasingly being recognised include management resources, risk, travel, data and information security. This investment by Softedge Systems shows that such issues are no longer of exclusive interest to multinationals – SME’s can benefit from global operating models as well,” she said.

By John Kennedy

Pictured in Newry at the announcement of SoftEdge’s new software centre of excellence are (from left): Vikas Sahni, CEO of Softedge; Terry Landers, Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Ireland, a key Softedge client; and Jeremy Fitch, Invest NI’s managing director of Business International