Regardless of the size of your company, surely you have evaluated the outsourcing of software development services in order to improve your operation or increase the quality of the product or service that you offer to your clients. A company that wants to focus on its core business often cannot carry out all the developments and projects necessary for its operation by itself. Whether due to lack of time, financial resources, organizational structure, human resources, or other limitations, it is increasingly common for companies to rely on software company services provided by suppliers.
In a classic service contracting process, the corresponding department of your company issues a request for a budget. Depending on the previous relationship with the suppliers, a bidding or a direct award could start. But the latter should only take place in cases where your company has already worked with a supplier repeatedly and is satisfied with the results. The challenge arises when we need to choose a new supplier to work together.
Choosing a service provider is important as it can affect the way your company offers its services and interacts with your customers. But choosing a software company services supplier is not an easy task. This is why we want to tell you some tips that we have developed throughout our years in the industry, thanks to the support of our clients.
First thing: quality and service!
The quality of a service could be observed from different perspectives. We could firstly talk about the workflow and development and implementation process that a company offers. This is an extremely important point to evaluate and know before hiring an IT service provider. Serious companies offer a transparent and customer-driven process. This is one of the points that we always prioritize when working with our clients. Below is an example of the workflow of our Dedicated Teams service, where we offer you a managed team of specialists for your projects.
Dedicated Teams Process
Another important consideration is the type of services that the supplying company offers. That is, do they adapt their services to your needs? Standardized developments can be a time and resource saver for a supplier, but what’s important is that they can provide tailored and customized developments. This way you can make sure that they give you just what you need. This is why at Huenei we offer three types of services that are tailored to the specific needs of your business. We already told you a little about our Dedicated Teams above, but we’d like to invite you to learn more about our Staff Augmentation and Turnkey Projects modalities.
Delivery time and method
We already talked in the previous point about the importance of the quality of the software product and the service offered by a software company services provider. But the best quality of development is of no use to us if we cannot have the finished product when we need it or if its characteristics are not adapted to our specific needs. Many sectors, such as the financial, healthcare or software logistics industries, need to have the necessary technology to fulfill their operations in a timely manner.
Beware with the price…
Although evaluating the rates, payment facilities and discounts is important, we recommend that you do not make impulsive decisions only considering prices. Many companies that focus on offering “the lowest price” end up providing low-quality software products and developments. We wanted to include this consideration just to give you this tip: Compare budgets and evaluate different price alternatives, but do not only rely on this variable since in many cases “cheap can be costly“.
And how can we know if our supplier is trustworthy?
The image and reputation of the suppliers can help you understand if they are the right choice for you. In this sense, it is important that you pay attention to their experience. Analyze their history, find out about the relationships they have with other clients and ask for references or success stories to learn about the experience of other companies that worked with them previously.
Huenei has more than 25 years of experience in the market. Thanks to our expertise, we have helped a wide variety of companies achieve their goals. We enjoy sharing the experiences of our clients so that those who are looking for an IT service provider company can analyze their success stories.
Another important consideration to ensure that a service provider is trustworthy and that their services can help you are the certifications they have. Preferably choose suppliers with certification, such as the one we earned, granted by TUV Rheinland Argentina on ISO 9001. By having the guarantee of optimal quality, you avoid potential inconveniences in the future. Certifications are a representation of the maturity or expertise of the company, as well as its experience and the value it provides to its clients.
As we have discussed, like other management decisions, those concerning IT suppliers must be based on robust analysis and information. The correct choice of a software development service provider can represent growth for your organization, both in terms of service quality and return on investment. We hope you can be guided by these tips based on our experience in the industry working together with all of our clients.
In this article, we will show you the steps for setting up a successful IT team, give you some tips for finding the best talents out there, and identifying what are the necessary IT roles for ramping your business up.
With the pandemic triggering a point of no return for digital and e-commerce businesses, having an IT team has not only become fundamental for established companies but also a necessity for many small growing businesses that are looking forward to harnessing the potential of the digital economy.
1. Identify your needs: how much can an IT team help your business?
If your business depends on the cloud, handles any customer data, or manages any type of CRM software, the short answer is ‘quite a lot!’ Even though IT professionals can solve monotonous issues like setting up a printer, they can also serve your strategic planning by doing things like automating processes within your company.
IT is well-known for offering technical support, and depending on your company size, dealing with technical issues may be critical in some instances. From installing new software to resetting passwords, and creating new employee profiles, every day a new tech-related problem arises, and having a team to help you is the best long-term fix.
Managing IT infrastructure is another key aspect for growing businesses where you may want to invest your best efforts since it can have a great impact on efficiency and security. Choosing the right computers and mobile phones, selecting a cloud service, buying specific software, and setting up a website are crucial decisions where you may better trust expert hands.
IT professionals can also use their expertise for assessing your business tech needs. Are you buying third-party software or are you developing an in-house solution, what new technologies out there are going to leverage your growth, and what are the best communication systems for your team?
With so many data leaks and internet fraud, security plays a pivotal role in customers’ interaction with businesses, and IT experts can work on protecting your data, preventing your website from being hacked, and obtaining the necessary certificates for adding a payment platform to your website.
2. Determine the necessary roles and core responsibilities.
As you may know, IT teams are responsible for administrating infrastructure, providing technical support, managing communication platforms, programming, maintaining the company’s website, and even application development, so let’s break down the list.
Administration (IT administrator): they are in charge of assisting employees with hardware and software-related issues, they train the staff on how to use specific software, and help everyone who may have any issue related to systems usage.
Tech support (Tech support professional): most teams use a ticket system where company members raise a ticket every time they have a technical issue, and that’s when the tech support team comes to play. They can install new software, set up new hardware such as printers and cameras, repair hardware, troubleshoot software issues.
Programming (Programmer): many small businesses need new software for expanding their scope within the digital economy. Programmers can help them develop new business applications, create databases, convert files and build new code for automating processes.
Website support (Web developer): while the content is often managed by other departments like marketing and design, web developers are in charge of writing the code, maintaining the site, and guaranteeing functionality and usability.
Apps development (Developer): apps are the epitome of innovation, efficiency, productivity, and time-saving. That said, developers can work on building business apps for your employees that can facilitate content management, communication, and customer relationship management.
Depending on the type of IT team you need for your project, you will be able to select the right professionals for each role thanks to the tips that we will discuss in the next point.
3. Find the talent that better suits your company values.
Most experts in the field agree that the best IT department is the one you have never heard of. That statement has many implications: you need to find someone who runs your systems and data so smoothly that no one in your company even imagines the possibility of havoc (like your systems collapsing, your servers falling down, or a data leak), but at the same time you probably don’t have the technical knowledge to carry out the interviewing.
The fact that IT experts are in high demand may also imply that your HR department will have to make a quick decision when filtering candidates. For that, a recommendation is to clearly define roles and what are their responsibilities in non-technical terms, so you can easily communicate them and avoid misunderstanding when interviewing candidates.
It is also fundamental to consider what are the soft skills and values that your company enhances. Are you looking for a conservative profile or do you need someone disruptive? Asking your candidates what their expectations are is also key for ensuring if they can match your corporate culture.
You could also consider hiring a third-party recruiting firm that focuses on IT. Even though it may increase your recruiting cost per hire, it may be a safe bet in the long term, considering the high rates of turnover in the field and how hard it is to retain the best talents.
Get the perfect IT team with Huenei
Here in Huenei we build agile and self-managed teams that are capable of executing projects adjusted to your needs and business objectives. If you are looking to boost your projects with a team of specialists, our Agile Dedicated Teams services can help you. Our teams are agile, autonomous and work in line with your needs. We have a work methodology that allows us to fully understand your business problems and provide you with the most appropriate solution for them.
If you think that building a product only after you have started selling it to people is a mad idea, we are here to show you great minimum viable product examples that prove the opposite.
MVPs can be any ideas or products that feature only a limited set of functions or capabilities that are still enough to prove your concept in a determined market.
Whether you are working on app development or a vegan dog-treats business, building an MVP may save you time and money on the way to commercializing a finished product, and the definition doesn’t stop there, since you can also ask yourself about minimum viable channels, segments, services or promotion.
Facebook, Dropbox, and Zappos have all in common that they started as minimum viable products, proving that investing tons of money is not always a requirement for launching a big business, but the ability to listen to your market and carefully cater to them according to their feedback of your ideas.
In this article, we will show you what the different types of MVPs are and give you examples so you can get inspired and easily venture out into the wild world of product and service development. We will also explore some minimum viable product examples.
5 Types of Minimum Viable Product Examples That You Can Build on a Low Budget
In the world of startups, it is common to see state-of-the-art tech that no one really knows what to use for. This probably happens because creators often focus on bringing finished products to the market without first considering if consumers really want them, and here’s where MVPs play a vital role in redefining business models.
Think about the overhyped Google Glasses that were about to be released in May 2014 for $1,500. The company focused so much on product features such as using a VR platform via voice commands (which sounds really nice) that they forgot people didn’t want to wear glasses in the first place.
There are two classifications of MVP: low fidelity MVPs serve for better understanding your consumer’s needs and see if your solutions are worth enough for solving their problems, while high fidelity MVPs focus more on how much would they pay for your product and getting early adopters that can later help you redefine your value proposition as you listen to them.
Choosing between high fidelity or low fidelity MVPs depends on how much time you have and how much are you willing to spend on this stage of your product development.
A landing page is a website designed to motivate visitors to carry out a specific task (give you their email, see your products or buy them) once they have clicked on a marketing communication such as an Instagram ad. This is a great way to show them what you have and prove if your communications are going the right way.
Buffer, an app designed for scheduling social media posts, is an extraordinary example of this. Their MVP was a landing page that explained the platform’s capabilities and encouraged people to sign up. However, by that time the app actually didn’t exist at all so customers were shown a message saying the service wasn’t ready and that they would be receiving updates.
Once the creators had a database of enough possible users, they started asking them if they would be willing to pay for the service. What they did is testing that hypothesis by adding prices to the landing page. This allowed them to see how many visitors would actually turn into paying customers.
Image by The Mobile Spoon
Short videos (Dropbox)
Short videos are one of the most popular MVPs out there. They are zero-risk, cheap to elaborate, and effective for communicating complex ideas surrounding your product and services. They are so versatile you can post them on MVP platforms such as GoFundMe, show them to investors and even people on your way.
You would be amazed to know that Dropbox, which has a market cap of 11.9 billion, started as a 2-minute MVP that explained with paper figures how the cloud service worked.
Ad campaigns and digital mock-ups
Ad campaigns allow you to test if you are targeting the right audiences. With platforms such as Google and Facebook ads, you can even measure what are the features of your products that people appreciate.
Using CGI imagery on your ads is a creative way of testing your product’s appeal. You can do this for a fraction of the real cost of manufacturing a real product by hiring a designer at a platform such as upwork.com.
If people actually try to buy the product once they have reached your website through your social media ads, you can tell them the product is out of stock, and even give them a coupon, a gift card or a discount code they can later use when the product is available. This is great for proving if the market wants the product before you go to the manufacturing process.
A great example of an MVP that started as a crowdfunding project is the board game Kingdom Death Monster, which raised $12.4 million from more than 19,000 people back in 2016. Back then, they used clear images and a great explainer video before they had started production.
“The Wizard of Oz”
This MVP consists of creating an illusion of a product, which translates into people thinking they are experiencing the real thing while you are actually using a human resource behind the
curtains. The Wizard of Oz is adequate for analyzing the demand of a product while you keep the operational costs low.
A noteworthy example of The Wizard of Oz is Zappos, a shoe company that was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion. This business started with its founder Nick Swinmurn posting pictures online of shoes that he didn’t have in stock but that were for sale in stores nearby his home. Once customers bought him a pair of shoes through his simple website he would manually process the order, buy the shoes and send them.
Outsourcing is a business solution based on transferring resources and responsibilities to another company dedicated precisely to the provision of those services. In the world of information technology, software outsourcing has become an increasingly common practice, due to the advantages it represents.
Illustration by Tiempo Development
The outsourcing process is closely related to the growth and advances in the area of information technology and information systems of organizations, and their impact on commercial, labor, and government relations. Globalization, accompanied by the shortening of physical distances and the possibility of working with teams and organizations in different countries, have contributed to the advancement of this practice in the last 20 years. Nowadays, IT services outsourcing is an important solution for companies in various sectors to leverage their services.
Software Outsourcing or In-House Solutions?
It is no longer necessary for a company to have an area for each process, or technological infrastructure, to grow. In addition to a great advantage in cost reduction, the main opportunity offered by the outsourcing of technology services is related to innovation. Companies like Huenei have teams for the ideation, design, and development of custom software products to achieve the best solutions for customers.
On the other hand, in-house development often implies that the team becomes outdated with respect to the advances of the industry and the global market. This means that service providers like Huenei can offer innovative and current results that constitute a point of differentiation for client companies.
Additionally, outsourcing in software development gives companies the possibility of focusing their activities on the core of their business, without neglecting the quality of the products developed by suppliers. This is precisely what it is all about, giving the company the possibility to focus on the development of its strategic activities, free from worrying about adjacent tasks.
Software Outsourcing Modalities
In recent years, different countries have demonstrated a certain level of specialization or mastery in the outsourcing of services in different areas. For example, the provision of financial services for America and other countries around the globe is generally focused on countries such as Mexico, Argentina, India, and other Asian countries, operating under the modality of shared services. It is common to find the provision of decentralized contact center services in Colombia or Peru for Spanish-speaking markets. And it is countries like Argentina, Chile, and Brazil that are characterized by offering high-level technology and software development services.
In this sense, companies can choose three approaches when selecting an outsourcing service provider based on their location: Onshore, Nearshore or Offshore.
Onshore. Basically, it refers to the contracting of technology services to a company that is located in the same country. An example of this field is a project carried out by Huenei for Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 (Argentina), which was based on the development of a passenger survey system with automatic analysis of responses and presentation of indicators on control panels.
Nearshore. This refers to companies that outsource services to organizations in countries other than their own, but which are close, either geographically, in terms of time zone, language, culture, or other relevant aspects. This generally allows for simpler adoption, less bumpy transfer of knowledge, and fewer hours of training. As an example, we could mention the project carried out by Huenei for the Contraloría General de la República (Chile), where a mobile application was developed so that citizens can obtain information on public works carried out by the Government of Chile.
Offshore. Another method of outsourcing development is Offshore, which consists of hiring the services of companies in countries other than their own, which are distant in terms of culture, geography, location, language, etc. This strategy brings important advantages, like the Nearshore, but it is generally related to a greater reduction in costs, which justifies the cultural, time, and language limitations in the relationship of individuals. To illustrate this alternative, we can talk about the development of a voice assistant platform that Huenei made for SoundHound (United States of America); the project consisted in the development of a voice recognition system.
As a conclusion to everything we have been discussing in this article, we can agree that the advancement of technologies and globalization led to the rapid development of the outsourcing industry. More and more companies decide to outsource different services, and software development is one of the main areas affected by this trend. Outsourcing represents great advantages for companies that need software products to achieve their objectives and leverage their business, regardless of the selected modality. If you are looking for outsourcing solutions for your organization, we invite you to learn about our Dedicated Teams, Staff Augmentation, and Turnkey Projects services, to define which is the one that best suits the needs of your project and your company.
Nowadays, software and IT companies are immersed in a competitive market, having to deal with a changing environment, different levels of competition, varied needs, and problems from clients, among other difficulties that may affect sustainability. In this context, it is necessary for companies to be able to form and evolve from a solid structure that allows them to develop, grow and face adversity. The development of a business model is the fundamental tool to be able to sustain the company in the long term, grow and achieve a return on investment for the partners.
What is the Business Model Canvas Methodology?
A business model represents the way in which an organization or company generates value, provides that value to customers, and obtains a certain benefit in return. It represents the structure on which the organization is born, develops, grows, and even dies.
In this sense, a variety of methodologies are used to develop a business model. However, the Canvas methodology, explained by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in their book “Business Model Generation,” can be a very useful tool so that technology companies can capture their strategy and business model on a simple canvas.
Image by Osmos Cloud
How is the Business Model Canvas built for an IT Company?
This model is a simple canvas made up of nine quadrants that demonstrate the foundations of a technology organization’s business model. These are closely related quadrants, which leverage each other seeking a synergy that allows the organization to offer a differential to the appropriate public and obtain in return a desired benefit. The nine quadrants are built as follows:
1. Segments: These are the public or audiences that the company focuses on and whom it serves. In this instance, it is important to make a detailed description of the individuals or organizations that make up the target segments. And it is important to understand that we can target different types of audiences, such as the following:
Mass markets, where the objective is to attract a large number of individuals without clearly specifying the inclusion criteria for the segment. For example, the Information Technology business is characterized by a wide variety of company profiles.
Specific segments that share a certain characteristic but still represent large volumes of individuals or organizations. An example is the Retail sector, where software products are focused on the needs of companies in the market, which represent high volumes of participation.
Niches, characterized by a lower volume of members and a specific unsatisfied need, such as the Government segment.
Multilateral platforms, where users of software products are two or more independent segments that interact with each other. For example, the Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment sector is characterized by the use of software products where both the service provider company and its customers interact.
2. Value proposition: All organizations pursue a main objective which is to satisfy the needs of their customers or solve their problems. The value proposition is the means and the tool from which we can achieve this objective. As an example, we can mention Huenei’s value proposition. We provide our clients with IT services in order to guide them and help them achieve their business goals through our three business units: Dedicated Teams, Staff Augmentation, Turnkey Projects.
3. Channels: Once we determine our segments and our value proposition, it is essential to define the channels by which we will reach our customers. This is related to the communication, distribution, and sales channels that the company will use. At Huenei we rely on different communication channels, both physical and digital, and we offer our clients personalized attention throughout the project.
4. Relationship: It is extremely important to establish strategies that allow us to build a long-term relationship with our market segments. Technology companies can provide us with very illustrative examples in terms of building relationships with clients, based on personal assistance, automated support services, and co-creation in software development projects.
5. Sources of income: The sources of income represent how the company manages to capture the value of customers. The focus at this point is on recognizing the appropriate way to capture the value of our clients through our value proposition offer. In the case of technology companies such as Huenei, the focus is usually on charging for the services and developments provided.
6. Key resources: In order to carry out its daily operations, be it production, marketing, relationship, or others, the company needs to have certain resources. The following may be mentioned as examples:
Physical resources, such as workplaces or points of contact with clients, programs, and software used for development, and so on.
Intellectual resources, such as patents and industrial design registrations.
Human resources, the work team, developers, key account managers, salespeople, etc.
Financial resources that allow the daily operation.
7. Key activities: At this point, we focus on the activities that are the foundation of the business. Those that allow the company both the generation of an attractive value proposition, as well as its contact with the public and the construction of relationships with clients. The key activities of a technology company may be related to the production or development of software products, the solution of customer problems through an after-sales support and follow-up service, the establishment of a network or platform intuitive for customers, among others.
8. Key alliances: Sometimes, technology organizations outsource certain activities or resources important to the operation. In these cases, the partners, suppliers, and allies that add value to the business and to the company’s proposal represent key players for organizational and commercial development.
9. Cost structure: This structure is made up of fixed and variable costs incurred in the daily operations of the organization. Beyond the focus of the organization, which can be oriented towards reducing costs or increasing the value perceived by clients, the correct control and administration of the cost and expense structure of a company are essential for its survival and growth.
After this analysis of the business model structure according to the Business Model Canvas methodology, we can understand the importance of proper administration and planning of each of the quadrants for technology and software companies. As we have seen, key alliances are essential for business development, and that is why at Huenei we focus every day on offering the best service for our clients so that they can capture that value and offer it to the segments they target. The daily work and the focus on excellence allow organizations like Huenei to collaborate in the delivery of value that companies offer to their clients.
A Kanban board is a workflow envisioning tool for managing projects and tasks. At Huenei we find it very useful as we use it in turnkey projects, staff augmentation, and dedicated teams, so we want to let you know how to take advantage of it. With most of the work being intangible nowadays, having a visual model with cards that represent processes might be your next great strategy for expediting your pending duties and gaining more insight into your workload.
Although its origins come from Japan, where Kanban means “visual signal”, this project management system is now widely used by many Silicon Valley startups and tech giants such as Epic Games, Bose, and Google for the implementation of DevOps and agile software development, IT, product development and even manufacturing.
Image by Hygger
As Kanban researcher David Anderson explains, “Kanban systems can be used in any situation in which there is a desire to limit a quantity of things inside a system.” In this article, we will help you set up your Kanban board and teach you how you can use it for troubleshooting your projects and speeding up your ongoing business ventures.
How to Create your Own Kanban Board: the Components
There are five key elements for the foundation of a Kanban board: cards, columns, work-in-progress limits, a commitment point, and a delivery point.
1. Cards: You can use stickies, cardboard cards, or any other visual signals that help you represent tasks, each one containing a description, a deadline, a user story, or any other relevant information related to a specific project.
2. Columns: They represent the stages composing the workflow. It is intended that each card flows through the system until they are completed. You may use workflows such as “ready to start,” “in progress,” and “done.”
3. Work-in-progress limits: They mandate how many cards a column can hold at the same time, which means that you cannot add infinite tasks until the previous ones have been completed. This is particularly useful for avoiding obstructions and focusing on the tasks that matter the most at any given moment.
4. Commitment point: This is where it all starts. At this point, members of the team have already defined which proposals will turn into actual projects. A good idea for filtering up cards before they come into the commitment point is creating a backlog for the board, where you can write the ideas that come after a brainstorming session.
5. Delivery point:At this point, the team can scream Eureka! because they now have a tangible product ready for commercialization. The goal of each Kanban system (because they are unique to each team) is to take as many cards from the commitment point to the delivery point in the most efficient way possible. The time that happens between them is called Lead Time, which can be used as a great key performance indicator for some teams.
Now that we have defined the elements of a Kanban board let’s dive into the dynamics of this workflow system. As we mentioned before, it may be useful to add a backlog column where team members can liberally add ideas and the tasks that accompany them on multiple stickies before they come to the commitment point.
Image by Herramientas en la Nube
Once you have reached the commitment point or “ready to go” column, cards must flow through the “in progress,” and “done” columns. During this process, team members with assigned tasks will be responsible for moving the stickies into the next columns until they reach the “done” point and choose a new task.
It is important to note that each Kanban board can only hold a limited number of cards and that one card represents a unique piece of work. In other words, you can only add a new task when a new card is available, so no new work can be added if there are no free cards. Although this sounds very simple, this is key for avoiding bottlenecks and maximizing the ongoing efforts.
The Best Apps for Creating your Own Kanban Board
Although using stickies and sharpies on any surface or window for creating a Kanban board is what makes this system attractive for many people, others bet on more advanced workflow methods that they can update at any moment from any device.
Here’s a list of the best Kanban board apps, with many of them already including projects by default that can serve you as a guide for effortlessly adding all your work:
Trello (Web, Mac, Windows, Android, iOS): this intuitive multi-platform app is so fast that it may be the best option for starters in the Kanban world. In just a few minutes you can set up your own board containing cards with comments and checklists. Trello also offers extra useful features such as assigning files to cards and adding other apps inside Trello for video chatting and time tracking. The app offers a free version with unlimited cards and members, and a business-class version at $10 per user per month with extra features such as a dashboard and timeline view.
Image by Trello
Blossom (Web): if aesthetics play a vital role in your team, Blossom may be the right app for you. It comes with a pristine design that will help you focus on the completion of your tasks with no distractions, and it also includes analytics that can be sent straight to your mail with information about how long each task took to complete and what are the upcoming tasks for your team.
Although Kanban is mostly a workflow method, many of its enthusiasts also define it as a value system, where the agreement to carry out projects, respect for team members, leadership, collaboration, and customer focus are crucial to success. So now that you know how the Kanban system works it may be a good time for creating your own board, be it on a table, a window, or using any of the apps that we have recommended you. At Huenei we strongly recommend the use of this methodology to organize projects and achieve a much more dynamic and efficient workflow.
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