AgiliWay https://agiliway.com Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:32:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 OXID eShop: Agiliway Develops New E-commerce Competency https://agiliway.com/oxid-eshop-agiliway-develops-new-e-commerce-competency/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:51:24 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=1747 Read more »]]>

One more goal achieved! As long as there is room for improvement, we’ll never cease to measure our worth in regular achievements. And here it is: a new value-adding e-commerce competency extends the list of Agiliway services and accomplishments. Now that we’ve mastered OXID eShop platform, a scalable alternative to Magento and Shopware, our team offers multi-channel e-commerce solutions to partners from French and German-speaking Europe.

Developed as a multi-channel e-commerce system with wide functionality, OXID eShop was released back in 2008 in Germany. A product of Freiburg-based OXID eSales AG conquered a German-speaking market in a very short time and later in 2011 became completely localized for the French market.

OXID software comes in three editions: Community, Professional, and Enterprise, the last two being released on a commercial basis. Technically the Community and Professional versions offer the same range of functions. However, users of the free Community version feel the want of the ERP/SOAP interface and the manufacturer support. Extra features, such as rights and roles management or multi-client capability are most sought-after by medium and large enterprises, yet available only under a proprietary license in the Enterprise Edition.

OXID eShop turns into a smart e-commerce solution

Multiple successful vendors have chosen OXID software as the best answer to their needs. Some of the names include Mercedes Benz, Zeiss, Gravis, Carrera, Edeka, Sindopower, Intersport, Lekkerland etc. As the list suggests, the PHP-based e-commerce platform provides for B2B, B2C, omnichannel commerce transactions at small, medium, and enterprise scale. Vendors whose trade list ranges from mid-sized to long get the best end of the deal, while the Community version is ideal for smaller e-shops and start-ups.

OXID eShop improves a vendor’s business

Despite loads of available e-commerce platforms, OXID has occupied its own distinctive niche on the market due to the following features:

  • Minimal system requirements. The e-commerce store runs smoothly with basic system requirements without expensive investment in hardware. A successful setup phase requires PHP 5.3.25 or higher (plus extensions: GD LIB 2.x, bcmath, JSON, php-xml, libxml2, iconv-extension, tokenizer, mbstring, cURL), MySQL 5.5 or higher, Apache 1.3 or higher.
  • Omnichannel commerce solution. Developed as an omnichannel system, the OXID eShop provides all the tools vendors need to engage consumers across on- and offline distribution channels and multiple devices. The system connects all touchpoints such as webshop, mobile, social media platforms, and point of sale (POS). From a vendor perspective, it optimizes marketing strategies, while customers experience flexibility in purchasing.
  • Modularity. Due to its modular architecture, the software core can be customized to serve different needs. Adding on custom extensions, free or paid modules from the international marketplace OXID Exchange integrates multiple functionalities into the system.
  • Scalability. Hardware and software resources added for a fully functional core system do not interfere with performance. Strong performance is preserved as the platform’s capabilities rise.
  • Worldwide trade capacity. Multilingual functions can be integrated with the free community version. Language, payment methods, tax rates will be adapted to users’ needs.
  • Security. As any online sales platform, OXID eShop has a lucrative target on its back for cybercriminals. To make sure the software is secure, OXID eSales AG protects it from potential security threats by regularly releasing patches and updates.
  • Integrated CMS. When content and commerce seamlessly integrate into a single site, the process of making purchases gets easier, users interact with blog posts and products, while marketing gets more efficient. Users who are reading blog posts about certain products will be automatically sent to the pages where these products can be purchased. Those searching for certain products will receive links to blog posts about these products.

Agiliway unlocks the power of OXID eShop

Information technology services providers harness the power of OXID eShop by developing a customised solution for online stores. The business will experience a major boost through its website as long as it (business) starts its professional e-commerce activities rapidly, cost-effectively, with a customised eShop solution and at low risk.

Agiliway has successfully completed a few e-commerce projects for our German partners. Every time the scope of work and goals were different. Either we had to extend the functionality of an already existing module or build a robust online store from scratch, customizing it with available and custom modules for payment and order processing, marketing, etc.

Before OXID eShop extended out list of competencies, Agiliway partnership with German clients revolved mainly around TYPO3. Yet over time, we realized that even though most enterprise CMS platforms offer a certain level of e-commerce functionality, it usually varies from non-existent to mediocre. The same is true about OXID eShop solution with an integrated CMS. Its CMS functionality doesn’t match the depth of its commerce functions.

We see our goal in creating a true omnichannel digital experience, where customers do not simply browse the product line but engage with a retail brand. The most recent observations suggest that successful retailers (Wiggle, Zappos, Publix, Nordstrom, Apple, Asos, Net-a-Porter, Marks & Spencer, etc.) do way more than showcasing their products but encourage, inspire, and emotionally attach with rich content.

OXID eShop solution sells products and services, while TYPO3 delivers excellent customer experience. Now with one more competency added to the armor, our German partners will drive the future of business by getting the most of both CMS and e-commerce platforms.

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3D Animation Solution For A German Client https://agiliway.com/3d-animation-solution-a-german-client/ Fri, 29 Sep 2017 20:45:36 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=1743 Read more »]]>

Introduction

Currently, any company heavily relies on a global network of resources to build its credibility. The need for a website, commercial advertising, product demonstration, customer participation is a matter of course. Yet is their potential tapped to the full? Who holds the key to unique customer experiences? And what’s the key? Working on a sportswear chain project for a major German digital marketing agency, Agiliway team came close to answering these literally billion-dollar questions.

Client’s Challenge

The client came to us with an intention to make their homepage a unique user experience, stunningly produced with 2D animation, interactive graphics, and visual effects. The scene had to feature an artistic rendering of a mountain stretching above the surrounding land. Navigating with the scrolling commands, a user would move a group of people on the model: on land, up the mountain, right up to the peak where they raise a flag. Short descriptions had to accompany user’s scroll positions giving prompts and suggesting equipment travelers, mountaineer or outdoor enthusiasts might need at different stages of their adventure.

In view of a growing excitement over virtual reality and users’ hunger for experiences, the client realized that crafting a unique home page takes more than hammering away at design, text and a call-to-action button.

For our client designing a competition-crushing home page meant:

  • Adding a touch of interactivity and surprise to its components
  • Creating 2D animation with professional interactive real-time graphics

Solution

As planned, we started with the idea of 2D illustration, trying to make it visually as close as possible to 3D. Yet neither a depth perspective nor a soft blended look of an obtained graphic design and animation created a lifelike effect our client had in mind. At that point, Agiliway team decided to change a tack and stepped aside from playing with shadows, changing angles, creating perspective and other.

Since nearly all modern computers and smartphones are equipped with powerful graphics processors (GPU), while 3D scenes can be rendered and interacted directly in every major desktop browser, the decision was made to use more complex technology and add a new dimension to the interactive real-time animation. To bring our animation to an entirely new level we set our sights on creating a 3D environment and converting the scene from 2D to 3D.

To give 2D images a 3D feel and create unique interactive web experiences, our team agreed on following 3D design solutions:

  • Lightweight 3D library Three.js was chosen to create a virtual reality environment, using a 3D scene and other capabilities;
  • Javascript WebGL API would render 3D objects in the browser;
  • Visualisation in the browser was implemented with the Canvas;
  • Model was drawn in OBJ file format and then integrated into the animation;
  • Request Animation Frame would render graphic elements in minute detail with realistic lighting;
  • Animation position translation applied for moving the sprite in a certain direction;
  • 2D animation was used for displaying descriptions at fixed scroll positions.

Just because humans are visual creatures, who perceive 80% of information visually, whose brain processes images much faster than text and makes choices following a subconscious algorithm of three constants (relevance, coherence, participation), a user is affected by interactive 3D graphics instantly. By utilizing the most optimized resources to make the animation highly engaging and pleasing to the eye, we succeeded in:

  • Rendering objects (mountain, people) that can be viewed from different angles and lit from different directions;
  • Creating interactive experience featuring movement on the model with a camera showing a first-person view;
  • Demonstrating how objects change their position relative to other objects ( e.g. a mountain draws closer and sun rises as we move along the model);
  • Recreating life-like reflections and shadows (e.g. sunrise is visualized with atmospheric glow effects);
  • Displaying descriptions for all fixed user’s scroll positions;
  • Integrating the scene with 2D web page elements.

Conclusion

It’s easy to see the potential of 3D technology for a variety of uses in a wide range of industries and markets, from education, engineering to entertainment and advertising. The project for the German marketing agency has inspired us to develop a game and map by using Cocoon Js Launcher for executing HTML5 apps on mobile devices and Three.js for implementing 3D functionality.

From a user’s perspective, manipulating interactive 3D environments, vivid images and visual effects on the web is a surefire way to enjoy a more engaging experience. For businesses it does even more, it makes key information, products and services stand out.

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Agiliway Building A Unique Magento E-commerce Platform For Stone Industry https://agiliway.com/agiliway-building-a-unique-magento-e-commerce-platform-for-stone-industry/ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:41:48 +0000 https://agiliway.com/?p=1668 Read more »]]>

Introduction

E-commerce has long as transformed the way people do business. Benefits of running a web store being so wide-ranging, every niche in the online commerce world is filled, platforms fine-tuned to perfection and every solution found. Or so it seemed until Agiliway team took up an e-commerce website project aimed to open a gateway to the e-commerce world for global trade in decorative stones and construction materials.

Client’s Challenge

Equipped with a brilliant idea for the future start-up, the client came yet burdened with disillusion. Wholesale and retail trade in decorative stones and construction materials is a niche market that hasn’t yet been filled on a global scale and promised to be a fruitful ground for the e-commerce solution. Two years developers across the world were toiling away to get this e-commerce project off the ground. Built on the Magento platform, the website was meant to give vendors, service suppliers the tools necessary to sell online, facilitate an online purchase, reach vendors and customers around the world. Though Magento occupies almost one-fourth of the market share and offers more than 9000 extensions for building the most scalable startup, the project hit the losing streak. Stones trading and delivery involves a set of unique processes not easily implemented or automated. Following two years of attempts to launch the commerce site, the mountain turned out to be too tall to climb:

  • Code didn’t work adequately
  • Hours of painstaking debugging proved ineffective
  • Too many extensions didn’t provide necessary functionality and clashed with one another
  • Unique and complex processes of stones trading and services were not automated
  • Functional was neither extended nor customized to the niche requirements
  • The client had no clear perspective for ultimate website capabilities he was trying to achieve

Solution

Starting fresh in most cases is far more rewarding and time-effective than rescuing projects in crisis. Yet, Agiliway makes it a rule to put clients’ interests first. Time and resources have been invested into e-commerce website development but the client still had his lucrative online business beyond the bounds of reality.

In view of our client’s prior frustration and an incredibly long wait time, we put together a team of managers, developers, analysts to explore the practical, financial and technical aspects of the project. As soon as they ascertained that the project stood an ample chance of successful completion and all details were discussed with a client, a team of full-time developers, support staff and a few contributing developers set to turn the project deepest lows into the best highs of the future e-commerce platform for global wholesale and retail trade.

Few months down the line and we are pleased to announce that project officially enters the beta stage.

We succeeded in building the platform that

  • brings together wholesalers, vendors, service suppliers and retailers around the world, giving them the tools essential to reach the global market for decorative stones and construction materials;
  • is optimized for wholesale and retail shopping, products and services trade. Products and services are assigned in following categories: stone specimens, wholesale trade, decorative and construction materials, services;
  • boasts user-friendly navigation. As an online store for retail buyers and a B2B platform for wholesale buyers, it’s structured to help customers find products and suppliers quickly and efficiently;
  • will showcase millions of products by categories;
  • is fully customized to offer wide functionality and respond to the business niche requirements.

According to the niche requirements, Agiliway team has built in specific functions, such as:

  • product filtering that allows buyers to refine product searches based on multiple filters: a type and color of stones, country and region of delivery, stones composition, prices and many other attributes relevant to a particular type of the product;
  • opportunity for buyers to make a request for a specified number of product units, while sellers offer the price and quantity in return. Following all offers a buyer may choose one to accept;
  • a set of partners search tools for sales, manufacturing, purchase, delivery worldwide and at the best prices;
  • a few types of basket customized for the business needs, while checkout processes are configured significantly as compared with the default ones;
  • several billing methods, including regular payment function once in a certain period;
  • opportunity to buy/sell both wholesale and retail products;
  • separate admin for vendors so that they could conveniently use all services;
  • documents generated during a purchase all tailored for business needs;
  • modified and additional automated email tools;
  • various membership types for vendors based on access rights (on certain types of functions on the website)

Conclusion

When all of the good ideas are taken and you find one, Agiliway team will find the best e-commerce solution. The e-commerce platform has occupied a totally new niche and our development team keeps its focus on extending its functional (e.g. integration with delivery company services, an abridged version, mobile apps, etc) Managing unknowns is our specialty and we are good at it. Or you can always start with something that’s already working, and we’ll help to make it better.

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Agiliway – Entering Into Partnership With CiviCRM https://agiliway.com/agiliway-entering-into-partnership-with-civicrm/ Wed, 30 Aug 2017 11:07:18 +0000 http://agiliway.com/?p=1610 Read more »]]>

Interview with Sergiy Korniyenko, COO of Agiliway: on peculiarities of new partnership with world leading non-profit CRM platform.

It’s powerful, it’s responsive, and it’s used by more than 10,800 non-profit organizations. We are talking about the best CRM software for nonprofits, CiviCRM. It manages over 189,030,793 contacts around the world, processes more than 116,306,758 donations and opens up possibilities that traditional database denies. Agiliway has recently become an official partner of CiviCRM with intent to contribute to the platform development as well as help Ukrainian NGO to step up their processes.

We’ve asked COO of Agiliway to give more details about CiviCRM, explain what sets it apart from the pack and lift the curtain on peculiarities of this new partnership.

They say that numbers never lie. More than 10,800 non-profit organizations have already implemented CiviCRM system and make use of it on a daily basis. Could you give us a short elevator pitch what CiviCRM is and why so many organizations are satisfied with the product?

Sure. Basically, CiviCRM is an open source CRM that branched out into an engagement platform for NGOs. As any CRM the system allows tracking and managing contact information, though CiviCRM includes extended functionality designed specifically for tracking activities in the public sector and maintains contact information for a vast variety of relationship and people who are directly or indirectly connected to the non-profit organization: staff, volunteers, donors, partners, campaigner, participants, etc. To dig deeper, it’s a system, service, and strategy, geared up to engage the whole organization in interacting with its constituents, something traditional CRMs can’t provide. CiviCRM caught on among so many public organizations as it offers a set of specific modules that are particularly essential for the NGO functioning. Some of them include the possibility to manage different membership types and conditions; track various relationships between contacts; manage membership fees, donations, and pledges; manage and follow up internal projects; set up events, manage interactive communication with constituents or supporters and many other. And it keeps climbing the charts as does the need to strengthen relations with constituents, automate the contacts storage and processing within an organization, substitute Excel spreadsheets for a more reliable and less labor-consuming CRM solution. CiviCRM perfectly copes with the task being a very flexible open source platform, or in other words, free CRM software that makes its implementation twice as cost-effective as building the entire custom system from the ground up.

Sergiy Korniyenko on CiviCRM

If I got it right, once an organization identifies its CRM needs, it requires a certain amount of customization to tailor features to its particular needs, doesn’t it? Does AgiliWay have previous experience of CiviCRM implementation?

Right. Out of the box, CiviCRM provides a lot of built-in features specific for nonprofits still each organization has its own processes which may require a fair amount of customization. Yet once the out-of-the-box platform is modified and the transition process is over, you get the system with custom fields and modules fully accommodated to processes within your organization. Around a year ago Agiliway took up a grandiose project to open CiviCRM for Ukrainian market and develop CRM solution for one of the biggest Ukrainian political parties. Ukrainian localization of CRM went smoothly with a huge team of transcribers assembled to provide the top quality professional translation of CiviCRM into the Ukrainian language. Our client felt a pressing need to automate internal processes and donations management, track information about constituents and create a single collaboration platform for all its members. Agiliway team has successfully coped with CiviCRM implementation and went as far as built in custom components that go beyond a basic set of out of the box features, like an absolutely custom User Interface, graphic Calendar for organizing tasks and events or Advanced Security module for keeping access rights under control. To share our experience of CiviCRM implementation, customization and localization for the Ukrainian market with tech savvy and IT folks we’ve recently made a presentation at the CiviCon conference in Cologne.

Sounds like a major breakthrough for the Ukrainian public sector. But why has Agiliway decided to form a partnership with CiviCRM in the first place?

As of today, CiviCRM has established quite a big niche as the best free CRM software for nonprofits. That explains high demand for the product and it’s growing exponentially. With huge expertise in custom software development, Agiliway could not ignore the opportunity to leverage this experience and contribute to the platform, especially to UI development and localization which are usually neglected during CiviCRM implementation due to the high cost of CiviCRM developers.

Secondly, we cannot ignore the fact that following the overthrow of the previous corrupt government and democratic elections in 2014 Ukrainian political parties as well as other public organization got set for a steady development course and felt a need to invest into automatization and improvement of relationship management processes with members or supporters. Agiliway saw this as an opportunity to empower public sector in Ukraine with CRM software free download. Ukrainian localization of the platform is already available to download from the official CiviCRM website.

Great news! It looks like CiviCRM is more than an open source platform for an integrated and streamlined working environment within the NGO, it’s a means of creating positive change in public life. What requirements do you have to meet to become eligible for this partnership?

Sharing fruits of your labor with the community is a key prerequisite. Our partnership with CiviCRM is a voluntary collaborative agreement formed to actively promote CiviCRM via our corporate site and social profiles, blogs, conferences, and events, etc. As a good partner Agiliway team will use its collective effort to support and sustain platform by developing new features, fixing bugs, performing localization, assisting other partners with web development, etc. All in all, the name of the game is an excellent relationship management system and the best CRM software for nonprofits.

Instead, we will get support from Civi core team or other members of the community, access to internal documentation, reduced prices for consulting, and definitely an opportunity for new engagements.

You mentioned earlier popularization of CiviCRM in Ukraine. Could you please tell us a little more about this?

Customizing the CiviCRM platform for the civic sector in Ukraine means giving power to nonprofits to grow and prosper. Our primary task was to open CiviCRM system for Ukrainian market. We completed it successfully by localizing the platform for Ukrainian market. Having customized it for one of the biggest Ukrainian parties, we are now keen on getting the benefits of nonprofit CRM platform further across to public organizations in Ukraine.

It looks like you have a clear vision for the future of СiviCRM in Ukraine. First hard steps are already behind and now when the Ukrainian base version is up and running, what would be the further steps?

We will definitely continue to support and improve the Ukrainian version. At the very moment, Agiliway team keeps working on some custom components like CiviCalendar and security module to make them available on the market in a little while. We also plan to extend our cooperation with other CiviCRM providers over the World to get mutual benefits by sharing technical excellence and business/market knowledge. Also as part of CiviCRM popularization, we are going to host demo version of the platform with fancy UI and custom modules so people could log in and try and use it for free. If need be, our engineers will configure it for any public organization and offer technical support.

Perfect! The best of luck to you and your team as you move on to new challenges. Hopefully, results you’ll achieve are worth the efforts and hard work you put in. See you at the conference in fall

Thank you!

CiviCRM is a new step towards efficiency, optimized work processes and strong constituent relationships. Fast and easy, it will take any political and other nonprofit organization to a completely new level. It’s a win-win solution with low cost or risks and without the aggravation of building custom constituent relationship system from scratch. To step up process management within your organization you are welcome to contact Agiliway.

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Agiliway Marks Its Second Anniversary And It’s Just Amazing! https://agiliway.com/agiliway-marks-its-second-anniversary-and-its-just-amazing/ Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:07:12 +0000 http://agiliway.com/?p=1584 Read more »]]>

August is a sunny and hot period of time, within this season Agiliway company celebrates its second anniversary. It has been two years since our software development company was established and we are proud of our achievements. Feeling continuous passion for technology, Agiliway pursues to focus on developing software products for its clients, providing IT consultancy services and expanding customer base every constantly.

To celebrate this anniversary occasion, the open air event was held on the 4th August and the official opening started with greetings of Agiliway COO Sergiy Korniyenko, who congratulated everyone on this little but so crucial anniversary for the company, feeling delighted, he emphasized on team’s achievements this year and future expectations:

“Agiliway will continue to grow, improve and increase its services, we will expand our presence in the US, the UK markets as well as in Europe”.

Following other greetings, the joyous celebration started when our team came to “The Vikings Bay” resort complex. The resort was divided into numerous zones, each of which with its own peculiarity, where everyone could find something interesting and to have some fun. As we were lucky and the weather was really hot and gleaming – in fact, it can be unusual for Lviv city – water lovers could enjoy swimming in the warm and clean lake. Moreover, versatile beach contests helped to maintain our festive spirit. For those who wanted to hide from the sun, there was a possibility to lie in hammocks or on wooden benches, drinking refreshing beverages and observing breathtaking spots.

Beach Leisure at Agiliway 2d Birthday Party

Our company prefers healthy and active lifestyle, so different activities were offered. A great number of our team lived the life to the full playing volleyball and football.

Outdoor Sports at Agiliway Second Anniversary

Besides, we got a positive boost of energy, smile and pleasure while playing outdoor activities such as tennis, badminton and ping pong and of course, our boys could not stand the temptation to kick a goal or two…

After a sunset, we moved to the dancing zone where Lviv local band entertained us with captivating list of songs.That evening we really danced on air.

This is how Agiliway was killing the night on its birthday!

The highlight of our evening was our colleague Pascoal who really rocked the floor with his rap freestyle session.

We believe that the celebration of our victories is one of the key aspects of the development of corporate culture. All day long we were chatting and getting to know each other better, not just from working perspective. It was truly a great day, full of gleeful emotions and fun. So, we are looking forward to our next celebration!

Agiliway celebrated it's second birthday with super-delicious cake!

]]> Eye On IT Outsourcing In Ukraine: Observations From Agiliway Leaders https://agiliway.com/eye-on-it-outsourcing-in-ukraine-observations-from-agiliway-leaders/ Wed, 02 Aug 2017 11:22:48 +0000 http://agiliway.com/?p=1566 Read more »]]>

From fad to force reshaping the IT industry, outsourcing as a business practice has seen it all. The term itself was treated as a dirty word, then buzzword and now as a synonym to staying competitive. It has matured in the past ten years as have the clients’ needs.

Agiliway leaders stood at the cradle of the IT outsourcing industry in Ukraine, watched it grow and observed all changes from within. With their fingers on the pulse of the outsourcing market, our experts have shared their latest observations.

IT outsourcing vendors in Ukraine welcome new players

The international sourcing practices of most regions remained fairly stable over years. According to the study by professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for 2014 about a quarter of US companies outsourced work offshore. Almost 50% percent fell on IT operations. This share being so large, the US used to claim massive IT outsourcing market coverage in Ukraine.

Presently, things are taking a serious turn. Agiliway experts believe last few years have changed the face of an IT outsourcing market in Ukraine. A growing number of German, UK, and French companies are entering the scene to leverage the benefits of BPO and software development outsourcing. Only this year Agiliway and other Ukrainian outsourcing companies have become the hub for IT and BPO operations for a few companies from Europe and this number is twice as large as it was last year.

Priorities change: Cost bows to talent

The moment the term outsourcing crept into a conversation, speech or article, the first association on every business owner’s mind used to be: cost reduction. Obviously, outsourcing began its journey as a cost-saving measure. It’s still about lower unit costs and control of operating expenses, yet mindset of sourcing companies has drastically changed.

Our close interaction with potential and existing clients proves that outsourcing is moving away beyond cost-saving towards using operating cost in a more efficient way. An efficiency here equals to bringing in new talents and getting to market faster.

The recent survey by IBM concludes that as few as 27% of companies still outsource to reduce cost, whereas 73% use outsourcing to optimize their businesses. Ukraine has a real sustainable competitive advantage in this area. Home to more than 100.000 developers who are professionals with degrees, this outsourcing destination opens the best opportunity to tap into a rich talent pool, build the skills and capture value.

Eastern Europe is viewed as the best region to expand IT operations

Each potential client defines at least one reason for outsourcing. As per our observation, the success and value of an outsourcing destination are directly proportional to the winning combination of multiple such key drivers.

On this count, Eastern Europe is viewed as a treasure trove for outsourcing services, while Ukraine tops the list as a destination with the highest number of key drivers. Agiliway leaders identify the following such key drivers:

  1. The rich talent pool has been nurtured in Ukraine to respond to demand and add new capabilities. Thus, shortage of in-house tech skills is easily made up with external resources.
  2. Operational and labor cost reduction, though pushed back a bit, still remains among the chief reasons for a company to take the course on outsourcing to Ukraine
  3. The speed of service delivery wins clients over. Two-week notice period in Ukraine is twice as short as in any other European country. The whole process of finding, hunting, interviewing and setting a candidate to work takes around a month as opposed to 2 months in other European countries.
  4. Same mentality, with sights set on the result, not the process.
  5. Access to a variety of latest technologies instantly removes the need to have a few experts on staff

These observations alone stand to reason that the path Ukraine has chosen defines the future of this Eastern European IT outsourcing destination. The path winds its way through developing talents, building strong teams and bringing competitive products to market faster. That path improved odds of success and definitely leads to the bright future. Could it be different?!

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How To Outsource Smart: Best Practices For Successful Business Cooperation https://agiliway.com/how-to-outsource-smart-best-practices-for-successful-business-cooperation/ Wed, 05 Jul 2017 10:25:26 +0000 http://agiliway.com/?p=1563 Read more »]]>

Stepping on a no man’s land with no tools or knowledge to survive environmental hazards and adjust to life is exactly how newbies feel as they tread with caution on the unfamiliar ground called “offshore outsourcing”.

Unlike ISVs and experienced IT companies that have long captured all the giants on the ground and developed best practices for cooperation with outsourcing vendors, newcomers are still struggling with outsourcing management. Years of work on multiple projects have taught Agiliway team that most newcomers are drawing a blank on how to work with remote teams, collaborate across time zones and create a consistent workflow.

Challenge

Newcomers to the offshore IT outsourcing market are either IT startups or end-user clients looking to Ukraine for expertise and cost-effective software development service. On local markets of the US, Germany, France or UK such expertise usually comes with a high price tag, while skills may not be available internally.

When the company needs to extend an existing in-house team with outsourced workers, our cooperation is built on functions relocation. This implies that an outsource service provider takes on the responsibility for hiring and training talents, providing a workplace and all necessary facilities, while the client submits assignments.

Before reaping the benefit on the ground called offshore outsourcing one must do away with all the giants and stumbling blocks popping on the way to the project success.

As a rule, after the contract is concluded, senior executive tasks middle-level management to oversee the project. The PMs are good at managing operations, coordinating resources and delegating tasks across the internal team within the company. However, when it comes to working across distributed team and time zones, in 80% cases this pattern of partnership goes pear-shaped as in-house PMs often lack the skills and experience of work with remote teams.

Solution

Luckily, these challenges are easily fought off once you follow the strategy Agiliway has tested on multiple outsourcing projects. Apart from extending your software development capabilities with needed skills, we also aim to ensure smooth and productive cooperation. This preconditions the necessity to align inner processes in view of collaboration with a remote team. Such being the case, Agiliway has drawn up its own methodology to include four key areas of project governance and control.

Dedicated PM

Once the cooperation starts we assign our PM on the project. This is a person with wide experience managing distributed teams who will simplify, plan, mitigate cooperation and oversee local resources by keeping under close scrutiny communication, processes and risks. The step is mandatory for all projects whether the client requested such a role for his remote team or not. The latter being the case, we invest into our local PM to assure successful engagement and positive experience for the client and correspondingly further cooperation.

Communication

Setting up an effective communication process with a remote team is a central aspect of productive day-to-day operations. The PM will start by building three-level communication model to govern the whole working process. The model includes:

  • Operational level (regular daily communication on the lowest level between engineers regarding on-going project issues)
  • Managerial level (communication on the mid level between managers regarding project planning and statuses, process organization, risks management, and similar questions. Time for such discussion should be made at least few times a week)
  • Strategic level (strategic communication on the highest level between executives on a monthly or quarterly basis)

To accelerate decision-making processes between two parties, this three-level model incorporates a deeper escalation mechanism. When needed, engineers will take up an issue to the manager, while managers might address their questions about plans, services or strategy to executives.

Processes

Remote team management often comes upon a snag. Team members don’t work in the same office, they communicate in virtual, not real environments, they feel the want of standup meetings for receiving tasks, they cannot solve problems by throwing some ideas around in the office or having a few words over the wall.

The best the PM can do is help you stay at the top of the game by integrating necessary tools to blend seamlessly an outsourcing model into your internal business processes.

Risk Control

Risks related to offshore outsourcing are numerous. Just some of them being weak communication channels, discrepancies between internal processes on the client and outsourcing provider sides, lack of business domain knowledge, cultural differences, etc. Aware of the risks, PMs and executives implement techniques to mitigate them altogether. Such techniques include but are not limited to constant communication, processes alignment through the entire development cycle, well-documented requirements, proper tools usage, etc. The combination of efficient day-to-day risk analysis and appropriate risk management techniques are critical to successful outsourcing partnership.

Outsourcing benefits are hardly overrated. Yet successful partnership takes place only if the client understands challenges offshore outsourcing triggers, while the service provider is competent enough to implement the solution and experienced enough to manage smooth workflow.

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Software Development Outsourcing: What Business Model to Choose https://agiliway.com/software-development-outsourcing-what-business-model-to-choose/ Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:26:24 +0000 http://agiliway.com/?p=1533 Read more »]]>

Chances are if twenty years ago you contacted 50 random leading companies and approached their CEOs with a question: “Have you ever seen the work day come to an end?”, most likely, more than 70% would say no. The slight percentage would spend their work days sitting in their king-sized, high-back chairs free from hateful neck cracks, feeling like a million dollars. I bet partly this let up at work was due to an adopted outsourcing model and benefits it brought in, like outside expertise, cut cost, streamlined task fulfillment processes and low risks.

With the rise of outsourcing, in particular, software development outsourcing, the tide starts to turn and numbers change. Outsourcing engagement models either edge out or complement traditional ones, giving inner company processes a major revamp.

The business engagement model reads as strategic partnership oriented towards creating value, sparing efforts and meeting goals. Strategic partnership with an IT outsourcing provider starts the moment a vendor selects the vehicle of its own success from the taxonomy of business engagement models.

To ensure your vehicle doesn’t stop midway, Agiliway has given numerous business models a test drive and made the most out of this experience by offering our clients only the most value-adding models. Learn more about each of three tried-and-true engagement models in software development outsourcing and decide which works for you.

Fixed Price

Under the fixed price engagement model the client entrusts the IT solution to a software outsourcing vendor and steps back until the agreed date arrives for taking over a market-ready build. In cases like this, clients either have a clear vision of an end product or at least a set of well-defined requirements. During the discussion stage the scope, budget, main development stages, and deadlines are fixed, documented and final proposal with billing is submitted for consideration. When the agreement is concluded and the process of project implementation starts, no major alterations are welcome. Any deviations trigger additional expenses.

When it works. The fixed price engagement model proves effective under following conditions:

  • The client’s objective is one-time cooperation with the service provider
  • The scope and requirements are clearly defined by the client and are not subjected to changes during the development process
  • Not so many projects are planned to justify keeping full or part-time engineers on staff
  • Cost and terms should be estimated and secured in advance
  • The client does not possess technical expertise to supervise and manage the development process
  • The client would rather have all risk to the service provider

While this business model thrives in some companies, it is not the best option when engagement scope turns out to be rather provisional and risks estimates have low precision. In such cases, clients will pay separately for any extra features. The service provider, in its turn, will try to balance the technical and management risks by feeding them into the pricing process.

Rate Based Outstaffing

Popular among companies seeking access to new skill sets, this software development outsourcing model exempts the client, mainly western ISV, from the need to search for talents or provide necessary infrastructure. Accordingly, expenses go down as the outsourcing provider takes all the responsibility for filling the company staffing needs by hiring, training and integrating new members into a team within a short period. From the very outset both parties agree on cost per employee, workload hours new team member will allocate to the project and duration of cooperation.

When it works. Applying for the rate based outstaffing renders as an attractive alternative for ISV companies when it’s conditioned by the following:

  • Certain skill sets are not represented in the local area
  • The company has no time for non-core tasks or resources to cover workspace cost and handle recruiting processes
  • The company has no intention to build its presence in the remote location
  • The ISV chooses to reduce cost by paying for FTE Performance
  • When it’s not a one-off task but rather a long term cooperation with a set of tasks is anticipated
  • The client takes over all project management responsibilities
  • The scope of work is either narrow or changes regularly calling for constant flow of professionals
  • Work should be done at all hours of the day and night

Despite the strong potential of the rate based outstaffing model, it has its slight hitches, some of them being rather considerable management effort and only partial control over the team members. The outsourced vendor is obliged to provide workplace and necessary working conditions, ensure the day-to-day operation of dedicated engineers, yet successful project implementation rests with the client. The issue with the lack of the control over the team is easily resolved when the client shifts to BOT engagement models.

BOT Cost+

The BOT Cost+ model comes to the foreground when the company management decides to move their IT functions to a distant location and increase their development capacity by setting up an offshore devcenter. As per this transitional model, an outsourcing company makes commitments to build a fully-functional team and optimize it for effective service delivery operation. Team establishment takes a few weeks during which the outsourcing provider is fully responsible for staff recruitment and training, facilities management, administrative and legal matters and quality assurance of day-to-day operations. When the team reaches operating stability, the offshore entity with supporting assets is transferred to the owner company.

When it works. The transitional model can adequately solve your goals and have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line if the following preconditions are satisfied:

  • Keeping a team of on-staff engineers in the region would definitely break the bank
  • The client prefers to mitigate risks during the start-up stage
  • The company chooses to own and operate a permanently functioning IT division in a remote destination
  • The client would rather avoid stress and challenges that come with staff employment, training, and infrastructure set-up in new location
  • The management burden during the build stage, including intricacies of country’s regulation, necessary licenses, and permits, is delegated to the outsourcing provider

A Comparison Table of Different Business Engagement Models

Long setup time used to cast a dark shadow on the model itself. However, the prospects have brightened up the moment the notice period in some outsourcing destinations went down, e.g. in Ukraine, it has reached a rock bottom 2 week time period. The fully functional team is usually up and coming for transfer and long term cooperation within a few months. A smart way of outsourcing, the BOT Cost+ model has found its proponents among companies that work out long-term business strategies and plan within a few years window. After transfer, some of our BOT clients either use Agiliway advisory and consultancy services to handle operations or lease some of our local managers to delegate operational control.

For an easy visual perception, the comparison table above summarizes the core elements of each model discussed above.

Before making the decision, develop a clear vision of partnership with an outsourcing provider by answering questions of the kind:

  1. What’s the objective of my engagement? Do I intend to extend an in-house IT unit (rate based outstaffing), partner with an outside team to have a well-defined one-off task completed (fixed price) or build an offshore team for recurrent projects (BOT cost +)?
  2. How far am I willing to go? Short (fixed price) or long term (outstaffing, BOT) cooperation?
  3. Would I rather take risks with minimum pay (cost +, rate based outstaffing) or pay extra to eliminate all risks (fixed price)?
  4. Do I need a team of full-time resources (outstaffing, BOT) or one expert in a particular field (rate based outstaffing) will suffice?
  5. Should I opt for lower risk options (fixed price, outstaffing) or the possibility to have full control over my remote resources (BOT )?
  6. Rapid project team mobilization (fixed price) or control over the outsourcing venture (BOT, outstaffing) makes all the difference for me?

Now move in the right direction to extend your skill sets, step up software development processes at a lower cost and reach beyond what your internal team might have come up with. And remember all these models are prone to modifications and Agiliway will tailor them to best suit your needs.

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Agiliway’s teambuilding – this time in the bowling https://agiliway.com/agiliways-teambuilding-this-time-in-the-bowling/ Fri, 05 May 2017 13:04:17 +0000 http://agiliway.com/?p=1487 Read more »]]>

As every family follows its traditions, we in Agiliway also have our own. Every last Friday we spend time summarizing the passing month. We are used to working a lot and spending every minute dedicated to projects since that is our favorite work. But to get some strength and inspiration we regularly go out for teambuilding events. These Fridays are always very special for us – we take rest, have fun, and share monthly achievements and positive emotions. Traditionally we also congratulate our team members on their birthdays, share gifts and best wishes.

Agiliway’s teambuilding – this time in the bowling

This time Agiliway went bowling. We have occupied the whole club and began to knock our strikes. We were divided into teams, each of which was striving to show the best team coordination. We continued our evening with karaoke songs (Agiliway is full of talents).

We are going to keep on such evenings, the end of the May promises to be hot – that’s the high time for Agiliway to go for a picnic somewhere in the suburbs.

We are ready to start a new month, are you?!

Agiliway team wishes you lots of inspiration and passion to work!

]]> HAPPY EASTER https://agiliway.com/happy-easter/ Fri, 14 Apr 2017 10:45:27 +0000 http://agiliway.com/?p=1476 Read more »]]>

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Spring is here and it is a wonderful time of the year. It is a period of prosperity and new beginnings. Spring brings us joy and love, inspires confidence for new accomplishments. This is the time, when nature wakes up and makes the whole world to wake up with her. Spring fills the hearts with light and hope for the successful fulfillment of all future plans.

Easter is the most magnificent period of the spring. It’s not just about egg hunts, the Easter bunny, chocolate candy, and toys, but new starts and achievements. And it is also about family gathering together, sharing love and support.

Agiliway wishes you all to enjoy the festivities of the day with your family and friends. May happy and lovely moments, springtime flowers in full bloom and yummy chocolate of all kinds brighten up your day! May this spring inspire you on new great deals and outstanding projects. May it bring abundance in all things possible and contentment for what you already have in your life.

Enjoy this Sunday, Happy Easter!

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