Nearshore Americas

Five Tips for Selecting a Nearshore Development Partner in 2020

With remote work dominating the business world, the availability of international resources with technical expertise and English proficiency has exploded, making Nearshore software development one of the most attractive options available to US organizations.

From our viewpoint, there’s never been a better time to explore a Nearshore development partnership with a trusted, experienced partner. By following these tips, you can build a solid, long-lasting relationship to overcome the challenges of operating in a post-pandemic world while enhancing your teams and delivering more value to your customers.

Don’t Ignore the Importance of Contracts and Protections

As virtual service provision becomes the norm, several small Nearshore software development companies are sprouting up across the region to seize new opportunities. However, many of these fresh faces are offering services without legal establishment, leaving customers exposed to greater risk if things go awry.

Certain documents and processes guarantee the provision of services internationally, such as IP protection. When scouting for a Nearshore provider, it’s essential to make sure they know about these cross-border protections and have used them in the past.

Consider it a major red flag if the provider cannot produce a master service agreement that passes your lawyers’ scrutiny and then won’t allow for any changes to that master service agreement (MSA) during the negotiation phase. Also, a willingness to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as soon as discussions begin signifies an immediate intention to build trust in the partnership.

Choose a Well-Aligned Time Zone

It’s no secret that time zone alignment is one of the Nearshore region’s biggest selling points, but the United States itself spans multiple time zones from east to west, sometimes resulting in three to four hours difference with Latin America.

With more people working at home, there is more temptation to log off on time and not work late into the night. It is therefore important to consider the need to overlap working hours with your Nearshore development partner. Anything over one or two hours difference can cause problems with communication, scheduling and meeting deadlines.

For instance, teams on the East Coast are perfectly aligned with Nearshore countries such as Bolivia, Argentina, or Uruguay, while West Coast teams might have more success working with companies in Mexico, Central America, or countries towards the west of South America.

Additionally, once travel routes open again, it’s vital to visit your teams and establish a deeper professional relationship in person. By choosing a provider in the same or similar time zone, you’re limiting any disruption to your schedule and ensuring you can maintain timely communications with headquarters—something to consider for future trips south.

Prioritize Transparency and Trust

Without the capability to visit partners in person, it helps to find companies who are willing to share as much as possible about their business in a virtual setting, while maintaining an open channel of communications and visibility into the project.

These transparent practices can include virtual tours of the facility, live video feeds of the office, and access to developers over voice or video during office hours.

Transparency also matters during the recruitment process. There have been stories, mostly offshore, of organizations choosing engineers with exceptional English skills but never realizing that somebody else is doing the actual work. To avoid this problem, your partner should present CVs to provide a choice of engineers, then let you interview them and communicate with them freely—it’s much better to get to know people individually before inviting them to join the team.

Check for Robust Security Practices

In a remote Nearshore development partnership, security is king, so be sure to ask potential partners how they ensure information security and data protection throughout their company. For example, here at Nearshore Code, one of our approaches is to establish separate networks for each customer so there is no possibility of sharing information between teams.

Companies should also ask about necessities like firewalls and secure physical installations, such as offsite data centers, along with checking exactly how the provider deals with security in a remote environment. For instance, there are tracking systems available that provide clients with information on employee attendance, desktop usage and task status, enabling the possibility to spot any suspicious activity.

Don’t Neglect the Classic Nearshore Benefits

While some approaches to choosing a Nearshore development partner have changed this year, there are still several advantages of Nearshore that will endure through any crisis.

Latin America has a high cultural affinity with the United States and the success of Silicon Valley has driven many Nearshore development companies to strive for the same achievements. This motivation has helped several countries develop strong English language capabilities, with some, like Bolivia, possessing neutral accents that resonate well with US companies.

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Nearshore partnerships are fantastic for adding value to your software development projects, not just through the high quality and innovation that Nearshore teams bring to the table, but also through the lower costs available in the region. Even so, it’s important to check for a stable currency and economy to avoid massive price fluctuations throughout the year. Bolivia, for example, has retained the same exchange rate with the USD for nine years, and its low rate of income tax allows providers to offer better prices than some rival countries.

Industries around the globe may have been turned on their heads by the pandemic, but Nearshore development providers have the experience and the processes in place to thrive in a virtual environment. By performing the right due diligence, your company can find the ideal Nearshore partner for your software projects, leading to a value-driven relationship that can survive virtually anything.

Pedro Lima

Pedro Lima is the Founder of Nearshore Code, a Bolivian IT services company with offices in La Paz and Cochabamba. Specializing in mobile and web development, Nearshore Code offers complete development teams for fixed-price software development services, as well as specific resources for staff augmentation. Along with expertise in JS, .Net, Java technologies, QA, and automation. We are experienced with establishing nearshore development centers for international customers, enabling us to build sustainable win-win relationships with partners around the world.

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