Do what you do best and outsource the rest!
Outsourcing is expensive, the quality of deliveries is low and we do not build up internal knowledge. Moreover, the “bloody” foreigners are taking our jobs! Does it sound familiar? These are common stereotypes when thinking of software development with external service providers.
Let me state a very important fact: outsourcing of Salesforce development makes sense but will only work in certain conditions and for certain companies.
Everything we do follows a simple rule: “Master your strengths, outsource your weaknesses.” You know your business and your company’s processes. We know how to build user-friendly and well working software. We know also how to manage a delivery team.
We are your wingman in getting most out of your CRM investment at a reasonable cost and in an efficient manner.
Pain: limited budget or low priority and blurry invoices
There is a prevailing stereotype that outsourcing services are either way too expensive or highly below the market price. In the second scenario consumers automatically expect low quality with no guarantees, poor communication, and other not pleasant consequences. Obviously, with such expectations, you will not hurry up to allocate your finance to services that look more like pain than gain. But what if you would be offered to purchase services that are worth their price and give you high returns over initial investment, still would doubt it because of finance? Outsourcing development can and should become part of your internal company processes. We do not claim that outsourcing fits everyone, but once it does, you do not ask questions “Should I outsource?” you know for sure that you need to.
Remedy: focus on the value of the feature
As we told you above, it is always about the additional value that particular service is bringing to the table. And the more you find the balance between the price and value, the sooner these services will become an absolute necessity for your enterprise. From our own experience, we can say that it takes a maximum of 3 to 6 months for our customers to re-evaluate outsourcing services completely and put the label “essential” on them. As a customer, define for yourself your key value points, such as quality standards, communication criteria, credibility, or any other additional benefits that will make a difference for you. Then finding your perfect provider will come less of a challenge.
Action: build the backlog and compare estimations
Just a couple of handy pieces of advice on your way to identifying your personal pain points. You can start your way from the opposite direction, by identifying your pain points. We recommend doing it using a simple SWOT analysis. You can go through all four criteria (it will never harm), but specifically pay attention to your Weaknesses and Threats sections.
Those are possible internal and external pains that we can frequently see our customers experience:
- Lack of skilled developers/Possible loss of workers in the future
- Ineffective allocation of internal tasks
- Inability to maintain or collect leads/ inability to follow up with the prospecting customers effectively
Pain: communication and culture issues
Once you already identified your pain points as well as additional values you are looking for, the time to find your ideal provider has come. From the first point of contact, your mutual understanding becomes the key to future success. To effectively communicate with the development team, you need to make sure they fully understand your guidelines. While working with the abroad companies, make sure that there is no language barrier between the parties as well as any cultural differences that might somehow influence the working process. Long story short, choose the provider you feel fully COMFORTABLE with. It sounds quite obvious, but finding a perfect provider can get trickier than you think. Apart from major criteria, such as price and quality, make sure to include all the details (proactive or reactive approach vendor is using/available channels of communication/human factor, etc).
Remedy: apply cultural proximity
Globalization is actively taking place in our modern world, that is why American and European cultures commonly share many of the same cultural values. As a consequence, cooperation between those regions has become more efficient and common in practice. Clients are aware that during the partnership with the outsourcing providers from Central and Eastern European countries, they will experience less misunderstandings with the minimum amount of adjustments. For sure, this aspect enables to save a significant amount of time during the negotiation period of cooperation and helps to secure comfort for both parties during the future partnership.
Action: get them on a call
A quite simple remedy for this pain point could be a short call with the future provider. The first point of contact as well as individuals (in our case sales representatives) that will confront you as a potential client can say a lot about future cooperation. Apart from evaluating their availability, communication skills, and language level, you will see how fast they are willing to proceed with further steps in cooperation. Credible providers will make sure to jump on the group call that will include a delivery team you will be working with during the future project. Why is it a crucial point? Only specialists will be able to evaluate which services are really needed and which ones can be avoided. Precise and transparent calculations are a foundation of future trust in cooperation. Make sure to pay attention to how fast the provider will be able to understand your set requirements, how good listeners they are, and how specific are those questions they are addressing you.
Pain: different time zones
One of the most frequently asked questions once as a European outsource provider you are reaching out to North America is: “What are we going to do with those time differences?”. And from the first glance, having a 6+ hours time difference might look like a challenge. Then why then do the United States and Canada are more and more attracted to the European outsourcers?
Remedy: give up control?
So as a client should you actually just trust the process and give up the control? Not necessarily, it is all about organizing this “control” the correct way. As an outsourcing provider, we are all about efficiency and trust us, a combination of organized and effective communication, defined tasks and outcomes are making the wishes come true.
Action: use time overlap per day
Once starting the cooperation with the providers abroad, keep in mind key stages to build effective communication. First, and most important one is a mutual understanding of the final results. To be fully satisfied with the general picture, make sure to describe all the details, set KPIs, agree on the check-up points and all the details that matter and would make you feel comfortable during the cooperation. This stage usually involves the longest discussion, but with an average of at least 3 hours of overlapping time, working hours should not be an issue. In case the first step was conducted well, the rest of the process would go smoothly and clearly. Effective organization of communication is always the main priority for both vendor and the client.
Pain: managing supplier and deliveries
Keeping in touch and engaged with vendors is challenging and can quickly become unmanageable. One of the major roadblocks to effective vendor performance management is a lack of tools or formal processes to track and evaluate vendors. Manually monitoring and logging the performance of a vendor is an additional effort and prone to error.
Remedy: work only with organized vendors
This might sound like an obvious and trivial remedy but it is quite easy to identify a messy service provider. During a vendor selection process request a presentation on their processes, systems and people involved in the project. Do not trust companies who promise to deliver for now while having just one resource available for you. Other red flags include: very generic contract and statement of work, lack of professional project management software, no dedicated contact person and delivery resource, no timeframes for functionality deliveries, lack of performance and success measures.
Action: build a must-have quality level checklist
Pain: the quality of the code and neverending errors
Like with all the service providers, it takes a moment to find the one that will suit your quality criteria in outsourcing. We all know that there is plenty of fish in the sea, especially during the Covid times, outsourcing with freelance individuals has become more affordable than ever. However, in this case, obtaining a high-quality service sounds more like a lottery, rather than reality.
Remedy: skilled engineers from Central and Eastern Europe
Countries like Poland or the Czech Republic are constantly occupying the highest spots in various rankings of the best software developers. They are a bit more expensive than developers from India but still cheaper than “western” resources. Moreover, there is a significant difference in quality they offer for just a bit more.
Action: review the code and enforce documentation
For Admins that are just beginning to start their relationship with external developers, we have a tip: “do code reviews with developers and understand how it all works. Then you will be able to initiate a conversation about solutioning, and really have that back and forth about which things you should do declaratively and which should be solved with code.”
If you are not an admin but other business stakeholder always demand full documentation from your suppliers and simply do not pay for undocumented deliveries. Set the standard of documentation so theoretically anyone else who would read the code will be able to understand it quickly. Ensure these are part of your outsourcing master agreement.
Pain: the knowledge access and sharing
The common belief is that handing over the work to external developers will cut you off from access to the knowledge and understanding of what they are doing with your Salesforce. It is a myth.
Remedy: the definition of the real knowledge
The real knowledge is not lines of code and what it does. In fact it is all about how your company works and how to make it the most efficient with regards to processes, automations, structure, etc. Your Salesforce admin(s) or other key system users including management should be initial drivers of improvements, optimisations, and new functionalities.
We are here to give you the best possible technical solution and point out where you need a piece of code and where you can get away with “click and point”.
Pain: data security concern
While working with companies around the globe, we have never met one that would not value their internal information. Working on your CRM could be a very private moment and the highest priority of any credible outsourcing provider is to keep it this way.
Remedy: European Union standard of data protection
The European Union always valued the privacy of citizens and enterprises. Since May 2018, a GDPR, Europe’s new data privacy and security law, came into force. Why is this important? GDPR by itself assures customers of the European companies that their data is strictly protected by law. More than that, GDPR is considered to be the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Figuratively speaking, with this law you can feel like your data is stored in a Swiss Bank and it is way more secure than storing it under someone's mattress.
Action: ask for certifications
GDPR certification is a new feature of GDPR law that allows people or entities to receive certification from approved certification bodies to show both the EU and consumers that they are in compliance with GDPR. Certification is scalable and can be different for organizations of differing sizes and types.
If you are much concerned about data privacy issues, ask your service provider to provide you with such certification.