Our lives are about to take another interesting turn on ‘Project web’, as I have just returned from a whistle-stop trip to South Africa where I met a number of prospective suppliers for our ambitious new website project.  We are almost certain that we’ll be returning to South Africa for 4-5 months to build our new website – but we shall know for certain within the next few days

Q:  How did I find the quality of suppliers?

I generally met with medium sized organisations, and was impressed with the skills I found there.  All representatives came across as honest, keen on working on our project (understandable as we think it is a great project!) and willing to let us get involved more than a typical client would.  I did warn them that I was no a typical client!

Q:  How does pricing compare with the UK?

As the South African rand is quite weak against the British Pound at the moment, it makes South Africa an attractive outsourcing option.  South African rates are well below UK rates at current exchange rates.  However, be careful – some providers see dollar signs glistening in your eyes when they hear it is an international project, and will try to quote you the UK equivalent cost.  Only one prospective supplier did this, and was eliminated from the race almost immediately.

Q:  Can you tell us what it is yet?  Or what is it called?

It is still all shrouded in mystery, but we can reveal the name.  It will be called The Room Link.  More than that we cannot say.  But don’t worry, it won’t be long until we launch!  Watch this space.

Q:  Can’t you manage manage the project remotely?  Do you have to go to South Africa?

I am sure we could manage it remotely, but as this has been my life for the past 5 months, I want to give it every chance of success.  If we are there while it is being built, I can get in my car anytime to go and see and/or talk to the suppliers.  Skype is great, but I want to physically keep my finger on the pulse.

Q:  How will you cope living back in South Africa?

The honest answer is:  I don’t know.  And I don’t know how Tim will adapt to the process either.  But, it is a good trial run to see whether we could live in South Africa again one day.  I will be writing separate posts on my South African experiences and observations.  I hope they’ll entertain (and sometimes horrify) you.

Q:  I have a website that needs building / changing / tweaking – can I do that in South Africa too?

We will be happy to facilitate and introduce you to the people we have met in South Africa.  No doubt it will be more cost effective than doing it in the UK.

Q:  So, if you go, how soon do you go?

We think we’ll probably leave in about 2.5 weeks’ time.  Scary when I put it that way.  But we really want to start the project at the beginning of September, so we’d better get our skates on!

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