SBP Blog

9 years of outsourcing

Nov 08, 2013 by Oana

The software outsourcing market is regarded as a dynamic & shifting market, so if you do not rapidly adapt to the customer's requirements, not only you can lose customers, but also you can lose your position on the market.

Outsourcing can be a successful business, if it's implemented the right way. However, when your customers are located thousands of miles away, an important milestone is to gain their trust. So how do you gain the trust of a foreign customer when you are an outsourcing company from Romania?

Because we have a 9 years experience in providing software outsourcing services (and during this period we've learned a lot about our customers and their requirements), and because we've spent hundreds of thousands of hours writing code and keeping updated with the newest trends and innovations in technology integration, application development and consulting services for Windows / Apple / Linux / mobile platforms, we've decided to make a short summary of what we think it means to provide outsourcing services as a Romanian company.

So I've asked Mihai Cernea (CEO of SBP Romania, a software outsourcing company from Bucharest) to share his experience as a Romanian outsourcer.

Here it goes:

From your point of view, what's the importance of the software outsourcing market, when compared to the software market?
M.C.: Nowadays, the software outsourcing market is somewhat similar to the industrial outsourcing market from the 90's: after the end of the Cold War, the developed countries (the so called "First World") have initiated a process of extensive economic integration, with the countries from Central and Eastern Europe (the so called "Second World") and from Asia.

This process has played an important part in the economical and cultural globalization process. At the end of this process, many production plants from the developed countries had been relocated (almost entirely) to the emerging economies, and the "gap" that was left behind has allowed new industries to emerge, especially industries from the area of high-tech and services.

So both developed and emerging countries had a lot to gain: significant profits have been obtained, new industries have developed, and additional know-how (from new fields) has been acquired. In a way, this resembles the "social division of labor" - but at a country level, and not at an individual level.

Currently, the same thing happens in the software industry. Various branches from the software industry are moving towards offshore destinations, and the "gap" that is left behind allows the Western entrepreneurs to develop, for example, thousands of high-tech start-ups, such as the ones from Sillicon Valley. These start-ups can grow, within just a few years, into global giants, such as Google or Facebook.

What role do you think software outsourcing will play in the future?
M.C.: Taking into account the big benefits for both sides (the outsourcing customer, as well as the outsourcing provider), it's clear that the development of both offshore & nearshore software outsourcing will keep on recording strong levels of growth.

Romania on Europe's mapFrom your point of view, where does Romania stand on the software outsourcing market?
M.C.: Romania is somewhere in the middle (and usually, in any economical or political climate, you have a pretty big advantage if you are positioned in the middle, and not "at the extremes"). Romania doesn't provide such low labor costs as the Asian countries do, but at the same time, the risk level (when outsourcing to Romania) is definitely lower.

As a member of the European Union (and also as part of the cultural and economical history of Europe), Romania has a similar mentality to that of the Western European countries. This leads to a facile collaboration, based on a common work ethic.

Apart from this, if we compare Romania with other countries from Central and Eastern Europe, it has a privileged position, thanks to its solid tradition regarding education and performance in the field of exact sciences (STEM).

How do you gain the customer's trust, when you are a software outsourcing company from Romania?
M.C.: In most cases, you don't even need to gain the customer's trust, because the customers who contact us are already confident in the skills of the Romanian programmers, thanks to the success stories they've heard.

Does programming need communication?
M.C.: As in any other business, you need to communicate with the customer, and also you need to communicate efficiently with the members of your team. It's true that you also have the so called "genius programmers", who are not very communicative (they don't need to communicate, as they are very good on their own; and they don't really have an inclination to communicate), but these are just exceptions from the general rule.

Similarly to any other type of organization, in a software development company the strength lies in the team, and not in the individuals - and a team without communication can't really exist.

Microsoft Certified Partner logoIs it worth being a Microsoft Certified Partner?
M.C.: If you work with Microsoft platforms, having a Microsoft Certified Partner status is a normal step, as this provides you with access to more resources, and also gives customers a greater level of trust. Also, it's a known fact that Microsoft has a great relationship with software development companies, and actually this has been one of the greatest competitive assets that Microsoft has had for the past 20 years.

Anyway, this is a win-win situation: software development companies have a lot to gain from the partnership programs provided by Microsoft, while Microsoft has to gain from the fact that developers intensively promote the Microsoft ecosystem, which currently stands as the world's biggest software ecosystem.

Desktop, mobile or web apps? Where are we headed?
M.C.: When television was invented, many predicted the death of the radio, yet the radio didn't disappear, to this day. Neither did TV disappear, when the Internet showed up - as there's plenty of room for all of these communication tools.

The same applies to desktop, mobile and web applications: each have their own precise roles, so I do believe that each of these categories will exist for many years to come. For sure, they will converge more and more, towards common standards (because common standards mean a smaller development and maintenance effort, and therefore smaller costs).

For example, regarding the user interface: Microsoft is now betting on a common UI for all these types of applications, and the best example is Windows 8. However, there are a series of key differences that will be preserved (such as the functional architecture, the deployment structure etc.).

Speaking of Windows 8, what's your opinion on the latest operating system from Microsoft?

M.C.: Microsoft has been relentlessly accused of being a corporation that lacks inventiveness and courage, however they have proven to be very bold, on quite a few occasions. Windows 8 and Metro / Modern UI are daring bets, and currently it's not clear how successful these projects will actually be.

For now, even if their initial success was mediocre, still their vision and the general direction is a good one - so for future versions, hopefully Microsoft will learn from their past mistakes (as they did with Vista), and will launch products that match the success of Windows XP and Windows 7. So I'd say that the best is yet to come.

Tags: Interview 


Michael Bian commented on 12/13/2013 11:23:42 AM

Outsourcing is also helping third world countries develop and provides employment opportunities to it's citizens.

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