1. Situation Summary

Situation Summary

Andy Hilliard of Accelerance met with Pete Panagakis, Scott Carson and Scott Woodward of Blue Ocean Consulting (BOC) on Tuesday Oct 27, 2015 and Pete followed up later with details outlined below.

Client Background

BOC's expertise is in assessing and implementing web-based, database driven solutions. These solutions include content management, e-commerce, document management, and building custom business tools when the commercial off the shelf software does not provide a good fit.  They service a variety of clients operating in a variety of vertical markets.  Their target client is small to medium size business ranging from $5 million to $500 million in revenue.

Current Situation, Service Need and Relationship Vision

BOC has roughly 20 resources on their software team.  The ratio is roughly 3:1, dev to qa. There are 2 business analysts to support the teams.  They typically have 4-5 active projects, plus a support team.

BOC develops custom solutions for clients.  Either their clients or their client's clients use the tools they build. Their vision for an Accelerance partner is as a long term team extension.  As they grow, they would use these teams as flex resources.  They expect to keep a specific ration of internal and external resources. The reason they are considering outsourcing is a lack of available resources, and a desire to improve project profitability.

Initially they will be looking for 2-3 developers and 1 QA.  They anticipate the need for a minimum of 6 months, most likely longer.  They believe they will need another 2-3 developers and 1 QA in the next 6 months. 

BOC is (primarily) a Microsoft technology stack service provider.  C# developers, Angular, MVC, JavaScript, SQL Server.  Visual Studio and TFS a must.  Strong knowledge of Scrum/Agile SDLC. A Partner with MS Gold Application Development Competency would be great. Sitefinity CMS experience would also be good to have.

Regarding cultural alignment, they need similar cultural attributes as the US.  No "yes" men. They want to work with people who want to partner to solve problems.  BOC values partners who promote collaboration and are not afraid to over communicate.

Outsourcing History, Selection and Success Criteria

BOC has no prior outsourcing experience. Pete has experience in evaluating outsourcing options for his last company. 

They prefer Nearshore options, with same time zone overlap (4-6hrs min).  Latin America would be ideal.

They don't want to be a small fish in a big pond, but they don't want to deal with a small immature company that lacks process and access to talented resources.  They would think that a company with 50-400 resources would be right-sized for us.  

 Time Frame

They see a start date of no later than January 1, 2016. Partner selection will be made by an internal review with company owners.  3 owners, plus Pete.  Decision could be made quickly to start a pilot project.

The onboarding of these resources is dependent on the project pipeline.  They have one new project in January for sure.  Others are TBD.  If the pipeline were to change, they may have to change our resource planning.  This may include cancelling the near shore venture or offloading domestic contractors for new near-shore team members.

2. Objectives & Selection Criteria for This Engagement

Specifically, BOC's objectives are:

  • Flexibility:  Rapid ramp-up of an outsourced team – as dictated by BOC's current and anticipated future development needs.
  • Technical Expertise: Technical expertise in developing custom applications suited to BOC's business goals and requirements and according to the BOC's specific technical requirements, namely, C# developers, Angular, MVC, JavaScript, SQL Server.  Visual Studio and TFS a must.  Strong knowledge of Scrum/Agile SDLC. A Partner with MS Gold Application Development Competency would be great. Sitefinity CMS experience would also be good to have.
  • Capabilities: Beyond technical expertise, you want a Partner whose teams can handle the full cycle of software development, doing so in an independent, collaborative and flexible manner.
  • Methodology:  Experience with Agile methods in Software Development – documented and experienced best practices utilizing an Agile Framework and able to produce and achieve reasonable time estimates for sprints.
  • Talent:  Access to a reasonably deep talent pool as dictated by the relationship needs, with the help of a Partner that will increase the speed of ramping up of the kind of team you seek, utilizing a proven HR and training process.  The composition of any team must be able to reasonably flex as needs dictate.
  • Cost Efficiency:  While not the only top priority, this is an important driver:  cost savings are expected but not at the expense of work quality. Blended rates from low-30's to low-40's/hr would be ideal
  • Location & Time Zone:  Not geographically constrained but the relationship must allow for good time zone overlap to ensure proper collaboration and handoff.
  • Timing:  Start potentially Jan 1.
  • Cultural and Language Alignment: Excellent communication and problem solving skills

3. Introduction to Accelerance's Recommendations

Accelerance has considered the your objectives and vendor selection criteria in the context of all members in the Accelerance Global Partner Network. Accelerance is delighted to recommend Belatrix (Argentina, Peru), Proximity (Costa Rica) and Truextend (Bolivia) as our top aligned choices and great matches for your needs. 

 



Contact Information

Accelerance Quick Take

What Belatrix says about Blue Ocean Consulting

Based on the details you have shared with us, we understand that Belatrix could be the ideal partner for BOC:

  •      8+ years of expertise in Agile/Scrum with 70+ Certified Scrum Masters
  •      Strong expertise in .Net, C#, JavaScript, Angular, MVC, and SQL Server technologies
  •      US Culture alignment and strong English skills
  •      Our near-shore locations. Belatrix headquarters are located in Mendoza, 2 hours ahead of Eastern tine and Lima located in Mountain time
  •      Our experience in legal software and services

More specifically I would like to point out our value proposition to BOC:

Belatrix Value Proposition

Advantages Belatrix offers that should be considered are:

  •      Microsoft Gold certified Partners with 10+ years of expertise using .Net
  •      Over 12 years of hands-on experience providing product development outsourcing services to US companies
  •      Bilingual work-force: all of Belatrix’ current customers speak English so we are very used to not only coding using English but also dealing directly with English-speaking clients.
  •      Important experience in the development & QA/testing space, with a number of well known clients like Disney, K12, Adobe, AOL.
  •      Considerable size: with over 350 engineers on staff in Argentina and Peru ranging from software development to quality assurance to IT support we can provide scalability as well as breadth and depth on many technologies and platforms.
  •      Competitive rates compared with IT companies in USA and Latin-America.
  •      Workday overlap with the entire team. Lima, Peru is located in the US Mountain time zone and Mendoza, Argentina 2 hour ahead of the US Eastern time zone
  •      Excellent cultural alignment with North America.
  •      Low attrition rate (12%)
  •      Strong expertise in the Legal business
  •      In house recruitment team that allows us to allocate large teams in a 6 to 8 weeks ramp-up period of time

Belatrix believes that it is in BOC’s best interest to engage Belatrix to cover all the needs expressed.  Some significant benefits Belatrix provides:

  •      Technology:  Belatrix specializes in Microsoft development. Strong experience providing software development services for companies in the following verticals: Legal, Healthcare, Financial, Telecommunications, Multi-Level Marketing and many others.
  •      Methodology: Belatrix is one of the leading Scrum practitioners in LatAm, as we have been using it for over 8 years and with over 70 CSMs we have the most Certified Scrum Masters on staff of any other company in LatAm. This means that we will hit the ground running when it comes to process, communication patterns, etc. Having offices in Lima, Peru in your same time zone (Central) allows us to share most of the work day together and we strongly encourage maintaining open lines of communication through phone, Skype or other similar tools as it gives our clients high visibility for their projects. All of our engineers work from our offices in Mendoza and Peru.
  •      Quality: Belatrix's QA Engineers are second to none. We find and recruit great software developers and then train them as QA engineers with very specific skills to perform from complex manual testing to implementing large test automation frameworks. Also, our approach to QA goes well beyond testing as we believe quality is also affected by processes, metrics, tools, etc. and our people have the skills and experience to help in all of these areas. In addition to providing regular functional and regression testing, we have specialists for advanced QA services such as load and stress testing as well automated script-driven web and mobile testing including building frameworks to support these that minimize re-writing code and maximizing efficiency.
  •      Process Maturity: Belatrix has invested heavily in process assurance having certified first ISO 9001, then CMMi level 2 and more recently CMMi Level 3 for Services, which makes Belatrix one of only 8 companies in all of LatAm with this level of certification.  Belatrix has a dedicated Process Assurance Area that gets involved to co-design the best process, workflow, etc. with the client and will also then audit the project and the team to make sure we are all in compliance with said processes. While most projects use Scrum, we also add additional processes on top of Scrum to cover data security, governance, etc. With the completion of the most recent appraisal - CMMi Level 3 for Services, what this brings to our clients is not just proven processes to succeed, but also process improvement measures which are built into every one of our engagements so that over time we keep actively improving our efficiency and keep proving our value to our clients.

Artifacts

Click the link below to review information and other relevant material compiled during the certification process carried out by Accelerance for this partner:


http://bit.ly/1xmktlC

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Contact Information

Accelerance Quick Take

What Proximity says about Blue Ocean Consulting

Andy, we can definitively help BOC on their efforts of creating a truly agile model where Proximity becomes an extension of their organization in Costa Rica.

This is the model that we successfully run with our clients and where we boost the benefits of Agile and Nearshore, taking advantage of our geographical proximity (that's right... there is where our name comes from!), the similar timezone, the business culture alignment and even more important: our experience guiding companies on how to take advantage of Nearshore-Agile, going beyond the "mechanics" of agile, and getting to the core of an agile mindset and culture.

Our engineers are senior guys used to work with clients in the US, in different industries and in teams of different sizes and combinations, so effective collaboration is the center point of our efforts.

We know that choosing a new partner is not a trivial thing. We, as a company, have extensive experience engaging with new clients, for new projects or adopting existing ones. We have developed an engagement process over the years that allow us having a smooth and that will help BOC on having an effective relationship with us since day 1.

One common question we get is how quickly will our engineers internalize the knowledge transfer and how quick will they become productive and will start generating usable/effective code? The answer is simple: We hire smart, multi-cultural, creative problem solving engineers and from our experience, they always become productive much faster than normally expected by the client. A smart guy/team will ask the right/smart questions and will understand quickly who is who and who knows what within BOC.

Methodologies, tools, technologies, processes, and standards are powerful things if properly used, but at the end, projects are a matter of people working with people, and this is what makes projects more interesting and sometimes challenging, because people… are people. Knowing this is part of our DNA and the entire organization works around making the interactions simple, professional, effective and enjoyable, functioning as a single agile team.

By the way, the MS and Mobile technology stack mentioned is within what we call our "sweet spot", and a set of technologies we are very experienced on, so the fit is even clearer for us.

I will be happy to follow any next step BOC defines on this opportunity. Please let me know if they want to have a conference call where we can go into more details about our experience and their needs.

As I always say, "first you see, then you trust" so we are open to provide references from other clients, or to go with an initial pilot project where they can "test the water".

Artifacts

Click the link below to review information and other relevant material compiled during the certification process carried out by Accelerance for this partner:


http://bit.ly/1qlRBW8

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Contact Information

Accelerance Quick Take

What Truextend says about Blue Ocean Consulting

Blue Ocean is a great match for us because the nature and size of the project needs fall in our area of expertise. At a glance, we are specialized in Web development, Scrum practices and software testing. Some highlights on these topics:

  • We have successfully created mission critical web systems in the past for big and small companies in the United States.
  • We have the required team: business analysts, project managers, developers, etc. to implement this project in a agile fashion where we deliver value at early stages of the project and keep constant communication with the client.
  • We have experienced senior and mid-level web developers who are fluent in English.
  • We are a MS-centric development house.

In addition we invest in our engineers so they can be fluent in English, manage multiple operating systems (MAC, Linux, Windows), and can work on any complex project. As a matter of fact, we have customers that create really complex pieces of software, like automation frameworks, GPS / telecommunication products, financial and even healthcare solutions.

TRUEXTEND has the required human resource to start working on this project creating all the pieces required to successfully deploy this system to production. We would be able to recommend the best technology according to the client needs.

If BOC wants to dig deeper into TRUEXTEND I would recommend looking at the following material:

  •   TRUEXTEND has unique values and advantages. Please read the attached paper to find out: 5 Reasons why you want to work with TRUEXTEND https://www.slideshare.net/secret/Gs4OpVan2Jphl5
  •   Our engineering centers are located in a practically unexplored country full of opportunities:  Bolivia. I’d recommend to read this blog why Bolivia is a great choice among other Latin American countries: Outsourcing: Bolivia vs. Other South American Outsourcers http://www.truextend.com/nearshore/outsourcing-bolivia-vs-other-south-american-outsourcers
  •   In this section of our website you will find plenty of information about working with TRUEXTEND, Bolivia and Nearshore: http://www.truextend.com/nearshore
  •   Some of our current customers include:
  •   Spigit, Inc.  Leader in software innovation and was ranked the 64th company fastest growing in the US in 2012. We create for them mobile solution for iOS, android and RIM. In addition we are responsible of manual and automation QA of all their products.
  •   OpenSpan, Inc.  Dedicated to desktop automation and analytics and helps more than 2000 companies Globally integrate their systems into a cohesive one. We are in charge of automation and manual QA of all their products.
  •   CalAmp. Dedicated to provide wireless communications solutions that deliver data, voice and video for critical networked communications, which are used by governmental institutions and enterprise customers. We extend their JAVA development team for web and mobile and in addition we are responsible of their core QA manual and automation testing.
  •   PDR is the leading distributor of drug labeling information and provides an infrastructure that allows physicians and other prescribers to receive valuable and sensitive information through different subscription mechanisms. We are responsible of the testing of Web, desktop and mobile of all their products. PDR is the leading distributor of drug labeling information and provides an infrastructure that allows physicians and other prescribers to receive valuable and sensitive information through different subscription mechanisms.

Artifacts

Click the link below to review information and other relevant material compiled during the certification process carried out by Accelerance for this partner:


http://www.accelerance.com/private-partner-page-truextend

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4. Partner Information and Other Relevant Materials

Accelerance gathers and compiles relevant due diligence information on our Partners to share with you. This includes presentations, Assessments, blogs, and Accelerance Video Interviews of Partner leaders discussing topics of outsourcing interest. To review information and other relevant material for your top aligned Accelerance Partners, click on the links below.

5. Additional Information About Our Selection

Since 2001, Accelerance has curated detailed information on more than 7,000 global software development firms. 

Accelerance deeply assesses all of our partners on multiple operational and develop based levels, including site visit assessments before admitting them into the Accelerance network. We continue to monitor, assess and consult with ongoing partner-client engagements to assure development and relationship success. As part of our evolving partner relationships, we continually update our knowledge of our partner's capabilities, strengths and successes and we produce content for clients to dimensionalize these partner facets.

 Currently, 50 software development partners in 30 countries have been fully vetted extensively on site and over time to earn our designation of Accelerance Certified Expert (ACE) Partner. Learn more about our assessment process here.

6. Ramp-Up of Your Outsourcing with an Accelerance Partner

After you review this proposal please revert with your feedback and questions so that we can clarify your needs and preferences.

If everything is good, the next recommended step is to have brief (<= 1-hour) video calls with one or more recommended partners using a simple agenda below. You will use the calls to validate shared information while exploring other related topics like how they work with clients and how they would create and ramp up your team, what software development methods they use with clients, case studies, metrics, etc... You can choose to keep the call at the business level or you can make it more technical.

The call(s) enable you to benchmark and validate some basic principles and to get a feel how each Partner relates and fits to your working environment. In other words, it takes this process from the theoretical to the actual, with a small but important investment of time.

My assistant Yael Passarelli will set up the call(s) for us.  

Partner Intro Video Call - Recommended Agenda

  • Quick overview of your goals and reasons driving this desire to bring on a partner 
  • Quick overview of the Partner, 5 – 10 min, size/scale/location/#clients, ability to support your software development needs
  • Key competencies, 5 – 10 min, what are the unique attributes that differentiate Partner
  • Partner Case study: 15 – 20 min, walk through of a recent customer project (ideally similar to you) including
    • Project objective & timeframe
    • # resources on both sides
    • Technologies used
    • Key challenges and how they were addressed
    • How was the project managed, kept on track, stakeholders notified, etc.
  • How were risks identified & mitigated
  • In retrospect, what were the lessons learned by both sides.
  • Next Steps



7. On-Going Support from Accelerance

Your on-going relationship with the Accelerance partner of your choosing will be direct and participation by Accelerance is not required. For example, your signed agreement for deployment of your programming team, rates, terms and conditions will be with the Partner.

However, Accelerance is always available to you for advice and guidance of your global outsourcing relationships. In fact we will check in with you from time-to-time to ensure things are going well with your outsourcing.

Beyond the assessment that Accelerance performs on each global partner to validate their overall effectiveness and track record in delivering software development services to U.S. clients, Accelerance also uses a sophisticated set of metrics and alignment steps to ensure the recommended partner is the best fit to meet your short and long term needs.

Accelerance continues to serve both parties to ensure a successful launch and long term engagement after the initial introductory call:

  • Accelerance works with both parties to agree on equitable contractual arrangements based on industry best practices.
  • Accelerance provides feedback and guidance on the Governance Models based on industry best practices.
  • Accelerance continues to assess, monitor and report the performance and satisfaction levels of each party, independently, throughout the initial years of a relationship in order to provide key guidance and feedback to best ensure a healthy, ongoing relationship.

Our clients have found that continued involvement by Accelerance helps ensure an exceptional outsourcing experience. We hope you will join them and select one of our top choices as the recommended Accelerance global partner for your outsourced software development.