Blog posts on the subject of outsourcing and offshoring by management and developers at Optimus Information Inc.

When done correctly, outsourcing, both onshore and off, can provide substantial cost savings. A good outsourcing partner will deliver higher quality service in a shorter time-frame than bringing the skill in-house.

However, this is all presuming that you are outsourcing the right kinds of tasks and that you are working with a good partner. The below posts will help you choose what to outsource and what to look for in an outsourcing partner.

Managed Services: How Can It Help You?

managed-services-provider-e1598310923486 Managed Services: How Can It Help You?

In this increasingly digital world, there is infinite access to beneficial services that can grow and take your business to the next level. But sometimes it’s hard to differentiate what service is actually the best fit for your organization. What do you actually need? Is it infrastructure as a service? Report generation? Sometimes it can get confusing. We’re here to clear up one area of technological services: managed services. What does it mean and how does managed services compare to hiring staff internally? Is it better for you to hire a small group of individuals with specific expertise or instead get the job done with a managed service provider (MSP)? Read on to learn what it entails, how it can help you, and how to tell if it is the right service for your company.

Managed Services as a Whole:

So what are managed services? Managed services (MS) are typically defined as services provided by a third party to manage and refine daily operations of your applications or business systems. Managed services provide the most modern and updated skill sets needed and is usually a highly trained group of individuals with expertise in your specific business needs. MS differs from traditional IT support in a variety of ways. Not only is it considered a more cost-effective use of resources but also provides 24/7 support. 

Benefits of Using a Managed Services Provider:

There are a plethora of upsides to using a managed services provider (MSP), so we will just highlight a few. 

  1. Flexible
    An MSP delivers the most flexible service model available. Not only is it scalable, you can direct your MSP to certain applications, objectives, and core values. This makes for less distraction and “noise” in what would otherwise be a spread out agenda for your (already busy) internal team. 
  2. Cost-effective
    Instinctively, one might assume that using an MSP is additional upkeep that they don’t want looming overhead. However, what many fail to realize is that MSPs allow for the efficient allocation of tasks to those specifically trained in the area. In the time that your own internal team would have to educate themselves it would cost far more than bringing in the experts. As well as, most likely, delivering less efficient results. 
  3. Proactive
    Finally, using an MSP is a proactive approach to maintenance. Instead of the traditional IT support method in which something needs to be “broken” in order to be “fixed”, MSPs root out future problems and fix them before they even surface. This allows for greater support for security and increases stability within your organization.

Is Managed Services the Right Fit for Your Business?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell what is good for your organization. So how can you tell if MS is the right solution for you? If you are looking for a smaller, dedicated team of experts, this is a good indication that MSPs may be for you. Do you have specific problems that need to be pinpointed and solved? And are you looking for continued maintenance in the future rather than just fixing what is broken? If your organization checks any of these boxes, MSPs may be just what you are looking for. And saving some money never hurt anyone either. 

Why Optimus?

Not only do we cover all of the aforementioned, we have deep Azure experience and can take your day to day operations off your plate. With 24/7 support, improved risk management, dashboards, reports, and more, we will deliver on all key objectives. Think of us as an extension of your team. We understand your business, so let’s improve it together over time.

 

Interested? Contact us here.

 

Work/Life Balance: Stop Trying to Achieve It

Work/life balance: a concept that’s been drilled into our brains and pushed on us for years, yet a majority of people struggle to achieve it.

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing technology environment, the idea that someone can balance their work life and personal life with a perfect 50/50 split is a tough goal. Maybe it’s time we ditch the traditional “work/life balance” concept and move towards something more realistic.

Do You Feel Guilty? 47% of Us Do

A recent Randstad US engagement study1 shows that 45% of employees feel obligated to check their emails after working hours and 47% feel guilty if they miss a day of work for being sick. Another 26% feel guilty using all of their granted vacation time.

What does this tell us? Thanks to advancements in technology, we’re living in a world where checking your work email before bed, on the weekend and on vacation has become normal, and those who don’t do it will feel the pressure. Companies and employees have normalized the idea of working after office hours. As a result, work/life balance has become impossible to achieve.

Optimus Takes a Different Approach

All You Need is Love

A 2014 Harvard Business Review article2 states that the more love co-workers feel at work, the more engaged they are. One of the most valuable lessons I learnt working at Optimus and living in India is to show compassion and care for everyone around you. Just because you work with them doesn’t mean you need to keep it “professional” all the time. Creating an emotional culture at work and taking the time to play, laugh and bond with co-workers are key to a happier, more productive workplace.

Companies today will tell us to leave our personal lives at home. This is obvious to a certain extent, but what if employers took a different approach and instead told us to merge our personal lives with our professional lives? Sounds crazy, right? Well, this is exactly what innovative tech company Optimus Information did, and it is the leading cause of their businesses success today.

Four months ago, I was given the incredible opportunity to travel to India and work at Optimus Information as their newest marketing intern. I worked with top-talent software engineers and happily immersed myself in the company’s unique office culture. This is what I observed:

Employees Treat Each Other Like Family

IMG_40701-e1526593016128-154x300 Work/Life Balance: Stop Trying to Achieve It

Within the first few days of my internship, I noticed something very interesting about the office culture at Optimus: employees treated each other like family. They referred to it as “work/life integration”, a concept which involves combining both work life and personal life together into one setting.

I know what many of you are thinking: “what an unprofessional way to run a business”, “how on earth does this work?” and “how are employees productive?”. The truth is, it does in fact work and Optimus Information is living proof. As a highly driven business student who was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, I had never experienced or heard of this type of office culture before. I was always taught that personal life was separate from work life and to keep my personal life at home. I never knew that sharing personal experiences with your co-workers and treating them like family could increase your overall productivity. My perception of how a company should be run completely changed.

Work/Life Integration > Work/Life Balance

To clear things up, work/life integration isn’t about sharing your whole life story with everyone at the office. It’s about having the flexibility to work the way that you work best. Sometimes things come up and you need to leave work early. Sometimes you have an appointment and need to start work late. Some of us are morning people, while others are most productive at night. Work/life integration gives you the freedom to optimize your day so that you can perform at your absolute best at work without having to sacrifice much of your personal life.

With work/life integration, you can leave work early to catch the last train home or go see that band you’ve always wanted to watch live. If you’re not feeling well, you can go home early, and if your husband or wife isn’t feeling well, you can work from home to take care of them.

This sort of flexible workstyle came as a surprise to me, since I grew up with the mindset that unless you’re really sick (or even on your deathbed), you should always make it to work. At Optimus Information, this is not the case. Health comes first and nobody wants you in the office if you’re sick. As long as you make up the work that you missed, they have no issues with employees taking sick days.

It’s Important to Take Time to Play

Optimus employees demonstrate this by working really hard and taking frequent breaks to socialize over a game of table tennis or carrom (a South-Asian tabletop game). During cricket season when the weather’s not too hot, you’ll see about half of the office walk out to play an outdoor game of cricket! These small activities allow for bonding time between co-workers and are a great way for employees to recharge during office hours.

It’s not unusual for an Optimus employee to be at the office until 12:30-1am because they had a call with a client in Canada and were catering to that client’s time zone. Working crazy hours at a high stress job where you’re sitting at a computer all day is bound to take a toll on your body at some point. By taking these small breaks to “play” with your coworkers, you’re creating an emotional culture at work and this leads to happier, more productive employees.

 

IMG_26221-1030x523 Work/Life Balance: Stop Trying to Achieve It

It’s a Win-Win for Everyone

At Optimus Information, employees know about each other’s personal lives and they don’t see a problem with it. If an employee wants to leave work early to attend their nephew’s birthday party, no questions are asked because everyone knows that this individual will make up his or her work at some other point during the week. Some might consider it unprofessional to talk about personal life at work, but Optimus employees see it as a way of building trust and strengthening relationships.

When you connect with someone on a personal level, you work better together; it’s as simple as that. As a result of working better together, productivity in teams increases, and increased productivity usually leads to more profits for the company. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Creating Better Companies

This internship gave me much more than the work experience I was hoping for. It gave me a clear vision of what kind of culture I’d like to create for my own company some day. I want people to understand that if more companies operated like this they would have higher retention rates, better quality deliverables and happier, more productive employees. Employees benefit, companies benefit, customers benefit and the economy benefits.

If I could say one thing to the Canadian workforce, it would be to treat your co-workers with the same respect and care as you would a family member. Nothing beats the feeling of coming into work with a sense of belonging and just knowing that you’re surrounded by people who love and genuinely care for you.

Want to know more about Optimus Information? Check out the video below to see what goes on behind the scenes at their delivery centre in Noida!

 

 

About the author:

Optimus_Headshots_Lucy-180x180 Work/Life Balance: Stop Trying to Achieve ItLucy Morrow is a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration and Marketing student, nearing the end of her 4-month co-op work term at Optimus Information in Noida, India. Lucy came to know about this opportunity while sitting in class one day when her teacher gave an informative presentation regarding The India Connect Scholarship Program offered at Langara College.

The India Connect Program is the first in a series of country-specific scholarship programs that gives students a chance to gain valuable work experience while developing intercultural skills at the same time. With her passion for business and curiosity about foreign culture, this was a no-brainer for Lucy; she knew she had to jump on the opportunity. The application process was long and competitive but ultimately worth it when she was selected as one of the two students to participate in the program.

“In an increasingly globalized world pivoting on Asia, young Canadians must seize the opportunity to live, work and play in other countries and cultures,” said Pankaj Agarwal, Managing Partner, Optimus Information Inc. “Optimus Information is one of Canada’s fastest growing IT firms and our India office is bustling with young people who are eager to introduce Canadians to their culture and the Indian way of doing business. I am excited to be able to partner with Langara College and The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada to offer this lifetime learning opportunity to Canadian students.”

 

See if Optimus is Right for You

For more information about working at Optimus, visit the link below:

https://www.optimusinfo.com/careers/

__________________________________________________________________
1 https://www.randstadusa.com/about/news/engagement-study-work-life-balance/
2 https://hbr.org/2014/01/employees-who-feel-love-perform-better

Behind The Scenes at Optimus: My Experience as an Intern

Excited and afraid, I boarded a plane, leaving my family, friends and city life behind. I was about to embark on what would be the most challenging, educational and rewarding experience of my life: a four-month internship at one of Canada’s fastest growing IT firms, Optimus Information. The interesting part, however, was that my internship was not to take place in Canada. Instead, I was being sent to work at the company’s delivery centre in India.

After a grueling flight with multiple layovers, I was finally halfway across the world in the land of India. A friendly Optimus employee greeted me at the airport and, from that point onwards, the journey began. During my 4 months at Optimus, I was living and working in a place called Noida, also known to be the fastest growing urban city in the country. Noida is a tech hub for global firms outsourcing IT services. This was quite apparent, since almost every young person I spoke with had a degree in computer science and was working at one of the many IT centres here. Bustling with millennials and computer engineers, I knew that this city was a haven for techies.

Culture Shock

Initially I was shocked; the Bollywood movie I had watched on the plane did not prepare me for this. With the insane traffic, constant honking, weird smells and overpopulation, it all seemed like one big jumbled mess. I began to think, “What have I gotten myself into?”  This thought disappeared immediately after stepping foot in the Optimus office. Not only were the people incredibly friendly and welcoming, but they also treated me like family. Within the first week, I was completely blown away by their unique office culture and how it differed from a typical Canadian office. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this company, and I was truly fascinated by the different approach they took when it came to managing their employees.

Not Your Typical Delivery Centre

Optimus Information operates under a relatively flat corporate hierarchy. The Co-Founder and Head of India Operations is one of the most humble guys I’ve ever met. He works from a cubicle just like the rest of his subordinates and expresses personal interest in all of his employees. He even joins them for lunch on a daily basis. With fewer layers of management, Optimus employees are empowered, and expected to take on managerial decisions. The result? Greater employee satisfaction and deliverables which usually exceed management’s expectations.

Endless Opportunity

At Optimus, they want you to have the opportunity to work on various unique projects that will challenge your professional skills and force you to think outside the box. Weekly meetings are hosted in the cafeteria, where employees are given the chance to showcase their side projects or share any new technology findings with the team. The company is built on learning, so they encourage all of their employees to explore new ideas, push personal boundaries and invest time in developing new skills. They also have mentoring support programs to facilitate things for the newbies.

 

The-Noida-office-having-a-little-bit-of-fun Behind The Scenes at Optimus: My Experience as an Intern

My Internship in a Nutshell

From the beginning of my internship, it was clear that this place was more than just a delivery centre. Optimus is a family, a second home, a place where entrepreneurship is encouraged and new ideas are always welcomed. Working at Optimus has taught me the importance of global communication and how it enables businesses to operate on an international scale. Optimus has helped further my education by giving me a chance to work with industry-leading clients in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing technology environment. They’ve brought me outside of my comfort zone, and pushed me to go further in the professional world of business. I can’t even express how grateful I am to have been given this opportunity. It’s been an incredible journey working at Optimus and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to be part of the Optimus family during my 4 months in India. 

If you’re curious about the different approach Optimus takes when managing their employees and would like to learn more about how this innovative tech company operates… 

Check back in later this month when I’ll be talking about work/life balance, why it doesn’t work, and what Optimus Information is doing instead. It is the leading reason for their businesses success today and I’m incredibly excited to share it with you!

 

The-author-with-Noida-employees-observing-a-fun-local-custom Behind The Scenes at Optimus: My Experience as an Intern

About the author: 

Lucy Morrow is a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration and Marketing student, nearing the end of her 4-month co-op work term at Optimus Information in Noida, India. Lucy came to know about this opportunity while sitting in class one day when her teacher gave an informative presentation regarding The India Connect Scholarship Program offered at Langara College.  

The India Connect Program is the first in a series of country-specific scholarship programs that gives students a chance to gain valuable work experience while developing intercultural skills at the same time. With her passion for business and curiosity about foreign culture, this was a no-brainer for Lucy; she knew she had to jump on the opportunity. The application process was long and competitive but ultimately worth it when she was selected as one of the two students to participate in the program. 

“In an increasingly globalized world pivoting on Asia, young Canadians must seize the opportunity to live, work and play in other countries and cultures,” said Pankaj Agarwal, Managing Partner, Optimus Information Inc. “Optimus Information is one of Canada’s fastest growing IT firms and our India office is bustling with young people who are eager to introduce Canadians to their culture and the Indian way of doing business. I am excited to be able to partner with Langara College and The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada to offer this lifetime learning opportunity to Canadian students.” 

 

 

Want to know more about The India Connect Scholarship Program? Visit the link below: 

https://langara.ca/news-and-events/langara-news/2017/170809-india-connect-program-apfc.html  

 

For more information about internships at Optimus and The India Connect Scholarship Program, visit the link below: 

https://langara.ca/news-and-events/langara-news/2017/170809-india-connect-program-apfc.html  

Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do’s and Don’ts of Software Outsourcing Recap

The most recent installment of the Optimus Breakfast Series took place yesterday morning, Oct. 5th, 2017. This event hosted an engaging discussion on when and how to outsource software projects effectively. If you missed it, stay tuned to the Optimus blog for the complete video recording!

For those that attended, there were excellent networking opportunities with attendees from some of Vancouver’s top brands:

Screen-Shot-2017-10-06-at-11.46.36-AM-copy-1030x618 Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do's and Don'ts of Software Outsourcing Recap

Panelists:

Moderated by Pankaj Agarwal – Founder and Managing Partner at Optimus Information

Ralph Turfus – Technology Entrepreneur

Ally Bharmal – Partner, Fasken Martineau

Tejinder Basi – Former Partner, Deloitte; Director, Blockchain Society of BC

We would like to extend a big thank you to those who joined us! If you missed it, join our mailing list in the right pane of this page to get notified about our upcoming events.

Highlights from the Morning

IMG_4343-1030x687 Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do's and Don'ts of Software Outsourcing RecapIMG_4348-1030x687 Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do's and Don'ts of Software Outsourcing Recap

IMG_4341-1030x687 Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do's and Don'ts of Software Outsourcing RecapIMG_4345-resize-1030x687 Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do's and Don'ts of Software Outsourcing RecapIMG_20171005_081550-1030x773 Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do's and Don'ts of Software Outsourcing RecapIMG_20171005_090131-1-e1507317449330-1030x672 Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do's and Don'ts of Software Outsourcing RecapPANO_20171005_08430301-1030x529 Optimus Breakfast Series: The Do's and Don'ts of Software Outsourcing Recap

Pros and Cons of Pure Onshore, Pure Offshore and Hybrid Model Outsourcing

North American companies contemplating outsourcing some or all of their software development have more options than ever before. They can choose from among onshore outsourcers close to home, offshore services halfway across the globe or a blend of these in unique combinations.

In a few situations, which model to choose may seem straightforward, however, each has its advantages and disadvantages to consider, especially in relation to an enterprise’s capital resources, in-house resources and business priorities.

Onshore

Advantages

Onshore outsourcing may work if your definitive goal is to add a seamless extension of your team with expertise not currently present in-house. An onshore outsource partner is also advantageous if you prefer a partner in your time zone and want to work within the same legal jurisdiction.

Communication is typically a lot easier and more streamlined when your outsourcing partner is geographically close by, and the possibility of visits or personnel assignment on your site is greater with an onshore provider.

Disadvantages

The cost of outsourcing is mainly related to the economic environment in the locale of the provider. Despite certain other advantages of onshore providers, their cost is generally multiples of an offshore provider.

Problems such as cultural or language barriers will be markedly less with an onshore outsourcing firm, but there is still the potential for miscommunication due to corporate cultural factors, differing technologies or business practices with an onshore outsource partner.

Offshore

Advantages

Whereas an onshore outsourcer may have the same difficulties you have acquiring much needed talent, offshore providers pull from an entirely different talent pool and may have a ready pool to tap. Furthermore, their resources are likely to be working under different creative constraints, which can lead to new solutions to fulfilling your development goals.

In contract to pure onshoring, offshoring can be significantly less expensive.

While an onshore provider will share much of your cultural, technological and legal context, offshore providers can offer additional benefits to companies desiring to globalize their products. Choosing one or more offshore outsourcing firms in select markets could, at least indirectly, transport your presence to a new foreign market. This situation would be especially important if your company needs local customer support there, values insights into cultural modifications of the product or requires maintenance of local infrastructure.

Disadvantages

The architecture, design, development, testing and deployment of your project are the essential aspects of your software process, and the degree of control over what you hand an outsourcer is inversely related to their distance from you in space and time. Most companies prefer to keep architecture and design phases close to home. This is something to keep in mind when deciding how much process control to cede to an outsourcer.

It’s possible to run into difficulties if you use an offshore outsourcer in a country whose native language and customs do not align well with yours. Add on top of those potential difficulties the additional inconvenience of vastly different time zones. If such difficulties are present, and especially if the offshore firm will have interactions with your clients or stakeholders, much more effort is required to smooth out rough spots or you may be better off not going with the offshore provider at all.

 

Download our Strategic Guide to Technology Outsourcing eBook

 

Hybrid Model

A hybrid model will have technical teams overseas, but an onshore office in your area that you will primarily communicate with. It gives you the access the global delivery and skills of an offshore model, but with the local presence and communication access of an onshore model.

Advantages

Years ago, outsourcing was relegated mainly to mundane tasks and chosen solely on a cost basis. Fortunately, many hybrid outsourcers are beyond competing solely on cost and now offer quality and innovation as benefits. North America no longer has a corner on the market for the most skilled and innovative software developers, and the global talent pool can be quite deep.

Many organizations prefer to keep architecture and design phases close to home, which is why a hybrid model can be so effective. These core functions are kept in geographic proximity to the client where team members are available for face to face meetings or phone calls in the same time zones, and only the development or testing delivery is done offshore.

Having a local office also offers legal protections by having an office or headquarters in your jurisdiction.

With a hybrid model, organizations get the cost efficiency of offshoring, but with the convenience and seamlessness of onshoring.

Disadvantages

While a hybrid model gives you additional convenience and local access to personnel, it often can’t compete on cost with a purely offshore model. If your primary concern is getting the lowest price possible, then a pure offshore may be a better option.

Conclusion

Typically, pure onshore or offshore outsourcing rarely supply an ideal match for every enterprise’s software development efforts except in cases where the project’s duration and scope are significantly limited. That is why most companies seeking an outsource partner like a hybrid approach like Optimus’, which includes onshore presence with offshore delivery resources.

These companies have found that by working with a hybrid model and using a reliable, trusted outsourcing partner like Optimus, they are obtaining better quality, more timely production and the ability to scale operations up or down at a reduced cost.

If you have any questions about the right outsourcing model for your company, you can contact us here.

Questions to ask when outsourcing technology services

global-outsourcing Questions to ask when outsourcing technology services

In almost two decades of dealing with clients in the IT outsourcing industry, I have answered almost every hard question imaginable for prospects worried about finding the right IT outsourcing partner.

Based on my experience, I would like to share the top five questions you should ask outsourcing vendors like us before making a decision.

Do you have demonstrated capability in providing similar solutions?

The key word here is similar because finding an exact match will make your search overly difficult and rule out well-qualified vendors.

Specific points to consider include:

  • size
  • team dynamics
  • process
  • technology
  • industry

What can go wrong? What are the possible risks to achieve the desired objectives?

The purpose of this question is to test the vendor’s ability to think through the project, anticipate risks and create a plan to mitigate them.

The answers don’t need to be perfect, just demonstrate the vendor’s intelligence.

What does the vendor need from you?

Any outsourcing arrangement is going to require some effort on your part to make it work.

Depending on the project, the vendor may need some of your time, artifacts like documentation, a governance structure and access to your infrastructure among other things.

Clearly understanding the needs of both parties beforehand will help ensure the partnership succeeds.

How does communication between two teams work?

Many outsourcing projects fail not due to individual capabilities, but more due to process and communication.

Ensure that communication aligns with your process through daily scrums, weekly meetings, informal Skype-based meetings or whatever works for your organization.

How do both sides have skin in the game?

The vendor should be prepared be penalized if they miss key milestones and rewarded if they meet them ensuring that they are invested in your success while strengthening your relationship.

These questions discussed in face to face meetings and phone meetings lead to a common understanding of objectives, comfort between two teams and can be used as the basis for 90 days plans.

Once the relationship begins, it is important to review the actual results against the expectations set in pre-sales.

With a little extra caution and effort, the results of your outsourcing partnership will be cause for celebration.

Are there any questions that you think I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments.