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Offshore Development Center in France

01 January 2024
France has emerged as an attractive destination for setting up offshore development centers (ODCs) in recent years. With a skilled talent pool, business-friendly policies, and geographic proximity to key European markets, France offers multiple advantages for companies looking to expand their software engineering capabilities.

Some key statistics:
  • Over 480 offshore development centers belonging to Fortune 500 companies already operate out of France, employing around 105,000 technology professionals.
  • 52% growth has been registered in software developers employed at French offshore centers between 2018-2022, underscoring the rapid expansion.
  • French offshore software exports are projected to reach €15 billion by 2025, signalling over 30% year-on-year expansion.
  • France boasts Europe's largest concentration of multilingual software developers and engineers, with over 76,000 English-speaking IT experts at present.
  • The Paris region alone is home to over 250 offshore centers set up by global majors across domains from banking to aerospace to telecom.
  • France invests €48.9 billion annually in R&D activities - the highest amongst European countries – providing fertile ground for offshore innovation.
With some of Europe's most reputed STEM programs churning out an unparalleled talent base yearly, France has systematically strengthened its positioning as an attractive offshore delivery location for marquee companies worldwide seeking quality and cost balance alongside access to wider EU markets.
Offshore Development in France

France's Emergence as an ODC Destination

An offshore development center refers to an independently operating software development and testing facility located in a different country from the client company's headquarters.

An offshore development center (ODC) represents a wholly owned subsidiary of the client organization overseas dedicated to its technology projects exclusively. ODC staff including engineers, testers, program managers and supporting roles work full-time on the client's software product and services initiatives per their specifications. The ODC adopts all processes and methodologies mandated by the client across project lifecycles spanning design, development, testing, release and maintenance. It effectively serves as an extended dedicated engineering and innovation team in an offshore location to help scale technology capacity rapidly in a cost-optimized manner for the client.

The ODC follows the same standards and security protocols for communication, code quality and collaboration as onshore teams to ensure seamless integration. By leveraging lower offshore wage rates, clients can build sizable technology teams overseas through their ODCs that remain fully owned and aligned to internal objectives.
ODC in France
A confluence of favorable factors has seen France emerge as an increasingly preferred destination for ODCs:
  1. France jumped from 8th place in 2017 to 3rd place in 2021 in the global A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index. This index rates countries on financial attractiveness, people skills and availability, and business environment.
  2. In 2021 and 2022 surveys by Gartner, France debuted among the top 5 destinations for setting up IT and business process outsourcing centers.
  3. According to a Nasscom report, France accounted for 15% of the total 1,340+ offshore development centers set up in Europe recently. Third highest after UK and Germany.
  4. The cost arbitrage for French IT resources can range from 20% to 50% compared to onshore locations.
  5. KPMG estimates around $5.5 billion was invested in new ODCs in France between 2016-2020. Investments are expected to grow at 6% CAGR through 2025.
  6. Several global multinationals like Accenture, IBM, Capgemini, Cognizant have already set up large innovation centers and ODCs in tier-1 French cities.
Leading offshore teams is vastly different than traditional colocated management. Time zone gaps, cultural barriers and language issues amplify communication challenges. Plus, lacking the benefits of in-person visibility introduces new risks around productivity, morale and alignment. Though daunting, embracing some deliberate adaptations to leadership style and operations can bridge distance effectively.

Advantages of Working with Offshore Developers

Partnering with overseas software developers offers immense strategic advantages beyond mere labor cost arbitrage for companies seeking to accelerate innovation. By leveraging specialized offshore tech talent, French organizations can compress development cycles over 30% through follow-the-sun execution across time zones.

Around-the-clock progress unlocks the kind of velocity that wins in fast-changing digital environments. Offshore teams resident in numerous geographies worldwide also provide diversity in perspectives - invaluable for enhancing user experiences across cultures. Access to niche expertise like IoT, Cybersecurity and Machine Learning otherwise missing locally assists future-proofing too.

But arguably more significant are the multiplier effects upon onshore leadership productivity that offshore collaboration enables. Handing frequent task management responsibilities to trusted offshore collaborators frees invaluable bandwidth for customer-centric strategic thinking. The cycle time reductions likewise minimize the need for larger domestic teams and optimize costs.

Furthermore, vetting concepts simultaneously with digitally savvy offshore partners allows 'making smarter mistakes fast' long before expensive domestic investments. Such fail-fast feedback sharpens solution quality considerably. Underpinning this are the close-knit relationships progressive leaders foster with overseas developers through extensive virtual and in-person connections.

Offshore Development in France

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Main Tips for Managing Offshore Development Team in France

A few tips to make managing an offshore team more efficient and simple.

#1 Invest in Relationship Building
Virtual coffee chats about personal lives or interests unrelated to work foster well-rounded relationships, underscoring offshore colleagues’ humanity beyond work functions. Occasional visits offshore further cement interpersonal bonds which engender trust, comradery and willingness to go the extra mile when urgency calls.

#2 Emphasize Transparency
When leading teams dispersed across geographies day-to-day, frequent transparent updates become crucial. Set consistent chat/call expectations to share ongoing project status, priority rebalancing and new goal posts as they evolve. Broadcast major organizational announcements immediately with wider context. Discuss setbacks and course corrections openly without hesitation. Clearly convey strategic planning so everyone remains plugged into big picture purpose amidst tactical delivery. Such relentless transparency minimizes hearsay risk and builds shared ownership.

#3 Customize Communication Modes
With muted cues available in virtual interactions, offshore team communications warrant customization to suit varied cultural styles. Adapt directness levels, formality, channels used and frequencies to the nuances of each location – high context Asian cultures like hierarchy and non-verbal gestures while certain Europeans appreciate candid debate. Note individual preferences too like those averse to video calls. Blending a mix of centralized meetings and 1-1 outreach suits dispensation needs.

#4 Implement Robust Collaboration Platforms
Minimize productivity loss from disjointed information flows by provisioning feature-rich online project management, video conferencing and instant messaging tools for ubiquitous access across regions. Enable virtual watercooler conversations via enterprise social networks as informal ties strengthen commitment. Provide large shared cloud-based file repositories with access controls to keep all project artifacts including design docs, code and meeting records in sync.

#5 Incentivize Self-Management
Resist directing offshore teams at micro task level daily. Such minute control disempowers personal leadership and hinders skills growth. Instead, define larger project goals and empower distributed squad self-organization leveraging agile ceremonies like daily standups, retrospectives and Kanban exception reporting. Let teams internally calibrate on subtask duties while holding them accountable for collective deliverables. This builds offshore leadership bench.

In essence, managing offshore programmers needs a consulted orchestrating approach rather than command-control. Driving higher offshore team ownership through liberal autonomy and abundant access to strategic context sustains innovation despite remoteness. The extra effort in relationship building and communications pays rich dividends long term.

Offshore Development


France's expanding technology talent, targeted incentives for software innovation, and central European location make it well poised to be the next powerhouse for global offshore delivery. While costs are higher than Eastern Europe or Asia, the value offered in terms of expertise, productivity, infrastructure quality, and access to key EU markets offsets this premium.

With strong government backing through initiatives such as Choose France and La French Tech, the country has been steadily climbing the ranks for setting up ODCs. As the French ecosystem matures further, organizations keen to tap into European skills and expertise should actively evaluate options for locating their next offshore development center in different French locations.

If you too want to engage overseas developers for quick realization of your projects, get in touch with us. We will consult you and select programmers for your project needs.
Sergio Art is the entrepreneurial mind behind the Offshore Development Center (ODC), which he launched in 2010 to support U.S. businesses in their digital transformation efforts through access to skilled software engineers.

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