This is also a challenge in family-owned companies and those that have not previously had the need or opportunity to work with outsourcing partners. Meanwhile, mature organisations support their teams with entire departments formed by external partners.
It is not anything taboo – everything is a matter of calculating the benefits and analysing the potential risks.
Polish software agencies, but also Ukrainian, Romanian, Estonian and other, have primarily grown on employees hired to serve foreign customers. This is the easiest step in terms of scaling. In time, they will be asked to provide more comprehensive services by handling projects or support and consulting in selected key areas.
Such companies educate their clients on how to use the full potential of such cooperation by becoming not just an IT service provider, but a technology and consulting partner. Many times over the course of a long-term relationship, the relationship becomes crucial and secure. However, sceptics would point out the risk that the partner holds key intellectual assets and is responsible for critical business systems.
How does cooperation with tech partner begin?
When starting as a new technology partner, we begin by establishing the scope of the collaboration and our responsibilities. Let's assume that from the outset this is a typical outsourcing relationship, where our specialist joins the client's technical team and starts delivering some of the functionalities. I am omitting here the recruitment stage of the said specialist, carried out each time a new contract is made and is most often practised throughout the entire period of cooperation. Above all, the client wants to be involved in selecting the best specialists, which ensures the integrity of the team and the right work culture.
What if the specialist hired for the job becomes unavailable, falls ill, wants to change the project or gets a more favourable offer? When working out the terms and conditions of cooperation, every outsourcing organisation pays attention to transferring knowledge through dedicated systems, making sure that the cooperation environment is comfortable and safe for both partners.
Not every situation can be predicted, hence the importance of taking care of this very space. Other aspects of availability are to be handled by the supplier (technology partner), who takes care of the continuity of the work. Another way may be to replace the consultant in question with another with similar competencies, giving yourself and the client a transition period in which the new employee can take over from their colleague.
The next stage is to grow the team tailored to the client's project. Trust build-up starting from the beginning of the collaboration is a key factor. It manifests itself both in the reliability of the work and the care taken to ensure that the cooperation is properly accounted for, the work culture and the clear communication policy are upheld. A good contract worked out at an early stage gives the opportunity to discuss and agree on these aspects.
What about the language barrier?
IT specialists working with foreign clients are also verified in this respect. What is more, an account manager is always available to help solve day-to-day communication glitches. At a certain stage of the cooperation, there often appears a so-called local project coordinator who, on the partner's side, improves project communication.
When the relationship allows for entire projects to be delegated to the technology partner, the empowered project manager takes over the responsibility for the success of the collaboration.
Accounting for done work
The personal consultant, like the entire team in the outsourcing model of the client, is billed for qualitative work. Each working hour is reported to the system by both the tech partner and the client; also, double-time logging allows discrepancies to be checked.
Depending on the contract, the client can raise the subject of productivity and quality of work of individual consultants. The technology partner, taking care of the quality of the relationship, ensures the involvement of its specialists and the delivery of services at the highest level.
These are just some of the points worth making for companies looking for support in building their technical team outside of their home organisation.
In one sentence, still returning to outsourcing in start-ups, having a great team is crucial, but the product is the expected outcome that builds the value of a young organisation.
In conclusion, core competencies should be kept in-house, but the IT support can be provided by a tech partner. This will develop the product according to the vision of the start-up, expand the size of the team when the demand it higher and shrink it when programming work slows down.