The bottom line is always a consideration when seeking a nearshore partner. However, a lot of value can be lost – particularly concerning long term ROI – if the exclusive focus is near term cost, without considering the importance of cultural affinity.
In particular, a short term view can be an issue with companies that are offering programming services within a simple staffing model. In these scenarios, when a team is assembled for a client, there is a heavy emphasis on price reduction. Often, the client manages the team – with mixed results.
There are hundreds of onshore, offshore and nearshore companies following this model, but a client really needs to ask: What caliber of consultant are you bringing to your team and to your project? Partners that want to provide on-demand software development, implementation, resources and consulting need to have a cultural and organizational affinity with their clients. If not, quality is affected, and – ironically – economic opportunities are missed.
This is particularly true for higher-level engagements, where the skill and knowledge of individual consultants will have a direct impact on the success of a project. In these engagements, it is important that consultants function at an optimal level within their own teams, across their organization and in relation to the client.
Having consultants who can work at this level and who can have an affinity with the client requires a partner that can ensure the right people are in the right seats and at the right time. And for that to happen, there must be investments to ensure that consultants are content and willing to go the extra mile for the client. Inevitably, in many cases, this also means the partner is outperforming the competition.
Investing in People
If consultants feel valued, it is simple logic that they will then respect the client and will look for areas where there can be a cultural bond. In this regard, the most obvious issue is compensation. It is, quite frankly, difficult to tell a worker that he or she is valued when they aren’t being properly paid. The best providers will pay their consultants above market and provide their team members with the best technology, including high-quality equipment, monitors, keyboards and licenses to get the job done.
However, other forms of recognition are also important. These include benefits and a positive, supportive and pleasant work environment. How is this done? It’s something like a snowball effect, where success brings greater investments in team members’ lives, which in turn ensures retention and more success. It is important to always be looking for ways to improve the lives of team members, whether that be a small perk, a gathering or retreat or something bigger. Individual team members know that, though an accountant may record a benefit as an expense, in reality, all benefits are important investments in team members, the larger partner company and its clients.
Success brings greater investments in team members’ lives, which in turn ensures retention and more success.
In the example of Simpat Tech, most of our developers are located in Monterrey, Mexico, and most of our clients are in Texas. The cultural affinity is strong, with college and student exchanges, and a sense of familiarity with everything from food to sports. It’s easy to bring the vendor and client together as one team, not just as developers and tech leads, but as people working together and getting along.
At Simpat Tech, this approach has not gone unnoticed: the company was recognized as 2022’s Best Place to Code in Mexico by Software Guru.
Stable and Flexible
Stability and flexibility are central to the success of ongoing engagements and play an important role in reducing risk. Here, too, affinity is important.
It can be difficult to establish affinity with a client if the provider is struggling with its own internal issues. A stable and content workforce allows for the provider to better understand a client’s needs and to know how a consultant’s abilities fit. At Simpat Tech – where I am the COO and Managing Partner, working alongside CEO and Founder Ashish Patel – we have had incredible success at finding and keeping the best people. In fact, over the past four years, we have had 100% retention, with no turnover at all. Few, if any, nearshore providers in our sector can make this claim.
With regard to flexibility, it is important to adjust as new pain points are discovered. It is also critical that both the client and provider commit to transparency, and that there are open channels of communication when something isn’t going according to plan. Flexibility has to be established at the beginning of the project, with commitment to the very end. In the case of Simpat Tech, we can increase or decrease capacity depending on project needs. This can happen almost on demand, with anticipation of between two and four weeks.
Over the past four years, we have had 100% retention, with no turnover at all
This flexibility reduces risk, as does having a team that has familiarity with multiple industries. Having an affinity with industry-specific requirements, often from multiple previous engagements, adds immense value when supporting management and operations. At times, too, there are best practices and innovations that can be ported from one industry to another, and that a client might be unaware of.
Affinity enhances thought leadership. Knowing how to solve a problem often isn’t enough; it is important to anticipate future scenarios while also delivering results. At Simpat Tech, we use metrics to ensure that no one is waiting for the next sprint and that the client receives the correct deliverable for a specific project, and on time.
This ability also allows us to scale up our responsibilities, if desired. More than simply delivering programming in a specific language, we deliver thought leadership for a variety of roles; from Account Executives, to Business Analysts, Project Managers and Quality Assurance. This way, we can deliver ongoing assessments to make improvements and take control of projects to improve performance and ROI.
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. When clients see the enhanced value – often quite early in an engagement – they start relying more heavily on a partner’s expertise. Over time, the affinity builds to the point where the provider assists the client in addressing its most complex challenges and mission-critical goals. With project outcomes aligned with business priorities, the provider then becomes instrumental to a client’s multi-year growth plan – and its future success.