Both big and small companies, as well as startups, are looking for the possibility of outsourcing. The main reason for such a move is rapid growth and improving the company’s balance sheets. Also, it is a solution for a significant cost cut. That’s not all. For start-ups it’s often essential to outsource some of their activities, as it’s quite difficult (if not impossible) to receive EU funds without having some part of the services outsourced.
The covid time has highlighted some of the challenges with offshore outsourcing to India or the Philippines. Many companies have understood that these locations are often not the best solution for them. When deciding to outsource a business activity, companies face several challenges that are either obscure or quite difficult to address. The most important issues are the following:
- It is very difficult to recreate your company’s culture and values (which is basically a way of thinking and doing things) in a team assigned to the tasks by your outsourcing partner.
- What is even more complicated in such a case is effective communication, as well as a sound understanding of your client’s needs and goals
- The difficulty lies also in maintaining proper visibility and communicating with the team
- There are limited capabilities for performance monitoring
- The last but equally important issue is the danger of losing your domain knowledge in a case when your outsourcing partner withdraws.
During the last twelve years, I’ve been cooperating with clients based in the US and had a chance to observe first-hand all the challenges associated with offshore outsourcing. At one point, after witnessing yet another business disappointment taking place, I thought that there must be a way to approach outsourcing more efficiently, and simply better. Therefore, I decided to closely look at the problem and to come up with a solution.
As a first step, I formed boundary conditions for a potential location of outsourced business activity. I created the following list:
- Small culture gap – the culture of the selected country should be similar to the American one
- Time difference of maximum 8 hours – nobody likes to wake up in the middle of the night for an important call
- Great English skills – simply because we want to avoid unnecessary communication obstacles and to create one team that works smoothly
- Access to an impressive talent pool – chosen country should have the abundance of respected engineering universities and plenty of skilled specialists with great background
- Similar law and data protection regulations – no one wants to lose time on paperwork trying to identify complicated differences in local regulations
- Political and economic stability – we are looking for a long-term solution, so the selected country must be politically and economically reliable
- Lower costs than in the USA – it’s quite clear that this is the ultimate reason to outsource in the first place
There’s more to Poland than the Witcher
Going through different potential solutions, I decided that the best possible location would be a country in Europe, mainly due to manageable time difference as well as laws and regulations. Researching different countries one by one it quickly became clear that one country that stands out is Poland, which in fact is a leader of the global services market in CEE.
Poland has been recognized as a great opportunity to invest by such companies as Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Intel, who decided to build their R&D centers there. Looking at all the data I gathered, it seemed to me that Poland has almost all the necessary solutions, talent, and infrastructure to build an efficient outsourced team there. There was one thing, though, that I thought was a missing element in the picture – the aspect of building one working culture, rooted in the client’s working style and their way of thinking. In regards to common practices, putting together an offshore team in such a way that everybody would feel connected to the team located in the US appeared to me like an area that needed improvement.
One company – one culture – one team
This is how Rite NRG came to life – a Polish company that chose the right culture fit as a distinguishing feature among other outsourcing companies. In Rite NRG, we strongly believe that the client culture is their competitive advantage. To us, that distinctive working culture is not an additional feature, but rather that this is the most important thing. The outsourced team should not water it down, but quite the contrary: the people from the outsourced team should bring the right energy into the mix.
Therefore, when building a team, we approach the task as if these people were to work in the client’s office. The whole method is a topic for another article, but it’s impossible not to quickly mention the onboarding process. It’s a step at which we transfer the client’s mission, values, the way of thinking and doing business to the outsourced team. By doing so, our team – although geographically remote – becomes in fact the client’s internal team. The only difference is the location of their desks.
Synergy and ownership of the tasks
Thanks to the communication framework there’s no problem with understanding the common goal which we’re striving to achieve together with the client. Additionally, such a team automatically takes ownership of the assigned tasks. So, interestingly, the synergy between the client and the outsourced team is in fact a side effect, not to mention all the ideas and suggestions for improvement. Of course, all of it wouldn’t be possible without strong leadership that connects the team together and provides a healthy and creative environment for driving the best results. And last but not least, one other indispensable aspect is also great project infrastructure, based on the best tools known to the IT world – Jira, Slack, Zoom and many others. Working with these tools brings the aspect of transparency – everybody can simply log in and see what’s currently going on in the project.
The last potential question mark was the potential risk of losing the client’s domain knowledge. In fact, it doesn’t have to be a problem at all as Rite NRG offers the possibility of hiring the team directly, straight onto the client’s payroll.
How do you like this approach? Is there anything missing from the picture? Don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know at mnikolajuk(at)ritenrg.com. Or, feel free to contact Rite NRG directly. We’d be happy to tell you more on how we work and share all the information about our method of creating the next generation Agile development teams!