DEVELOPMENT OUTSOURCING: WHO DOES IT, WHO WANTS IT AND… WHAT IS IT?

Consultancy is a concept we all know quite well by now. Development outsourcing, however, might still be unknown terrain for some of us. At Optis, it is their core business. We had a chat with Managing Partner Keshia Niemegeerts and Technical Architect & Coach Andy Van Den Heuvel about the concept, the risks and the advantages for both consultants and clients.

WHAT IS, IN FACT, ‘DEVELOPMENT OUTSOURCING’?

KESHIA: “Clients find us when they are in need of specific development expertise or of people who can help them with their development issues. At this point we have people on board with a variety of skills thanks to the fact that they’ve been outsourced to diverse projects. Outsourcing, therefore, ensures broad employability precisely because of this variation. Consultants keep on growing and in the long run they can offer more and more capabilities.”

ANDY: “Our consultants are genuinely dedicated to finding the right solution for the client. We encourage them to think outside of the box, even if that means working beyond the scope of the project.It is absolutely our intent to build a strong relationship with our clients, founded on trust, and to offer high-quality work. Working with us means true collaboration and a co-creation trajectory.”

YOU BOTH COACH YOUR CONSULTANTS, HOW DOES THAT WORK?

ANDY: “I’m a technical coach. I take motivated people with me who know how to and are eager to build connections. We really want our clients to know: “Optis is the way to go if we want personal and high-quality support”. I make sure that the expertise we bring to the table doesn’t vanish once we leave. On the other hand, I also coach our consultants and help them stay up to date with their technical skills and ambitions.

KESHIA: “When it comes to more personal coaching,I’m the one they turn to. Pro-active coaching is done quarterly, but more importantly is that during these sessions, the consultant is challenged to grow and set goals & actions around their growth. So, in these sessions, we try to bring out the best in our consultant.” 

“I also teach them soft skills, such as assertive communication. These are some basic skills which all consultants need. That’s why we have taken this upon our own initiative. So, we don’t have to wait for a question that comes from the client of the consultants themselves. Basically, I check as often as possible if both client and consultant are still happy.”

We want to make sure that software lands in the hands of the users, so nobody loses an incredible amount of work or time whatsoever.

DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE IN TERMS OF CONSULTANTS?

KESHIA: “We aren’t fans of the labels that consultants seem to get nowadays. It doesn’t really mean anything. When do you suddenly upgrade from being a junior profile to being a medior? Of course, we’re aware that a junior needs more guidance than a senior or that their ambitions differ. However, someone might be a senior profile when it comes to age but maybe not when it comes to a specific technology. Working with different people, means working with different learning curves and we thrive to make our consultants grow, apart from age or experience.”

“Besides, two people who both have five years of experience aren’t necessarily equally skilled. We encourage our consultants to develop broad skills and to be employable on multiple projects. Thus, labels become superfluous and we can describe people based on skills rather than on questionable terms.”

WHAT ARE THE MOST FREQUENTLY REQUESTED SKILLS?

KESHIA: “Most of the companies that we’re involved with are quite big, so it happens that we place two developers instead of just one. Some customers have huge teams in which they merely need extrasupport or someone with a specific skill, that’s where we come in. It can be just about anything; the options are near endless.”

ANDY: “Indeed, when a client acknowledges that they need someone who knows the best practices of the trade, we get involved. That’s the core of our consultancy. We know certain things down to a fine art. Some customers underestimate how quickly technology evolves. We know the market, we can analyse it better than most clients can, so we’re able to offer tailored advice and support.”

ARE THERE ANY RISKS ASSOCIATED TO THIS WAY OF WORKING?

ANDY: “Usually, we integrate in existing systems. It takes some time to make sure all integrations work as expected. But we believe this approach works better than developing software externally and then to throw it over the wall. Building things is easy, building things that work together with an already existing infrastructure is much more difficult. We want to make sure that software lands in the hands of the users, so nobody loses an incredible amount of work or time whatsoever.”

KESHIA: “The main thing that we always find incredibly important, is communication, primarily between our consultant and the customer. It needs to be open and transparent. If the communication isn’t on-point, you get in loads of trouble, especially in these trying times with remote settings. I make sure every consultant has the right soft skills to communicate.”

WHICH OTHER ADVANTAGES ARE THERE FOR CLIENTS?

KESHIA: “First of all, it’s rather difficult nowadays to find people with the right expertise but clients often only need people for a specific period of time. Or they start out with a need for ten people which then narrows down to two after a few months. That’s not a problem with consultants.”

“In addition, our consultants are always up-to-date with the latest technology and they know the market. When a project ends, customers are never left with legacy they don’t know how to navigate; we provide coaching.

Finally, we cannot forget about pricing. Clients don’t need to invest in trainings anymore; we take care of that. If a consultant falls ill or takes leave, we are responsible, not the client. Once the project is done, the client can simply pull the plug, so to speak, they needn’t pay anybody. All huge advantages, I’d say.”

When a project ends, customers are never left with legacy they don’t know how to navigate; we provide coaching.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE CONSULTANT?

ANDY: “Personal growth is a priority for Optis. Besides finding the right customer/project match for our consultant, we also make sure that they learn new skills and broaden their knowledge.We provide individual coaching and each of our consultants has his/her own training budget. They can invest this in themselves on their own terms and for their own personal goals.”

KESHIA: “There’s a lot of freedom and a sense of security involved for them. We can offer them such a variety in projects, but make sure that for each of them that we match the projects to their liking.The most important thing to keep in mind is that the consultant needs to be challenged during the project. They must be given the opportunity to continue learning and growing so that they can reach their full potential. Every day.”

Consultancy is a concept we all know quite well by now. Development outsourcing, however, might still be unknown terrain for some of us. At Optis, it is their core business. We had a chat with Managing Partner Keshia Niemegeerts and Technical Architect & Coach Andy Van Den Heuvel about the concept, the risks and the advantages for both consultants and clients.

WHAT IS, IN FACT, ‘DEVELOPMENT OUTSOURCING’?

KESHIA: “Clients find us when they are in need of specific development expertise or of people who can help them with their development issues. At this point we have people on board with a variety of skills thanks to the fact that they’ve been outsourced to diverse projects. Outsourcing, therefore, ensures broad employability precisely because of this variation. Consultants keep on growing and in the long run they can offer more and more capabilities.”

ANDY: “Our consultants are genuinely dedicated to finding the right solution for the client. We encourage them to think outside of the box, even if that means working beyond the scope of the project.It is absolutely our intent to build a strong relationship with our clients, founded on trust, and to offer high-quality work. Working with us means true collaboration and a co-creation trajectory.”

YOU BOTH COACH YOUR CONSULTANTS, HOW DOES THAT WORK?

ANDY: “I’m a technical coach. I take motivated people with me who know how to and are eager to build connections. We really want our clients to know: “Optis is the way to go if we want personal and high-quality support”. I make sure that the expertise we bring to the table doesn’t vanish once we leave. On the other hand, I also coach our consultants and help them stay up to date with their technical skills and ambitions.

KESHIA: “When it comes to more personal coaching,I’m the one they turn to. Pro-active coaching is done quarterly, but more importantly is that during these sessions, the consultant is challenged to grow and set goals & actions around their growth. So, in these sessions, we try to bring out the best in our consultant.” 

“I also teach them soft skills, such as assertive communication. These are some basic skills which all consultants need. That’s why we have taken this upon our own initiative. So, we don’t have to wait for a question that comes from the client of the consultants themselves. Basically, I check as often as possible if both client and consultant are still happy.”

We want to make sure that software lands in the hands of the users, so nobody loses an incredible amount of work or time whatsoever.

DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE IN TERMS OF CONSULTANTS?

KESHIA: “We aren’t fans of the labels that consultants seem to get nowadays. It doesn’t really mean anything. When do you suddenly upgrade from being a junior profile to being a medior? Of course, we’re aware that a junior needs more guidance than a senior or that their ambitions differ. However, someone might be a senior profile when it comes to age but maybe not when it comes to a specific technology. Working with different people, means working with different learning curves and we thrive to make our consultants grow, apart from age or experience.”

“Besides, two people who both have five years of experience aren’t necessarily equally skilled. We encourage our consultants to develop broad skills and to be employable on multiple projects. Thus, labels become superfluous and we can describe people based on skills rather than on questionable terms.”

WHAT ARE THE MOST FREQUENTLY REQUESTED SKILLS?

KESHIA: “Most of the companies that we’re involved with are quite big, so it happens that we place two developers instead of just one. Some customers have huge teams in which they merely need extrasupport or someone with a specific skill, that’s where we come in. It can be just about anything; the options are near endless.”

ANDY: “Indeed, when a client acknowledges that they need someone who knows the best practices of the trade, we get involved. That’s the core of our consultancy. We know certain things down to a fine art. Some customers underestimate how quickly technology evolves. We know the market, we can analyse it better than most clients can, so we’re able to offer tailored advice and support.”

When a project ends, customers are never left with legacy they don’t know how to navigate; we provide coaching.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS ASSOCIATED TO THIS WAY OF WORKING?

ANDY: “Usually, we integrate in existing systems. It takes some time to make sure all integrations work as expected. But we believe this approach works better than developing software externally and then to throw it over the wall. Building things is easy, building things that work together with an already existing infrastructure is much more difficult. We want to make sure that software lands in the hands of the users, so nobody loses an incredible amount of work or time whatsoever.”

KESHIA: “The main thing that we always find incredibly important, is communication, primarily between our consultant and the customer. It needs to be open and transparent. If the communication isn’t on-point, you get in loads of trouble, especially in these trying times with remote settings. I make sure every consultant has the right soft skills to communicate.”

WHICH OTHER ADVANTAGES ARE THERE FOR CLIENTS?

KESHIA: “First of all, it’s rather difficult nowadays to find people with the right expertise but clients often only need people for a specific period of time. Or they start out with a need for ten people which then narrows down to two after a few months. That’s not a problem with consultants.”

“In addition, our consultants are always up-to-date with the latest technology and they know the market. When a project ends, customers are never left with legacy they don’t know how to navigate; we provide coaching.

Finally, we cannot forget about pricing. Clients don’t need to invest in trainings anymore; we take care of that. If a consultant falls ill or takes leave, we are responsible, not the client. Once the project is done, the client can simply pull the plug, so to speak, they needn’t pay anybody. All huge advantages, I’d say.”

WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE CONSULTANT?

ANDY: “Personal growth is a priority for Optis. Besides finding the right customer/project match for our consultant, we also make sure that they learn new skills and broaden their knowledge.We provide individual coaching and each of our consultants has his/her own training budget. They can invest this in themselves on their own terms and for their own personal goals.”

KESHIA: “There’s a lot of freedom and a sense of security involved for them. We can offer them such a variety in projects, but make sure that for each of them that we match the projects to their liking.The most important thing to keep in mind is that the consultant needs to be challenged during the project. They must be given the opportunity to continue learning and growing so that they can reach their full potential. Every day.”

Are you intrigued by this interview and/or could your business benefit from a development consultant? Do not hesitate to contact us; we are happy to support you from non-binding question to actual collaboration!

Andy Van Den Heuvel

February 18, 2022

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