Social Benefits of IT Outsourcing – Home-Grown IT Startups

We’re continuing our series of blog posts describing the social benefits of IT outsourcing with some real stories of our employees or situations that have happened inside our company.

The next post will be about situations when software outsourcing made possible the launch of a home-grown IT project and other tech related startups. Check our blog post with the key reasons for this and a real-life example from The Welkin Suite.

20% Time Policy

Many successful tech companies from Silicon Valley have a “20% time” policy that allows employees to spend approximately one-fifth of their time – one day per week, four days per month or maybe even a couple months of a year – working on their own passion projects.

This policy has gained popularity after it was used at Google. The policy led to such famous products like Google News, Gmail, and AdSense (nowadays producing roughly a quarter of Google’s revenue).

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Other companies have adopted this policy to their own. For example, LinkedIn has InCubator, a program that lets engineers to work on their own products ideas; Apple has Blue Sky, that allows some workers to spend a few weeks on pet projects; and Microsoft created The Garage, a space for employees to build their own products using Microsoft resources.

So some programs (like Google’s) were about generating new ideas for the company; others (like Microsoft’s) were simply about letting employees find additional motivation in their own projects. This policy grew out of an era when developers were in high demand and the logic was that it was better to have talented engineers, even if you only have 80% of their attention.

IT outsourcing companies have adopted the management experience and policies from many of Silicon Valley’s companies and as a result have allowed employees to work on their own projects while using the company’s resources, like servers, storages and so on. Later such initiatives may bring these companies some self-grown tech startups with the latest technologies and trends.

World Famous Startups Built with Outsourced Development

Starting a startup requires working quickly and efficiently. You need to ensure that your tech project can offer a new solution in terms of innovation, quality and convenience, even though you have limited resources. So many tech companies have used outsourced development during their startup phase.

Among the most famous large startups that have succeeded using this strategy are:

  • Slack: now valued at nearly $3 billion, it used outsourcing to develop its product in the earliest days;
  • Skype: they used a team of outsourced developers in Estonia to help them build their platform;
  • Github: the company has cooperated with numerous people who completed development tasks virtually from home;
  • Basecamp: it has used the same strategy as Github and now it has developed itself into a technology leader;
  • Opera: this web browser has relied on developers in different countries to create and implement its platform.

Ukrainian Tech Startups Build on Outsourced Experience

Some Ukrainian tech startups have recognized the value that software outsourcing may bring to their projects during the launching of a project. Outsources come with skills and experience already in place, so you can use all these for your project and don’t have to spend time training.

We’d like to describe a real-life example of launching a tech startup with experience gained through outsourcing. The company to present is The Welkin Suite, one of Softheme’s global projects.

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Softheme’s The Welkin Suite team created an innovative Force.com IDE – a tool that provides the widest range of features, which by far simplify and advance Salesforce development. Although still a startup that was only released in 2015, The Welkin Suite IDE has already gained acknowledgement in the Salesforce community, and a large number of users are impatient about the upcoming release of the MacOS version of the program.

Still, none of this would have been possible without the fundamental effort and determination that was put into the creation of the tool.

It all started out very emotional,” shares The Director of PR and Communications at The Welkin Suite. “Truth be told, The Welkin Suite was almost created out of irritation. By the time the idea behind the IDE was born, we already had a team of savvy Salesforce developers at Softheme, who grew more and more annoyed by the development tools that were available at that moment. None of the then current development platforms supplied them with the essential toolsets they needed in one program, so it was decided that we would create our own IDE, and have Salesforce devs test it to let us know if we are moving in the right direction. In fact, the very first sketch of our IDE was coded overnight by the person who then became the Head of Product at The Welkin Suite.

With a bar raised this high at the very beginning, determination became one of the principal qualities for everyone willing to join The Welkin Suite team. In Ukraine, the word ‘startup’ is almost synonymous to the hours of hard work, so it is important that every newcomer understands that the days may get crazy busy, and sometimes you may need to come up with a solution to some problem within seconds. In this regard, outsourcing experience benefits our team to a great extent. Many of our team members have worked on outsourcing projects before, and communicated with all sorts of clients, so they have a vision of what users may be looking for in our tool, and they have already developed a set of skills to make this happen. Besides, having Force.com outsourcers as alpha testers of our IDE allows us to stay on track and anticipate the needs of the Salesforce community.

Presently, The Welkin Suite is fueled by the enthusiasm of its creators, and of the entire team that improves the product each day. Everyone on the team is aware that their effort may not pay off immediately, and that the Salesforce audience is built of all sorts of developers with various requirements that have to be considered. However, The Welkin Suite team is persistent in its goal of bringing as many possibilities under one roof as possible and with a driven and motivated team, complete success becomes just a matter of time.