Software development talent 3.0: The best of both worlds

It’s a challenge that is facing businesses around the world. How do you find talented, experienced and committed software developers to deliver your business objectives on time? Not only that, but how do you do this in a way that fits within your budget and ensure, with greater than ever competition for this talent, you retain your best people?

Outsourcing meets many of these objectives but, crucially, not all. “Clients have had to move away from developing their software in-house with people who are emotionally linked to their business, and use the same tools and processes to drive efficiency and productivity,” says Gary Butters, managing director, UK and Ireland at Ciklum, a multi-award winning software development partner with more than 12 years’ experience.

“Due to resource availability constraints or to the need to reduce costs, businesses have had to use a third party’s resources which leaves them to manage outcomes in a way that is totally against today’s software development best practices,” he says. “If they could find the talent with the right skills at the right cost, everyone’s choice would be to hire their own employees and locate them in their offices – nobody’s first choice is to outsource.”

It’s this dilemma that led Ciklum to create a new and unique business model. Their Own Development Centre allows clients to hire their own software development staff in a combination of on-shore or near-shore and, crucially, to manage them directly.

“We help our customers find, hire and retain the resources they need to deliver their business objectives,” says Mr Butters. “We can host this talent in our state-of-the-art development locations or in their offices. This unique combination offers flexibility and reduced cost, but the key point is that these are your people and they work for your business not for a third party. You hire them, you decide how much each one is paid, they are part of your team, aligned to your business culture and you can fully integrate them with the whole company.”

We believe that you don’t have to choose between the positives of in-house development and the risks of having someone else’s employees do it for you

Some 200 clients are using Ciklum Own Development Centre model to develop their core business applications, and to optimise and improve their existing platforms. It allows them to build sustainability with minimal investment, while offering scalability and flexibility that evolves as markets shift. Ciklum has nine high-quality facilities across Eastern Europe and is frequently voted best local IT employer.

“It’s obviously lower cost to employ people in Eastern Europe and many IT experts don’t want to leave their families behind to move abroad for work,” says Mr Butters. “With the help of our 90-strong in-house specialist recruitment and retention department, we can identify and attract the brightest IT talent, plus offer access to our database of 65,000 CVs.

“We then help select the best people to meet their business goals. To date we’ve helped our 200 customers hire and retain more than 2,800 of their own people. We’ll put together a short list based on their requirements, and then handle contracts and every aspect of recruitment and retention. We do this for a flat fee, whatever the salary or however long the contract.”

With its knowledge and experience of IT talent across Eastern Europe, Ciklum takes care of important details such as providing comfortable, well-appointed offices and paying in dollars rather than local currency, something that always appeals to software professionals. On the other side of the equation, Ciklum’s customers appreciate the fact that, because of its unique model, the focus is on their business objectives and not Ciklum’s.

“The challenge to locate, recruit and retain the best IT talent is hotter than ever. We’ve seen recruitment companies set up coffee stalls outside offices as a way of striking up conversations with bright young developers with a view to recruiting them,” says Mr Butters. “Meanwhile, the need to maintain flexibility and keep costs down is unrelenting.

“We believe that you don’t have to choose between the positives of in-house development and the risks of having someone else’s employees do it for you. Ciklum’s Own Development Centre model allows you to hire the talent you need in the location you need it to expand your existing team and deliver your business objectives – the best of both worlds.”

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JUST EAT plc is the world’s leading online takeaway ordering service, operating in 13 countries around the globe and processing more than 40 million orders in 2013, while generating nearly £700 million in total transaction value for the restaurant industry.

The company was interested to see whether it could augment its London team by tapping into Kiev’s highly regarded talent pool. “Ciklum’s outstaffing model is different from the more traditional approach and requires us to lead the team, not just manage a supplier,” says JUST EAT. “The outcome is a more loyal, aligned and stable team which proves to us that we made the right decision.

“In the past year, we have achieved the necessary confidence to grow the team from seven to twenty three. Our team in Kiev are personally committed to the success of JUST EAT. They have great domain knowledge, and are familiar with our tools and processes. Critically, the team is aligned to our global purpose and company values – a vital ingredient for an effective, long-term collaboration.”