What Do Real American and British Business Leaders Think about Belarusian IT Outsourcing Companies? Belarusian software development companies have clients in more than 60 countries all over the world, where 43.2% of clients are from the USA, 49.1% - from European countries, and 5.3% - from Russia and CIS countries (according to the official information, 2017). There Are Very Educated IT Professionals in Belarus Jason Van Dyke, President at Special Education Solutions (Fayetteville, Arkansas, the USA) marks that Belarusian developers are “very educated. Great skill sets at an affordable price. Great sense of urgency and time management in comparison to other IT professionals we have worked with.” Belarusian students successfully take part in many international competitions and win prizes. For example, Belarusians won the Facebook Hacker Cup, the Google Code Jam, and much more. If you have a look at the all-time medal ranking of the International Olympiad in Informatics, an annual programming competition for high school students since 1989, you will find Belarus in the top 15 of the world’s strongest nations (and it is ranked 6th in Europe). Belarus is the Next Big Labor Market for Programming Adam Nyhan, Business Attorney at Opticliff Law (Oregon, Portland, the USA) called to mind his client's words about Belarusian developers: "A client of mine, a software developer in New York City founded by a European and a Latin American, tapped Belarus for their programming talent. They have about 40 programmers in Belarus and have been delighted with them. The client has told me that they and others view Eastern Europe in general as the next big labor market for programming". “When it comes to finding an offshore partner in Eastern Europe, Belarus is a promising place to begin your search,” clarified Joshua Margolin, Senior Analyst at Clutch (a Washington, DC-based analyst firm that identifies top service providers able to deliver valuable results for their clients). “While the development firms highlighted in this newest update represent only a fraction of the options available to buyers, these particular companies have a demonstrated history of working successfully with Western clients, and that’s a major factor to consider.” In March 2017, Joshua Margolin said: “Things have improved noticeably during the last decade or two for tech suppliers in Belarus. National emphasis on STEM education, thoughtful economic development programs, and a commitment to superior customer service, are what seem to be responsible for their booming tech industry. ” According to the Bloomberg: "The nation has been a high-tech magnet ... local universities still turn out 4,000 information technology grads every year... Belarus also produces world-class specialists in Mathematics and Physics. That's an attraction to companies such as Invention Machine, a Boston-based group." Belarus is a European answer to Silicon Valley As Brad Krevoy, President and CEO of Motion Picture Corporation of America, noted in his video interview: ”Belarus Hi-Tech Park is a cutting edge European answer to Silicon Valley. Very intelligent people, enthusiastic work force. It’s the one place in Europe where skilled engineers, developers in web and the Internet come together to create new ideas. HTP is a perfect place to involve investment because people from resident companies here are very experienced in programming. I think it is a place to be for the future...“ Realistic and Responsible Belarus Developers Jack Thorogood, CEO at NOVP (London, United Kingdom) says: “I’ve been working with BY partners for about 8 years, and they are great. […] developers who are realists (i.e. can provide accurate timelines) and responsible (i.e. they'll endeavor to deliver to the timeline they set out”. A High Proportion of English Speakers in Belarus According to the CIO Magazine for technology executives, the skills of Belarusian software developers “coupled with a high proportion of English speakers and only a few hours time difference have made Belarus an attractive proposition for the UK companies looking to solve their development problems by offshoring. The establishment of the Belarus High Tech Park in 2005 has provided a real focus on IT skills in Belarus and has enabled the IT market to develop at a breakneck pace without any loss of quality” (according to Neil Turvin, the CEO of Godel, a software development company with offices in the UK and Belarus). Check out more testimonials from the American and British business leaders. Famous Companies Outsource To Belarus According to the report of Bloomberg (financial software, data, and media company from New York), Belarusian IT outsource providers work with such top clients as Google, Halliburton, Chevron, Citigroup, Sears, Colgate-Palmolive, Thomson Reuters, and Viacom, as well as Siemens, Mercedes-Benz, Bosch, Philips, Samsung, Barclays, and the London Stock Exchange. American Gartner experts recommend outsourcing software development in Belarus Gartner is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. Since 2011, Gartner has been including Belarus in the TOP offshore software development locations due to "the highly skilled and cost-effective workforce". As Martin Zwilling (Founder & CEO of Startup Professionals, the USA) put in his column for Forbes: “Labor rates are lower in some countries, but culture and language match are the real keys to productivity. Countries near you may be in the same time zone for easy communication, but lack the skills you need. As with real estate, it’s still about location, location, location.” There are plenty of locations where world's software development companies are based. An American information technology research and advisory company Gartner revealed TOP locations for the offshore software development services, including BELARUS. Gartner has analyzed 30 offshore services locations and rated each using 10 criteria: (1) range of services; (2) quality and professionalism; (3) domain expertise; (4) responsiveness; (5) innovation; (6) pricing; (7) delivery process/methodology; (8) knowledge management; (9) contracting practices; (10) commercial flexibility and maturity. Gartner experts say: “Our assessment of Belarus reveals a highly skilled and cost-effective workforce... Consider Belarus, particularly if you are looking to choose an Eastern European country with a broad selection of multinational and local providers in Eastern Europe. The capital city, Minsk, is home to a high concentration of large IT service providers.” Valery Tsepkalo, Director of the Hi-Tech Park Administration (Minsk, Belarus) says: “In 2010, in response to our request, Gartner suggested compiling an analytical report on Belarus for $250,000. In 2015, the agency contacted us upon its own initiative and the report had already been prepared. Belarus is one of the top ten countries of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which are covered by such reports. It means that the agency could not but notice Belarus as the part of the IT industry. Failing to do that could be detrimental to the agency.” Further reading: Gartner: Leading Offshore Services Locations in EMEA, 2015: Nearshore Increases Despite Geopolitical Concerns Gartner: Evaluate Offshore/Nearshore Countries for Outsourcing, Shared Services and Captives in EMEA, 2016 Cost of Quality IT Outsourcing in Belarus is twice cheaper than in the USA In 2016, according to the data of Belarusian Hi-Tech Park, the export of Belarusian software products and services totaled $820.6 million (+16% to the previous year's result). American companies buy almost half of the country’s software products and IT services. Developers in the USA and countries like it are expensive. The cheap cost of operating out of Belarus has allowed entrepreneurs from the USA to fund their company’s expansion with no outside investment. As an example, let’s take a role of a customer, who is located in the United States and requires developing a project (12 months in duration). Let’s say, this project requires 10 engineers with different skills levels (it might be .NET, or PHP, or any other technology). We calculated what it takes to develop such project. A software development team in the US will cost you 1,085,000 USD and 670,000 USD in Germany per year. Depending on skills and time frame to compile a team, it will cost you about 450,000-520,000 USD in Belarus - it’s 50-60% cheaper than in the USA and 30-40% cheaper than in Germany. The IT industry is widely supported by Belarus Government. In 2005 the High Technology Park (HTP) was created to support the software industry and increase the software development export. Belitsoft became a part of HTP in 2009. HTP provides outstanding conditions for its residents and lets them be competitive in the world due to the favorable taxation. Due to the governmental support, outsourcing to Belarus is beneficial as we offer competitive rates lower than other countries. Belarusian programmers' high standard educational background gives more opportunities to cut costs by faster delivery. One more reason to outsource your software projects to programmers from Belarus is that our Government stimulates software development companies to get quality ISO 9001 certificates to assure you that you are working with real professionals. Belitsoft successfully passed all the ISO 9001 certification stages, including staff education, quality management system development, and testing certification. Belarusian Developers Are Culturally Compatible With Americans As Forrester (an American independent technology and market research company) stated, “to succeed in their offshoring efforts, sourcing professionals will need to include cultural alignment as a key selection criterion”. First of all, Belarus is famous for its people. Hospitality, open mind, diligence, high level of education are the main values you can use to start successful cooperation with Belarusian IT companies. While companies from the U.K. are focused on productivity and the U.S. business is all about time and money, what are the key features of Belarus people’s work culture? Is it a common practice for that country’s software development suppliers to declare publicly about their work ethic? For example, our offshore software development company Belitsoft made the declaration of professional values & ethical standards on the corporate website: Our values: 1. Clients. This is the top value of our company. We aim at winning Client’s trust with our quality services. This is the main determinant of our work effectiveness. 2. Quality. Every employee must deliver high-quality work. 3. Results. Every employee must be able to solve any problem independently, quickly, and efficiently. 4. Discipline. Compliance with regulations, agreements, and promises. 5. Moving ahead. The constant search for better solutions, new ideas, and their responsible implementation. 6. Cool working place. Making the company a place where people want to work. These 6 determinants are the core of success both for our clients and for the company. That is what defines our values and tenets. Anyone can find reviews about Belarusian software development companies on sites like Clutch (Washington, DC-based analyst firm that identifies top service providers able to deliver valuable results for their clients). Below are some of them: Product Manager (Australia): I've worked with other offshore providers, and we seem to have a much better cultural fit with the Russians and the Belarusians. It's been a very fruitful partnership. Founder (Switzerland): First of all, they're Belarusian and they have very strong social skills. They love to talk, they love to visit and to have them visit you and vice versa. So, they're very social, unlike outsourcing in China or India, which is more paper pushing. Well-known successful software applications developed in Belarus It means the presence of solution-focused culture, but not just an ability to write pieces of code on request. Developers from Belarus have built a video filter app Msqrd (acquired by Facebook), a multiplayer online game World of Tanks, a messaging and calling app Viber. Working hours in the USA overlap with those in Belarus, but not in India or China Time zone is UTC+3, thus Belarus works with the USA and European clients during overlapping working hours. For CIOs in North America, offshoring means working across different time zones. But the huge difference in time zones makes daily face-to-face communication with the development team extremely problematic. When outsourcing faces the lack of real-time communication with remote developers, it can lead to misunderstandings, mistakes and, as a consequence, a serious increase in product price (time is money) or software failures. Let’s imagine that your product team is based in the USA and the development team is working in India. India is 9 hours and 30 minutes ahead of New York. If it is 9 a.m. in New York, it is already 6.30 p.m. in India. It is 10.30 p.m. in India when it is just 1 p.m. in New York. To use virtual face-to-face communication with the development team in India through Skype, entrepreneurs need to either begin their working day earlier or look for an outsourced software development company in India that requires from its employees to work longer hours and work off-hours. Otherwise, your communication will only consist of asynchronous email correspondence. It can be difficult to get the answers you need when you need them. If your problem or question is not understood, the back and forth can result in days passing before a problem is resolved — a disastrous situation for a project-critical issue. The study «Global Software Development Challenges: A Case Study on Temporal, Geographical and Socio-Cultural Distance» reveals that limited overlap with colleagues – and therefore delay of responses – make people lose track of the overall work process, something that can pose severe problems in distributed, yet time-critical, work. 2 - 4 Overlapping Hours are Enough for the Success In such a case, it is more convenient to work with Belarusian development companies. Belarus is just 7 hours ahead of New York. If it is 9.00 a.m. in New York, it is just 4 p.m. in Belarus. Usually, Belarusian developers work on USA projects till noon - 1 p.m. New York time. It is a rule for Belarusian offshore software development companies to extend its business hours to accommodate the clients from the USA. 2 - 4 overlapping hours are enough to ensure successful daily communication. In fact, companies from any time zone can collaborate with Belarus developers. That's why Belarus is the place where software development companies open offshore and nearshore development centers. Travel to Belarus is 1 - 3 hours from European capitals Our geographical position makes it easy to reach us by plane, just within 1-3 hours from any European capital. Foreign citizens of 80 countries can enter Belarus for up to 5 days visa-free. The list includes all EU countries, the USA, Japan, and other states. Why Do Companies Outsource Software Development? Advantages Of Outsourcing As an experienced application development outsourcing service provider, Belitsoft can assure that software outsourcing is a great way for many businesses to compensate the lack of their internal expertise and limited budget. Companies choose outsourcing to satisfy their IT needs: software development, in-house system administration and maintenance, and others. Outsourcing software development is especially effective in the long-term run. Labour Costs Reduction If a new business tasks require specific knowledge that your in-house workers do not possess, you either can train them or turn to find new qualified developers. Imagine what could have happened if your staff was struggling with both core and non-core duties while trying to update themselves on the latest industry tendencies. It would not only be hard for them to finish current tasks successfully but also to take up new ones. Outsourced developers are usually much cheaper to hire than in-house specialists: no costs on recruitment, training, and personnel retention; no need to pay for a social package, insurance, etc; these specialists work on their own premises and have their own equipment; there is no need to transform the organization (for example, to create an IT department from scratch) and no need to postpone IT plans; in Eastern Europe (Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia) or Southeast Asia (Thailand, the Philippines), India - local IT experts’ salary is much lower as compared to those in Western countries. Valuable Knowledge Exchange Offshore dedicated teams share tasks with onsite specialists. Your internal people will cooperate with the outsourced dedicated teams. In fact, the right approach may lead to a valuable knowledge exchange between your home specialists and outsourced developers, good both for them and for the whole company. You can delegate internal staff to execute some minor tasks, while outsourcing software development will help you to deal with more serious issues, or vice versa. Risks of Outsourcing Software Development Here are some points that might pose a serious threat to the success of outsourcing arrangement and need to be taken into consideration. Lack of technical skills, methodologies, and experience of your possible outsourced vendor to fulfill your project effectively. Your possible outsourced vendor will not stay in business for the whole duration of your project. Misunderstanding and communication gap between outsourced developers and a customer caused by cultural differences, technical reasons, and different time zones. Poor understanding of customer’s business by your possible outsourced vendor. Very complex legal issues. Offshore outsourcing services cover many areas of law, in fact, laws of 2 countries. How To Control Risks Being specialists in software outsourcing, Belitsoft can assure you that these problems can be solved or avoided if approached professionally: Assess the capabilities of a vendor by examining its previous projects and turning to their customers for references. The best companies that provide outsourced software development care much about gaining a positive reputation. This will guarantee new clients, bigger projects, and growth. Hence, it is worth to learn how long the company is on the market and whether it grows or not. Take your time to examine the legal issues for both sides – it will save you from hassle in the future. Your potential vendor should be careful with your confidential data. Make your demands clear to your vendor (your objectives, expected results etc.) and discuss the finest technical details beforehand. Find out what solutions they offer to guarantee the success of your project. Make sure the communication infrastructure is stable and secure. Agree on time adjustments if you outsource to a company located in another time zone. It is important to be able to control the process of project development. Pay attention to scheduling. Set intervals of time at which you expect to receive information on the progress of your project development. If you define what and when should be done, you are more likely to be in control at all stages and to actually know at which stage the development process is now. Communicate with your outsourced teams on a daily basis. Insist on creating tests before software is developed. It is useful for both clarifying what software should do at the beginning and testing for basic system functionality afterward. Integration testing is needed to ensure a high level of performance. You should know how your software works. Architectural documents and installation instructions (knowledge management) should be written along with software development. We live in a competitive world, and, to be successful, outsourcing services providers have to ensure high quality of cooperation process. Thus, good outsourcing vendors do their best to maintain a good reputation. At Belitsoft we offer a professional approach, attention to details, transparency of the development process and ability to control every step of it to our customers.