6min read

Is nearshoring a solution for everyone? When is it advisable to opt for it?

#outsourcing IT #nearshoring #survey

Nearshoring is a popular solution in the IT field today. The outsourcing companies that offer the service of nearshoring focus on nearby countries. Such issues as the same time zone or similar culture are important here. At j-labs, we focus on German-speaking countries, among others. Out of curiosity about how particular organizations operate in this area, we decided to conduct a survey. We present the results in this article.

Despite evident demand for outsourcing in IT, many companies are not aware of the real possibilities this solution offers. However, external service providers can influence many important factors, such as:

  • cost optimization, 
  • improvement in the quality of the work performed, 
  • increased productivity.

Therefore, it is worth thinking through the advantages and risks behind nearshoring before deciding on a partner. 

Nearshoring vs offshoring

In the case of lack of experience in in-house recruitment or limited budget allocated for this purpose, outsourcing is the best solution. This service can be subdivided into offshoring characterized by hiring external organizations from distant countries, and nearshoring focusing on culturally close countries. At j-labs, we prefer an individual approach to each collaboration, therefore solutions dedicated to the German-speaking market are our specialty. 

Survey analysis:

The first step of our brief research was to prepare appropriate questions. We come up with two:

  1. What do you think about nearshoring – what is your experience in this area?
  2. What determines the choice of an IT partner in your case?

Our goal was to explore how people understand the concept of nearshoring. We were also interested in learning about the factors that guide people when choosing a partner for cooperation in IT. We were positively surprised by the results of the survey. 

Below we share a few interesting opinions of our respondents:

1. We buy parts where we get the best quality for the best price with decent delivery time and currently are not concerning ourselves where the part is made. However, for parts where the production is outsourced we use suppliers close by (same country). 

2. We use companies that are close by and that have a good local reputation and customer base.

  • Chief Operation Officer

Outsourcing IT is something I have done for about two years. What I mainly look when choosing a partner is timely responses, flexibility, and cost.

  • Medical Operations

1. I haven’t really had much experience with this so far. Of course, I have worked with freelancers within Germany and occasionally with foreign freelancers. Here I usually had problems with communication. 

2. That as much work as possible is taken off my shoulders and that the communication is right.

  • Full-stack developer 

Interestingly, many companies using outsourcing indicated the same factors that guide their choice of the service provider. Among the most frequently mentioned were:

  • cost optimization,
  • quality of services provided, 
  • cultural and communication compatibility,
  • transparency of cooperation.

The survey analysis allowed us to understand the preferences of those who decide to hire an external company. As it turned out, nearshoring is one of the most preferred options because of the similar values and better understanding of the cooperating parties. 

Nearshoring in organizations

The analysis of the survey showed us how important nearshoring service is – more and more companies in the IT area opt for it. However, there are some concerns that cause hesitation when choosing a partner. That is why mutual relations, understanding, and a clearly defined scope of services are so important.

Many companies specializing in nearshoring do not take the importance of personalization into account. Clients want to be sure that if they decide to cooperate, they will receive comprehensive and high-quality services. However, big corporations use rigidly defined forms of cooperation, which do not meet their clients’ needs.

At j-labs, we value an individual approach to services offered. That is why we always adjust our nearshoring service to our client’s expectations. We know how important it is to understand each other, which is why we communicate and answer all questions transparently. We work flexibly, based on a meticulously developed plan to satisfy the needs of those who trust us.

When we work with a German-speaking client, for example, we tailor our communications to the culture and customs of their country. Step by step, we prepare a strategy and then assign highly-qualified specialists to particular tasks. We work based on an agile methodology to immediately react to our partner’s expectations. We make sure the cooperation with our clients is lasting and valuable, which is confirmed by many long-term relationships.

Each B2B relationship is unique. Therefore, our main goal is a personalized offer and building mutual trust. We know that our services stand out in the IT industry because we do not use schematic solutions but create our own in collaboration with each client individually.

Summary

Although there are many forms of outsourcing, nearshoring seems optimal for many IT companies. It is a solution that allows using services of a culturally compatible organization. It allows for effective communication based on honesty and deep understanding.

Conducting a survey allowed us to understand the needs of our existing and future clients.

In j-labs, we employ a different approach to all companies we collaborate with and we provide tailored and high-quality services. We specialize in the DACHL market, and it is in this region that we most willingly establish cooperation.

It is worth remembering that choosing outsourcing services is a serious decision that requires preparation. It allows you to choose a company that shares your values and perfectly matches the offer to your expectations and actual needs.

If you are considering nearshoring in your company, contact us. Together, we can work out a solution that will help you achieve your goals.

6min read

What should the recruitment process and onboarding of developers look like?

#outsourcingIT #onboarding #recruitment

In a world where various technologies are constantly evolving, the demand for IT professionals is growing rapidly. As a result, most programmers can literally pick through job offers. However, not all companies know about the proper process of recruiting and onboarding developers. Therefore, organizations that find this undertaking too complicated and time-consuming decide to use outsourcing services.

Recruitment of developers typically begins with receiving documents such as a resume or portfolio. The process can also be initiated by an IT headhunter, whose task is to search for developers matching a given position and recruit them. The headhunter usually selects candidates based on their resumes.
The initial selection consists of checking whether the applicant’s skills and experience match the requirements specified in the ad. 

While a lot depends on the specifics of a given position, most IT companies behave in a similar way when looking for the most suitable candidates. Therefore, the recruitment process in different organizations usually follows a similar pattern. This type of categorization is also important when choosing an outsourcing service provider because the preliminary research makes it easier to identify an external organization that matches your needs and expectations.

Skills tests

At another stage in the recruitment, developers may be asked to complete a task. The level of difficulty should be adjusted to the requirements of junior and senior positions accordingly. In aptitude tests, employers verify the level of knowledge and skills and select the most promising candidates.

Candidates with the highest scores are invited to interviews.  During the meeting, both sides get to determine whether they are interested in establishing cooperation and discuss the conditions of employment. It is also an opportunity for the prospective employee to get to know the future employer. It is important to make candidates feel taken care of every step of the way. Each applicant is assigned a recruiter – a person who answers questions, dispels doubts and assists them when needed. We believe it reduces stress when waiting for an answer or performing particular tasks.

Job interview

Job interviews in IT can be divided into two types:

● Interviews preceded by aptitude tests are casual conversations. It’s an opportunity for both the prospective employee and the employer to become acquainted. It helps identify mutual needs and doubts. It is also an opportunity to determine whether a person shares company values and matches the culture.

● Interviews without prior tests take on a slightly different character, as recruiters still face the challenge of testing the candidate’s skills. Therefore, this type of interview may include recruitment tasks and be divided into stages to allow time for skills verification, conversation, and getting to know each other.

It is worth noting that at the initial stage the interviews are conducted by recruitment specialists. At the end of the process, a candidate meets people who they will work with most often.

At j-labs, even if recruitment does not go our way, we always provide substantive feedback to all candidates. We never rule out cooperation, but encourage candidates to develop and return in the future when we open new positions in a given area.

The decision about cooperation and onboarding

After completing the above-mentioned recruitment stages, it’s time to make decisions. We invite the candidate to an online or face-to-face meeting to introduce them to the team and let them see the workplace.

Onboarding is a kind of a bridge between recruitment, and regular work in the company. It can last a few weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the projects the person will work on. It usually consists of meetings with future co-workers and team leaders. 

In the onboarding process, a candidate may be hired for a trial period, which may last from one to three months. It gives a person time to decide whether they feel comfortable in the new workplace.

Summary

The recruitment process in IT usually consists of several stages. It starts with an aptitude test or an interview with tasks to complete. If a candidate is successful in the recruitment process, they enter the onboarding phase and get to know the team, their manager, as well as the scope of responsibilities. 

At j-labs, we are perfectly aware of how complicated the recruitment process can be. That is why we do our best to conduct it carefully and make sure the applicants feel comfortable at every stage. We also know that for some companies, recruitment is one of the biggest challenges. In such situations, the optimal solution is outsourcing companies that not only provide high-quality development services but also help minimize costs associated with, for example, staffing new positions. 

Recruitment processes in IT are usually similar, but they may differ depending on the specifics of the position and the culture of a given company.  However, there are standard elements worth knowing when building a dream team or looking for a dream job. Do not forget that planning and conducting recruitment is not for everyone. It is worth considering other solutions, such as hiring external companies. It will help you achieve your business goals while giving up time-consuming processes, which not every organization is prepared to carry out. 

4min read

The 3 top IT trends in 2022

#outsourcing IT #cloud #cybersecurity #IT trends

How will IT change in 2022? Looking back at the last two years, we are convinced that 2022 will also be a very dynamic year. We will observe significant trends in the technology market. We have selected three areas (except mobile trends) we believe will be dominant in 2022. 

In this article, you will read about:

Cybersecurity – the world’s biggest challenge – and how  we deal with it as an outsourcing company

Blockchain – developments and security in the cryptocurrency world
Cloud – its growing importance in the delivery of IT service

Cybersecurity – the world’s biggest challenge – and how  we deal with it as an outsourcing company

Cyber security – a topic of undoubted importance to the entire world. Increased digitization, hybrid work, and global supply chains are causing the increase in cybercrime. Did you know that about 95% of cyber breaches are due to human error? For us, an IT outsourcing company, this is a priority topic. 

We are constantly educating ourselves, conducting tests, and organizing internal guilds and Talk4Devs meetings on security. 

Recently, we have conducted security testing with our employees. 

The development department personated Microsoft and sent out an email asking people to download and install a software update. 

Another area that will challenge the world is AI technology. Deepfakes are likely to be used on a much wider scale by cybercriminals and fraudsters. Scams involving the impersonation of particular individuals via image or audio are causing much concern. Cybersecurity techniques and trends are constantly evolving. A cyberattack can devastate a company of any size, so it is up to each organization to establish appropriate security measures for protecting the company and customer information.

Blockchain – developments and security in the cryptocurrency world

It is one of the hottest trends due to its role in the databases of digital transactions and cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is known as the technology supporting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, the application of blockchain goes far beyond these two areas. It plays a crucial role in the supply chain, cyber security (identity theft), or logistics.

According to the Worldwide Semiannual Blockchain Spending Guide, global spending on Blockchain is expected to reach nearly $12 billion this year.

This database model has the potential to solve many problems related to online trust and security.

Blockchain technology can be used to improve security and integrity in any system. Data entered into Blockchain cannot be altered or deleted, which is why this solution is attracting more and more interest.

It is also interesting to note that by 2025, investment in Blockchain in the healthcare sector is expected to grow to around $6 billion. 

Blockchain is making an equally strong push into the work sphere. Our specialists are training intensively in this fascinating technology. There is a growing demand in outsourcing services for the development of decentralized DApps. 

Currently, the biggest drawback of blockchain technology is the huge amount of carbon dioxide emitted when mining the currency.

One possible solution at this point is to move to a Proof-of-Stake model. Undoubtedly, green operating models will generate greener approaches. We anticipate more and more investments focusing on renewable energy for Blockchain. 

The topic is important to us, and we are very excited to see how Blockchain technology will evolve over the coming months – the situation is dynamic.

Cloud and its growing importance in the delivery of services

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/Yjk48jW8YSUPnfkV7s_K-Gz1oytrlHXQIKd4colr-itPuvg8TfnCF0Kz1Cn1eWEA5jEyfwwgmlGAX0-4aAD1kqzKDycQ4xB9I4nb9uvCOqJpaaMjhqvyYgTIxvPktG_OcxEjU0iT

The Cloud has long played an important role in organizations, but the shift to remote working and the subsequent changes have accelerated its growth. While the IT service industry has long embraced the Cloud, many non-IT companies have lagged. In some parts of the world, the importance of cloud technology has grown to the point that companies are increasingly adopting a cloud-first approach.

The strengthened correlation between artificial intelligence and the cloud will certainly be an important element. One does not exist without the other. Combining AI with cloud services allows companies to make the most of both technologies in a cost-effective way. AI helps the cloud manage data, while the cloud provides continuous data backup and recovery in a virtual environment.

In 2022, organizations will increasingly opt for a hybrid cloud. The solution offers storing data in the public cloud on third-party servers, making it convenient to use and reducing the cost of maintaining a dedicated infrastructure. 

The second solution is to store data in a customizable private cloud which guarantees fast data transmission and limits possible downtime.

The hybrid cloud gives companies the best of both worlds. The most sensitive data can be stored privately on-premises, while more frequently used high-volume files are moved to a public cloud provider such as AWS and Azure.

As technology evolves, cybercrime will undoubtedly increase. In our opinion, expanding the knowledge of data security will be the primary focus this year and in the years to come. We are constantly attending to this aspect to ensure the highest level of security.

3min read

How to continually adapt to a changing environment – agile approach at j-labs

#Agile #Agile Manifest #IT
agile-in-j-labs

At j-labs, when asked for the definition of Agile, we answer: it is building software in collaboration and not in detachment from a client. It is also about ongoing communication and supporting the discovery of what is needed to achieve the intended objective. It is a comprehensive overview of the project. How does this thinking translate into our everyday work?

Being agile means understanding the constantly evolving environment, adapting to it, and changing quickly. There is no one right way to achieve a goal. We continuously adapt this way to existing conditions.

How does Agile manifest at j-labs?

Agile is a generic term for adaptive project management methodologies. Scrum, which we use at j-labs, is one of them.

At j-labs, we believe that Agile is a way of thinking, an approach to life and work. What exact tools or ceremonies are used in a project or by a team depends on a client’s organizational culture. Regardless of whether we are talking about a team extension, team leasing, or even a custom development model, it is necessary to blend in with the client’s team. 

Our goal is to create efficient and optimal software. To achieve this, we need to communicate regularly and focus on results. 

Therefore, we adhere to the principles of the Agile Manifesto:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Scrum ceremonies (such as sprint planning, daily, weekly, demo, review, and retro) are used in all teams – not just in the development teams. They help us grow, learn, change, talk about problems and participate in the project. It can be very helpful, especially when working remotely.  

Working software over comprehensive documentation

If we find that the documentation preparation is too burdensome, we produce only as much documentation as needed to deliver the agreed-upon result in a given sprint.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

For us, customer relationships are more than just contracts. If a situation that has not been anticipated and previously discussed arises, we take the business into account. It means, for example, providing the project team with additional competencies, additional tasks.

Responding to change over following a plan

Because we work in sprints and the scope of tasks is planned for the next 2 weeks, it helps us adjust the tasks to current needs. We focus on the project and its goal. We do not perform unnecessary tasks just because they are included in the scope.

What does this result from?

From the values that guide the organization

The 3 most important values that guide j-labs are technology, substance, and reliability. We also have scrum values like courage and commitment.

The first value ensures that we openly speak what we think and accept each other’s openness. Courage allows us to take a “fail fast” approach. It involves experimenting, trying things out, putting ideas into practice, and learning from them.

Commitment, on the other hand, manifests itself in the way our employees take responsibility for the ideas they contribute. They don’t just drop the ideas. They take ownership of what they propose.

From the maturity and business experience of the j-labs team

Such attitude wouldn’t be possible if not for the business experience of j-labs employees (8 years on average). They are developers and architects who know how to define the scope of tasks and responsibly bring them to completion. Proactivity and courage would not be possible if team members were not self-aware of their abilities as specialists. 

From the ability to integrate with the client’s team

If needed, the j-labs team adapts to the client’s work model – from the working hours, method of conducting meetings and reporting, to the language and areas of development the company emphasizes. It fosters a sense of community and long-term collaboration. 

What does this way of working offer to a client?

Continuous delivery

We assume working in 2-week sprints. At the end of each sprint, we deliver a new value, complete a task, e.g., implement a given portion of a code. It means we develop a project continuously. There is no downtime. In relationships with clients, we use Agile to talk about the results. And those results bring us closer to achieving the project goal.

The ability to adapt project requirements to the business environment

One of the agile principles is close communication between teams. During a project, we become one team with a client’s team. We meet regularly for sprint reviews, retrospectives, and planning. It creates space for adjusting requirements to current needs. We don’t focus strictly on the scope defined in the contract, but we adapt to the situation.

A flexible partner who adapts to the accepted way of working 

At j-labs, we do not change our clients’ approach by force but adapt to it. If there is no need for us to adapt to the client’s way of working, we organize it ourselves. It is possible thanks to our experience and expertise, as well as the previously mentioned seniority and accountability of our employees. 

There is room for a waterfall model too

Are there projects where a waterfall is a legitimate approach? Absolutely. It is important for us to plan two weeks ahead. However, if a project requires it and there is a person acting as a product owner, business analyst, or project manager, we are ready to work in a waterfall model. 

After all, adapting to the situation and requirements of the environment is also part of Agile. In our opinion, this type of approach works well in the short-term, e.g., 3-month projects or continuous development projects where the work is planned for the next few years.

4min read

IT Outsourcing according to j-labs – 4 models of cooperation

#Team Extension #Agile Project Outsourcing #Custom Development
outsourcing body leasing

Team Extension and Dedicated Development Team mean outsourcing services, specific roles, and competencies. However, these terms may be ambiguous – after all, they do not say who will be managing a given employee or team, assigning them tasks, or verifying work. That’s why we decided to describe 4 models of cooperation with j-labs – Agile Project Outsourcing, Custom Development, Dedicated Development Team, and Team Extension – and explain what the day-to-day collaboration under each model looks like.

Agile Project Outsourcing

We take on a complete project, a solution to a specific business problem. From start to finish, all tasks are carried out by an experienced team of j-labs engineers according to the principles of the agile methodology. 

It is crucial that the team becomes an element of the client’s organization, integrates with it, adapts its communication style, and fits in other teams’ rhythms. At the same time, our project team collects client requirements, proposes architecture and technology. It agrees with the client on the timeframe, pricing model and results. It plans tasks and selects people to carry them out.

Custom Development

It is a possible solution when a client trusts our expertise and approaches us with an IT challenge of the whole organization. With our expertise and the important role of the Delivery Manager in the process, we help the client prioritize the work, we advise and cooperate closely with business. In this arrangement, we are the strategic technology partner. We support the client in planning, budgeting, and mapping the project funnel. We listen and propose solutions matching the client’s needs.

But what is the difference between Custom Development and Agile Project Outsourcing? In the case of CD, the collaboration with a client and blend with its organization is tighter. In Agile Project Outsourcing, the j-labs team is exclusively responsible for the outcome.

Dedicated Development Team

We provide a client with a team of specialists, sometimes with a leader, sometimes without. In most cases – the client is responsible for management. The team is independent and self-organizing, has all the necessary roles and competences. Depending on the client’s needs, time of cooperation and trust, this service can evolve into Custom Development. j-labs then becomes a client’s strategic technology partner.

Team Extension

This model is widely known as body leasing, staff augmentation or people outsourcing. Companies decide on this service when their permanent teams need additional support, either in the form of additional specialists or competencies. In most cases, j-labs specialists offer skills that are beyond the capabilities of a company’s current employees. A j-labs employee becomes a member of the client’s team. Clients are the one supervising, leading, and managing them.

We offer Team Extension service in remote version or onsite. In the latter model, our employee works in the client’s office, which means the offer is addressed to companies on the Polish market only. 

In the case of all four cooperation models, we regularly collect feedback from both clients and our employees to assess their satisfaction and introduce possible improvements. 

Summary

Outsourcing of IT services at j-labs may take various forms. We are filling skill gaps that allow businesses to hire top-level specialists for short- or long-term projects. We help clients who are interested in long-term cooperation because their projects require a significant volume of work. In most cases, we become as time goes on a strategic technology partner.

4min read

Nearshore vs. offshore outsourcing – what to choose?

#nearshore outsourcing #offshore outsourcing
nearshore vs offshore

What you will learn from this blogpost:

– What’s the difference between nearshore and offshore outsourcing?

– What to take into account while comparing nearshore vs. offshore outsourcing?

– Who can benefit from nearshore and offshore outsourcing?

Nearshore vs. offshore definition

Nearshore outsourcing refers to outsourcing to countries situated close to your location. Nearshore features include the same time zone or a few hours (1-2) time difference and a distance that can be covered in a few hours.

Offshore outsourcing refers to working with suppliers in remote countries where the differences between time zones are significant. Usually, we talk about offshore while considering outsourcing to partners located on other continents, with up to 8 hours of time difference.

Examples of nearshore vs. offshore outsourcing

Nearshore for DACH countries (D – Germany, A – Austria, and CH – Switzerland) would mean vendors from a.i. Poland, Ukraine, and Romania. Offshore would be outsourcing to a.i. Vietnam, China, India, Argentina, Brazil, Chile.

In the case of North America (USA, Canada), nearshore means companies from a.i. Mexico, Costa Rica, and offshore could be Poland, Ukraine, China, etc.

Factors to consider when choosing between nearshore and offshore outsourcing

We prepared a complete list of factors to take into account when comparing IT outsourcing for near-  and offshore locations. The main factors are:

– time zones,

– wages,

– risk differential (political, economic, financial),

– level of the IT education,

– English proficiency in professional use,

– cultural differences,

– integrity with the local law,

– service quality,

– travelling costs,

– work methodologies,

– technological compatibility,

– quality and regularity of documentation,

– stability of the currency,

– people retention (churn),

– time of response.

Key factors

While deciding between nearshore vs. offshore, there are a couple of key factors that need to be considered.

First of all, the cultural differences. Diversity is a value in the context of building an inclusive organizational culture and products that meet the needs of various target groups. However, it can influence the efficiency of cooperation. Managed consciously, it can bring added value. On the other hand, undermanaged significant cultural differences may cause chaos.

Legal integrity is rarely considered in the decision-making process. However, as a source of possible risk and a time-consuming issue, it plays an important role and should be carefully thought through. A vendor with experience in a particular market means faster contract processing and safer decisions.

Last but not least – the differences in frameworks, methodologies, tools. Compatibility of workflows means an easy project kick-off, team comfort, and more effective collaboration. Additionally, it also serves to flatten the learning curve.

j-labs: nearshore vs. offshore

In business, every choice is good as long as it’s relevant to the company needs. Both nearshore and offshore outsourcing have their pros and cons. What is crucial is the vendor’s preparedness for cooperation for the nearshore and offshore mode.

As j-labs, we have worked with clients from all over the world since 2008. We know that the decision concerning a vendor is complex. When entering particular markets, we make careful preparations and take specific market needs into account. We are based in Poland and have been working with companies around the globe for years.

Based on many years of experience in nearshore (DACH, Benelux, Scandinavia, etc.) and offshore (North America, Asia, etc.) cooperations, we created high internal standards.

As far as nearshore, we pay much attention to specifics in the agreements that need to adhere to European Union directives and law, agile work methods, and precise documentation. In terms of offshore collaborations, we put a lot of thought into managing asynchronous work, communication standards that include cultural differences, the flexibility of working hours, etc.

4min read

Inventory check performed by a single person in one hour – inventory management system for jewellery giant Bijou Brigitte

#inventory management system #Team Extension
inventory management system

Thousands of hours spent on inventory check, dozens of people involved, and a drop in motivation for employees who do this tedious, repetitive work. We had to stop it! We created a system to conduct product inventory for one of the leaders in the jewellery industry – Bijou Brigitte. What did we achieve? How did the employees’ lives change? Read our case study.

The problem our client approached us with

To begin with, a few words about our client. Bijou Brigitte is a German company recognized as one of the leaders in the jewelry and accessories industry. It has more than 1550 stores in Germany and across Europe, and it employs about 3000 people. Inventory is an annual process in which a company is required to cross-check accounting data with the actual stock. 

This process is usually lengthy and involves many repetitive tasks. Therefore, it is not something that employees take on with joy. Concerned about their employees and team motivation, Bijou Brigitte decided to solve this problem. 

And there was a lot to be changed. Bijou Brigitte’s product range includes about 10,000 items in each store, so they wanted to make the company’s inventory process easier and faster. 

The inventory management system we developed 

As always, we started the project by establishing the clients’ needs and defining a common goal. The next step was to build a dedicated team that included j-labs’s engineers and a Delivery Manager. Importantly, the same people were involved in discussions with the client from the beginning. The other part of the team were Bijou Brigitte’s employees and a Product Owner.

We worked in the Team Extension model.
Our goal was to deliver an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) for further testing, i.e., an inventory management system based on Android.  

Until then, the inventory had been carried out by the store employees. Manual work is always associated with a high risk of error. 

To speed up the work and avoid errors, we created an application (in the form of MVP) based on Android. The store assistants received tablets with the application. This allowed for an automated process of transferring product data. Product data is cataloged automatically and managers can analyze the actual stock in real-time.

What did we achieve? The result of the inventory management system implementation

The result of the introduced changes was amazing. We reduced the time spent on inventory by 97%. What does this mean? It means that the employees gained time for more creative activities. 

We ran a simple simulation. The minimum wage in Germany is 9.60 EUR. Assuming you need about 5 people to work for 6 hours, the cost of an inventory check is 288 EUR. Compare this to a cost of an inventory carried out using our management system, which takes 1 hour – only 9.60 EUR. A saving of 97%!

Who benefits most from an inventory management system?

It’s not only the jewelry industry that has to conduct a warehouse inventory each year. It also applies to industries such as food, electronics, clothing, furniture, and automotive. It is worth using a dedicated solution that saves time and money and increases employee satisfaction at the same time.
 

Would you like to know more about a possible solution for your business? Let’s talk >>

3min read

How to choose the best nearshoring service provider in IT?

#teambuilding #nearshoring #ITProvider #Tips&Tricks

Outsourcing services in the IT industry are gaining popularity. The solution has many advantages and is, above all, economical. It reduces time and costs related to the recruitment and creation of a dedicated department. However, the selection process itself can be time-consuming, but we can help you save time. 

In this article, we explain:

🚀 how important it is to set priorities in the entire process,
🚀 why communication with nearshoring partners is important,
🚀 what tools help automate the selection process.

Let’s start from scratch – defining needs and expectations

Before you start looking for an IT service provider, it is worth asking yourself a few questions to identify the needs and expectations of a potential IT subcontractor. Let’s establish the criteria for selecting a potential nearshoring partner.
Let’s get started!

When should you decide on nearshoring?

You have landed a massive, advanced project that requires an experienced IT team. You have six months for execution. Your specialists have their hands full. What you need is a nearshoring partner. You want the work culture, the language of communication, and the time zone of the service provider to be compatible with yours. 

Criteria for choosing the best IT partner

Company size

The first important selection criterion is the verification of a potential IT subcontractor based on the size of a company and years in business. It will give you insight into the company’s stability as well as its solvency.

j-labs ground is very stable – we have been operating in the field of body leasing for over 13 years! Currently, j-labs has two offices in Poland (Kraków and Warsaw)
and a rapidly developing branch in Munich. We already have 400+ qualified employees on board. Our ambitions are growing year by year. We are saying it not to boast but to raise awareness. It is important to know about the financial situation of your outsourcing partner, especially in a pandemic. 

Experience of a nearshoring team in the IT industry

A crucial factor you want to check is the company’s experience in outsourcing and its project portfolio.  

We develop case studies for most completed projects, for example:

🚀 Cert4Trust – enabling validation of a digital document in terms of issuer, content, and validity in an easy, fast and unambiguous way

🚀 B2C Ordering Platform – development of a comprehensive e-commerce platform enabling a customer to buy and receive an order on the same day

j-labs hires highly skilled developers with an average experience of 8 years. We are ambitious, and we bet on real experts. We support renowned corporations from all over the world – Samsung, PWC, Comarch, to name just a few. Our Delivery Manager analyses the needs and assembles a dedicated development team or selects engineers to support a client’s team. 

We provide world-class outsourcing services. j-labs is recommended as an excellent IT partner on the Clutch website: https://clutch.co/profile/j-labs-software-specialists

Experience and commitment are most important to us and we want to work with like-minded professionals. You probably do too. 

Talent pool – what matters to us is the passion for acquiring knowledge

If you were to choose between IT experts who continuously extend knowledge and IT employees who have simply worked for years and never evolved, who would you choose? The answer is simple. When looking for the right nearshoring partner, you should definitely determine whether the team presents the highest level of skills or the so-called “book knowledge”. 

How to check if a company actually keeps its knowledge up-to-date? Just look at the company’s social media or website. Do they share information about educational initiatives? As j-labs, we are happy to write about our talent pool.

We believe in continuous knowledge development. We have created an internal knowledge transfer initiative, TALK4DEVS, to share interesting examples of case studies. However, we quickly went beyond the company framework with TALK4DEVS – it turned into a cyclical industry event attended by 1000 people each year. We host internationally recognized speakers.  You can find the recording of an exemplary case study presentation here.

Verify your subcontractors to see if they are up to date with knowledge and skills. It is better to spend more time on this in the process of searching for a nearshoring company than to repent later for hiring a team with poor knowledge and no passion.

Work culture – openness matters

When looking for an ideal IT subcontractor, apart from experience, issues such as openness to people and similar work culture are of great importance. You need to like each other. 

Companies choose nearshoring teams based on cultural proximity and time zone to avoid language barriers and differences in working hours.

At j-labs, we hire people with different characters, but what distinguishes us is high interpersonal skills. We are assertive and care about internal relations. 

When working on an important project, you do not want to waste time on communication problems, so pay attention to this aspect when selecting a partner.

Outsourcing – tools that help automate the selection of the best nearshoring partner

Having conducted an internal analysis of resources, needs, and expectations, you can move on to choosing the best IT service provider.

In this case, we encourage you to use tools for assessing the security of provided services based on:

🚀 Accreditation

🚀 GDPR

🚀 Information Security

🚀 Security controls

🚀 Data Governance

🚀 Security Audits

Using the JUSTROCKET tools, you can set criteria such as experience, specialization, and project duration to create a cost estimate for the outsourcing service.

With all this information, you will establish cooperation with the best nearshoring partner.  Good luck!

4min read

From leasing bodies to solving bottlenecks

#body leasing #outsourcing partner #technology partner
body leasing

Capacity and alignment. These are the key ingredients for scaling IT operations to meet business needs. If you’ve used body leasing, you probably understand that capacity and alignment can be the opposing forces. The more contractors you have, the more energy you spend on alignment. It is most visible when a significant change occurs and managing IT operations becomes tiresome and ineffective. And it could be a signal that you are missing a technology partner.

IT outsourcing – lacking capacity or alignment?

Increasing capacity without caring for alignment is the reason why IT outsourcing has a reputation of quickly delivering wrong things. Outsourcing IT operations helps you avoid this problem and get a technology partner that focuses on bottlenecks and understands your business challenges. In short, a good technology partner will ensure alignment.

It is not only about figuring out how to manage the organizational complexity. The question that may convince you to look beyond body leasing is this: you’re building the things right, but are you building the right things?

IT services: bringing industry experience

A technology partner brings industry experience and best practices to the table. A technology partner understands your problems and doesn’t just ship potential solutions. Think about it like this: every feature request should be linked to a user story behind it because there may be a better way to address it. Similarly, everything you want to build should be looked at through the lens of a problem you want to solve.

That’s what an experienced technology partner is for – identifying and solving bottlenecks to streamline IT operations and not just produce what they are asked for. At the start of every relationship with a client, we always ask about your technological and operational challenges. We often discover that we can make an immediate impact, for instance, by solving an integration issue.

IT outsourcing benefits: agile adaptation to change

You may have already been working on increasing alignment between your internal and external teams. You may have been analyzing development flow, communicating shared objectives, and introducing shared procedures. Those are the prerequisites for outsourcing some of your IT operations. However, that alignment has to be worked on continuously. Change, either from the business or the technology side of things, will happen and disrupt the previously effective processes.

In such circumstances it’s most visible how having a technology partner can ensure the long-term success of IT operations. It is the alignment that allows for nimble changes and better navigation in a current fast-paced environment.

Every project with j-labs has its dedicated delivery manager, a technical professional who ensures smooth communication, and – as the title suggests – on-time delivery. It is one of many ways we make sure j-labs is a true technology partner, taking on accountability and striving towards shared goals.

How to succeed at introducing a technology partner

Starting a relationship with a technology partner should not be a strain on organizational processes. That’s why we recommend you start the outsourcing with those 3 strategies in mind:

1. Start small

It is best to start with only a handful of specialists. This will allow them to understand the challenges and give you time to learn how to effectively cooperate with an extended team.

In our experience the first phase of the outsourced work should focus on addressing one main issue, along which a project documentation and information flow will be established. Only then the scope can be gradually increased, ensuring a smooth transition. This will not only save you money, but also reduce risk at the same time.

At j-labs we’re committed to agile ways of working. We don’t mean agile frameworks, methodologies or tools. We mean collaborative practices of self-organizing. Cross-functional teams focused on their end users. Flexible responses to changes in requirements, capacity, and user stories. We start small, so we can go far.

2. Discuss the scope with your stakeholders

A technology partner can bring industry experience, provide you with best practices, and suggest valuable improvements in time to market and customer experience. However, if you hesitate to share the larger picture for reasons such as protecting intellectual property, then your outsourced team will be only solving software bottlenecks.

3. Iterate on communication with your technology partner

With actual work being outsourced, your key responsibility becomes communication that ensures everyone stays in the loop. Regularly reflect on what works well and what doesn’t, and the long-standing relationship will deliver outstanding returns.

The support you will receive, advice you will implement and alignment you will achieve are so much worth it. 

IT outsourcing case study – the way we do it

Let’s say you seek high alignment, value industry experience, and strongly prefer an agile mindset. Sounds great. However, how do you implement these preferences into your project scope?

It may help to look at our case studies, and read about the deliverables, challenges, solutions and technology stacks we used in past projects. Read more here.

And if you want to discuss it further, don’t hesitate to contact us.

8min read

How to build an IT outsourcing company with almost 400 developers? The story of j-labs software specialists

#IT outsourcing #success story #j-labs history

Every great company had its humble beginnings. How did a company with no external funding manage to achieve revenue of over €20,000,000 in 2020?

The history of j-labs dates back to 2008 when Piotr Bucki and Jan Orzechowski started a company that currently employs over 370 engineers. Despite our young age, we have been distinguished for our achievements and recognized as one of the fastest-growing technology companies. We have been listed in the prestigious Financial Times, Statista, Forbes, FT1000, and Business Gazelle rankings.

In this article you will learn:

  • how j-labs has become one of the fastest-growing IT outsourcing companies in Poland 
  • how we have changed over the years – we will explore the milestones in j-labs development and tour success story
  • about our fundamental values and initiatives that make us stand out in the market

What is j-labs and what do we do?

We are a Polish technology company offering services in the field of outsourcing IT specialists and entire programming teams to work on-site or from j-labs office, and  IT projects outsourcing. With over 370 highly qualified engineers on board, we support businesses by building dedicated software development teams or joint teams with client’s employees.

j-labs engineers have an average of 8 years of experience, which is our differentiator. We attract top programmers who want to work with advanced teams and clients who look for specialized and verified companies. Our clients attest to the quality of j-labs services on the Clutch website.

Over the years, we have worked with more than 44 clients worldwide. Each of the three j-labs divisions supports renowned Polish, German, Scandinavian and American clients, ranging from small businesses to large corporations such as  InPost, Akamai, Samsung, ABB, Comarch, or PwC.

j-labs has three offices. Two of them are in Poland. The oldest division located in Krakow conducts projects for Polish and international clients from sectors such as aviation, banking, telecommunications, and e-commerce. The Krakow team consists of programmers, team leaders, software architects, quality engineers, and analysts.

The office in Warsaw was established in 2015 as a milestone in the expansion in Poland. With experienced engineers willing to share their knowledge,  we have opened the Center of Excellence to improve the competencies of our employees. 

The third office is located in Munich, Germany. It is the fastest-growing j-labs business unit. It is mainly dedicated to foreign markets and provides services all over the world.

“Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions”

j-labs was founded in 2008 by two partners – Piotr Bucki and Jan Orzechowski –  who recognized the potential in offering outsourced IT services. Thirteen years ago, when they were working together on their first large freelance project, Jan Orzechowski was responsible for the management and business analysis, and Piotr Bucki was programming in Java.  When the several-month-long project came to an end, they realized that the number of clients willing to use their services would only grow. In addition, by creating a company that offers IT outsourcing, they wanted to provide stable employment for programmers after completing the client project.

This is how j-labs, a company specializing in IT body leasing, i.e. hiring programmers for specific projects, came to be. The initial business model assumed that j-labs would lease programmers for projects in Java and only in Krakow. 

j-labs CTO, Piotr Bucki, graduated from AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow and has worked in the IT industry since 2000. He started as a Java programmer and wrote over a million lines of code.


He has been developing the company for over ten years. Since 2018, he has run a podcast called “Biznes w IT” where he talks about business from the perspective of a company founder and shares knowledge.

Jan Orzechowski, CEO and co-founder of j-labs, graduated from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. In 1998 he entered the e-commerce industry. He worked as a business analyst, project manager, and a member of the executive staff.
Currently, he is responsible for operations, sales and finances at j-labs. 

How j-labs became one of the fastest-growing IT outsourcing companies in Poland

From the very beginning, j-labs’ business model was based upon the verification of applicants’ technical skills conducted by Piotr and Jan, who had experience in software development. From the clients’ point of view,  being informed about the technical and soft skills of the team members was a big advantage. 

In one of his podcast episodes, Piotr mentions that while working as a contractor he would code all day and then drive to the j-labs office eating his lunch on the way and would usually finish work at 7 or 8 p.m.  Together with his business partner, he was also involved in recruitment. He was responsible for the part related to the technical verification of future employees.

This was not only the beginning of branding activities but also rapid scaling and opening to new technologies and programming languages. For both Peter and Jan, it was a period of many sacrifices. Do you know that beautiful building in the center of Krakow with a huge j-labs logo? It hasn’t always been the headquarters. In the beginning, Piotr and Jan worked from home and didn’t take their salaries for 16 months to be able to pay their employees. They still remember the first payout for Christmas in 2011. Why are we writing about this? To show you that great companies are born in pain, with many sacrifices and doubts. But it is worth it!

The founders’ determination and employees’ commitment meant that j-labs grew rapidly year on year, increasing headcount, client base, and revenue.

How has j-labs changed over the years? 

Timeline:

Part of j-labs’ success is that we have grown organically without external investors. The speed of our business expansion and the high level of specialization has been recognized and awarded on numerous occasions. Thanks to the value-driven actions and strong commitment of all employees, we have been improving financial results and increasing headcount year by year.

How has j-labs changed over the years, and what milestones can be distinguished? 

The milestones in j-labs history:

2008 – founding of the company by Piotr Bucki and Jan Orzechowski

2009 – increased employment to 20 programmers

2010 – creation of j-labs name – “j” as in Java accompanied by the word “labs”

2012 – new .NET specialization, creating a recruitment department

2013 – employment increased to 50 engineers and a recruiter on board

2014 – establishment of the IT Academy where experienced professionals share technical and business knowledge with the IT community; creation of an independent recruitment and administration department

2015 – establishment of a branch office in Warsaw – the first step in the expansion of j-labs operations in Poland

2016 – establishment of Software Development Center in Munich that offers  services mainly to foreign markets; increased employment to 100 engineers

2017 – distinction in Forbes’ Diamonds 2017 list for performance results 

2018 – employment increased to 260 engineers; projects for more than 40 clients; distinction in the 2018 Business Gazelles ranking by Puls Biznesu magazine

2019 –  employment increased to 280 engineers; another distinction in the 2019 Business Gazelles ranking and the FT1000 ranking, which highlights the 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe

2020 – Financial Times and Statista distinctions for being listed in the 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe;  distinction in Forbes Diamonds 2020 list, and the third appearance in the  Business Gazelles 2020 ranking by Puls Biznesu 

2021 – a distinction in Forbes Diamonds 2020 list

j-labs core values ​​and initiatives

We take pride in the values that have guided us since the beginning. We try to emphasize them while cooperating with clients. We base our operations on three main pillars: technology, substance, and reliability. 

Technology means that j-labs engineers demonstrate a high level of technical knowledge, have an average of 8 years experience, and approach all projects with ambition and commitment. 

Substance means that we rely on facts and solid knowledge. We know how to provide comprehensive solutions to problems. We continuously develop our competencies through many internal initiatives.

Reliability means keeping promises and being trustworthy. We leverage the knowledge, experience, and skills of our engineers and approach assigned tasks with the utmost commitment. Reliability is the basis of our actions and relations with clients.

Our motto is “we do good IT, or not at all” which is a perfect representation of j-labs’ approach to work. We are widely recognized in the market and hire more world-class programmers every year to work for the most demanding clients.

We firmly believe that the foundation of the company is the people who build it. We invest in employees and offer participation in internal projects aimed at increasing knowledge and improving skills. Engineers benefit from the focus on continuous development by taking part in multiple educational programs the company offers. As they say themselves, j-labs was created “by engineers, for engineers”. 

In the “Biznes w IT” podcast, Piotr Bucki said that many people supported j-labs in its development. In addition to employees, they were people who simply wished us success. “j-labs is our collective work. We have built this company. As management and owners, we also have a part in it, but without all those people around us, we couldn’t have achieved this much,” says Piotr.

For us, collective successes or failures are natural elements of learning and growing.  The entire j-labs team is proud to have created a workplace where everyone wants to work.

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