Social skills combined with great Tech and Engineering knowledge base gives Belarus experts an edge.
GrinTeq is an IT Outsourcing provider company based in Minsk, Belarus with over 3 years of successful track record and having expanded their offering to International markets about 1 year ago (mainly other European countries and the US).
Why can Belarus be the right source for IT and Tech Outsourcing?
Nick points out that the investment in IT is only 10 to 15 years old (having the country remained somehow “closed” even after the dismantling of the former Soviet Union), and that is much recent then what happened in neighbour countries like Poland or the Czech Republic, where the existence of a high-quality IT Services offering has been perceived abroad for several years now.
Nevertheless, the last 5 years have seen an explosion in capacity and effective contribution to the IT solutions landscape (examples being: Masquerade; Viber or World of Things, amongst other)
Currently some IT companies although having offices in Belarus work exclusively for the US market.
Since the “old Eastern Block days” Belarus has been considered as an erudite society where the investment in knowledge was privileged producing the best scientists of the former Soviet Union, and the “academic” tradition remained. Additionally, most graduated professionals do not leave the country until having reached an expertise level where they are perceived as high-value assets.
The Hi-Tech Park is a government initiative to support and stimulate entrepreneurial investment in High Tech start-ups, an incubator alike ecosystem where companies can be brought to life with access to great infrastructure while getting some benefits that include, but not limited to tax reductions.
Hi-Tech Park is a Hub for Tech Start-ups to develop and grow.
Cost and Culture versus other geographies
Nick explains that taking in account the number of needed hours to complete a job that fulfills customer requirements and expectations, in average a Belarus resource ends up being only slightly higher than one from India, while the quality standard is significantly higher.
Culture, and work culture does play an important role in the adherence of experts to the marketplace and being the Belarus companies’ processes and “modus operandi” alike the US and European ones, plus the fact that those companies onboard a high quantity of local recently graduated resources, makes the available professionals compliant with those marketplaces.
Additionally, Belarus children are introduced to English in their 1st grade and the language learning program follows the academic curriculum.
Outsourcing pains and challenges
Besides the “traditional” Outsourcing model, there is also a “dedicated team” model and in this case, the potential risk is to have a poor integration of such team with the overall work team. Mitigating such risk implies some initial 2 or 3 days of on-site introduction and mingling, having client representatives visiting the team and creating needed team spirit. Also, longer needing a Visa to visit Belarus up to a 5-day stay has also solved another pain point which affected such work dynamics.
Within the “traditional” Outsourcing model one of the main potential pain derives from miss communication. Nick emphasizes that Project Planning is as important as the implementation itself and poor requirements as well as goals, means the client won’t be getting what he needs.
The main support tools in use are: JIRA and Trello (for project management) and Skype, Slack, WhatsApp, Viber (for communication).
A very present in mind horror story concerns a given client who did not clearly specified the need and had a non-functional software product, developed over several steps and by distinct teams that have neither followed up proper work processes nor documented anything. So, the team had to use a tracking system with over 1300 backlog registry entries to investigate and assess the existing status and it took a couple of months just to understand where they were standing.
The interview moves to a very enlightening role play, where a prospect client poses a challenge that bares a workload he literally is not capable of grasp. And in Nicks own words, educating the client is a significant part of his job while supporting his clients, for not being in the tech context can easily lead people to ask for tings that do not cope with available time or budget.
Communication is the Key for success.