Since March 2020, the stakes have never been higher for your business to adapt and evolve. But how do you accelerate and scale your transformation cost-effectively? The answer – optimized global delivery. Follow this series and learn more about our nearshore software development capabilities from several members of our global consulting team in Colombia.
In recent decades, Latin America has emerged as a powerhouse for outsourcing software development. The region’s software engineering talent, cultural affinity with the US, and similar time zone alignment provide a strong case for considering nearshore software development.
With Perficient’s recent acquisition of PSL, we’ve expanded our global delivery footprint into Latin America. Our newest global consulting team has a 36-year history leading nearshore software development in Colombia, establishing itself as a world-class company and known for its culture of innovation.
David Arango, business development manager for Perficient’s global delivery center in Colombia, discussed nearshore development trends and the value a nearshore partner can add as businesses recover from the pandemic. He also shared what it’s like to work with our nearshore team and the secret to our successful, long-term client relationships.
Would you speak to the market dynamics that have increased the appeal for nearshore software development?
David: Prior to 2020, we observed a trend regarding the political environment, specifically with work visas, that prompted more US-based companies to consider nearshore. These businesses also had lingering questions about whether the extra savings from offshore engagements would offset the work quality, agility, and midpoint of value and costs that nearshore offers.
Now with COVID-19, the digital bonds strengthened for many businesses. The shift to fully remote teams in the US made a stronger case for nearshore. Companies saw how the value of in-person collaboration could translate quickly to digital interactions by working with either remote onshore teams or nearshore [software development] teams. More businesses can see the possibility of significantly optimizing their cost structure [for development] while retaining the value of collaboration.
Working with a valuable nearshore partner unlocks more budget and projects that otherwise weren’t previously considered.
Why is nearshore software development crucial for digital transformation?
David: If anything tipped the scales for accelerating digital transformation across the world, it’s been COVID-19.
Nearshore not only optimizes businesses’ cost structure, but it also increases the speed to tackle new challenges or unresolved priorities. When companies understand these benefits, it reduces the perceived risks of nearshore outsourcing.
This year presented a noticeable change regarding companies’ openness to exploring nearshore engagements. I would dare to say businesses will increase their IT spend throughout the end of this year and into 2021. There’s an urgency to be “digital first” for customers while sustaining new levels of remote work to achieve those goals.
As companies move forward with nearshore engagements and reap the benefits, then it only makes sense to push the gas pedal further and keep going.
Tapping into the talent of a nearshore software development partner releases onshore senior-level staff to tackle ‘backburner’ priorities that need to be addressed now.
What can clients expect when working with our nearshore development team?
David: First and foremost, we strive to be a true partner for our clients. When working with them, we put ourselves in their shoes and make sure we fully understand the outcomes they want to achieve.
Technical challenges can arise in the work, making it easy to lose sight of what we’re trying to accomplish from a business perspective. Our business developers serve clients as their eyes and ears. With the knowledge gained during engagements, we stay open to opportunities or challenges to resolve that will help our clients in the long-run.
Second, the culture of our nearshore team sets us apart. When an employee joins our team, we let them know from the first day that they’re empowered. Each and every person is key to helping clients achieve their objectives. They can raise their hands if they identify any risks or opportunities for improvement.
Finally, we’ve operated as a horizontal company since our inception. This means we can set things in motion quickly when issues or opportunities arise. This approach also allows us to be very agile, which clients see and appreciate. They see proactive employees who possess a sense of belonging and empowerment, which are qualities they might not see elsewhere.
How have we successfully maintained long-term relationships with our clients?
David: As I mentioned already, we consider ourselves as an ally for our clients – not just a service provider. Some companies want a nearshore software development provider that receives the backlog and point by point completes each item.
That’s not how we work. We’re in a partnership, so it’s crucial to have a deep understanding about our clients’ goals, challenges, and long-term business objectives.
By connecting with our clients, the results are evaluated from both a technical standpoint and how team members connect with business-level objectives. This understanding enables team members to raise questions or bring new insights to the table.
[A partnership] also implies room for discussion and pushback at times when we propose alternatives or use a different approach. When clients see that we’re invested – even to the point of risking confrontation – they believe we have their best interest at heart and committed to helping them achieve success.
We’re driven by our purpose to positively impact our clients, communities, and employees. Additionally, our culture of openness, excellence, positive contribution, and innovation motivates us to exceed expectations. As teams add value for our clients, they realize that they can rely on us.
How does our culture of innovation differentiate us as a nearshore software development partner?
David: We strive to be a responsible partner and employer. In that regard, we conduct detailed work to identify technologies that make sense and add value. We’re motivated to stay ahead of the curve so we’re equipped to deliver on clients’ requests.
Our experts developed a technology radar to assess and evaluate tech tools and trends. Adapted from ThoughtWorks technology report, we track our proficiency across multiple skillsets and capabilities. This knowledge allows us to confidently address our clients’ needs and provide complete transparency on how we’re prepared to tackle them.
For clients wanting to explore cutting-edge technology, we’re very transparent with them. We may delve into proof of concept mode in which we absorb some of the costs. Our Agile approach to development also provides continuous feedback so we iterate in a timely manner.
In this situation, the client’s perception of risk is low. They know we’re absorbing some of the risk and costs. Both parties have some skin in the game to capitalize on new technologies at niche levels.
Clients that want to innovate with new technologies raises the bar for Perficient’s ability to achieve new levels of innovation.
This new knowledge and increased capabilities make it possible to add value with other clients. And with long-term clients that understand our approach, this instills the confidence to explore similar opportunities with us.
With more businesses considering nearshore software development, what qualities should they seek in a partner?
David: Companies considering nearshore should first look for a partner that asks the right questions, emphasizes business outcomes [for the client], and can prove its capabilities.
Second, they need to understand how a potential partner approaches its engagements. How do they provide visibility? What’s their track record for deploying a successful engagement in a reasonable amount of time?
And finally, how well does a prospective partner adapt or innovate to bring new knowledge to the client through training?
For example, when we speak to a company that’s exploring nearshore, we emphasize how we view them as a partner and that we’re here for the long run. Additionally, we express how our purpose-driven culture translates to providing world-class, quality service. In our case, service is the confidence and trust provided by many teams, which go beyond the prowess of our technical staff.
Then, we explain our approach to nearshore software development – how we screen engagements to determine if they’re the right fit, how we build our teams, and how we screen projects to find the best mix of talent.
Furthermore, no single partner will have a team on the bench that possesses the right mix of all the technologies a company seeks. With that reality, we share how we ramp up a team to meet the levels of proficiency they expect.
For the third consecutive year, the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IOAP) named our firm on its Global Outsourcing 100 List. Read more about this recognition.
What excites you about leading business development within Perficient’s nearshore team?
David: What motivated me when I first joined PSL – and what drives me now that I’m part of Perficient – is that I can be very proactive. My experience allows me to add value at all levels. Additionally, I can actively influence change at a variety of levels – the company level, the client level, and even at the engagement level.
As part of this team, I’m not a cog in a wheel but an interconnected part of a whole. That perspective reinforces my belief that I can make an impact regardless of my background. People will listen and generate healthy, enriching discussions. Obviously, this translates to more learning opportunities, which increases my ability to apply knowledge in ways that add value.
Our nearshore delivery team has proven experience working with US-based clients on complex, cloud-native product development. Learn more about outsourcing software development and finding the right fit with a nearshore development partner.