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The Nearshore Definition: Relocating Jobs to Talent

#Nearshore Software Development

Every week brings another raft of headlines about the skills crisis in the global tech sector. Companies from the US west coast to London, are all grappling with the same questions on what is the best way to hire software developers in today’s market. Should we hire inhouse, build nearshore development teams or offshore projects to outsourcing copmanies?

For US-based multinationals, the possibility of immigration reform — including new restrictions on the H-1B visa system — makes the issue even more critical. These companies need to think creatively, and fast.

Offshore outsourcing continues to be an option for many global tech companies who, according to the Deloitte 2016 outsourcing survey, no longer view it “as a simple cost-cutting play”.

But for work that requires deep knowledge, greater innovation, more autonomy, a greater degree of security or a specific skillset — such as cloud-based infrastructure expertise – the experience is often less satisfactory. The Deloitte survey found that, although companies increasingly expect innovation as part of their outsourcing arrangement, they “still struggle to define, track, and motivate innovation from their service providers”.

And for smaller companies, for whom a cohesive culture, optimum communication between teams, and a unified approach to projects is so important, outsourcing projects to a remote services provider in a distant location is simply too great a risk. Therefore, Nearshore software development is on the rise as a more sustainable form of collaboration in software outsourcing.


Nearshoring Definition

Nearshore outsourcing is a software product development model where some or all of the work is delegated to remote teams based in a nearby country and in a similar time zone. This approach combines cost-effectiveness and shorter travel time with the additional benefits of cultural and geographic proximity.


Widening the Nearshore Definition

Traditionally, nearshoring has meant a company sub-contracting part of its work to an external company, usually operating in the same time zone, in a country with similar financial and legal constraints.

At Zartis, we believe it’s time to widen the nearshore definition.

Nearshoring for us means extending your team in a more integrated, cohesive way, without sacrificing its culture or approach to work. Instead of relocating people to jobs, it means relocating jobs to people, and creating an extension of your team that just happens to be in another geographic location. Our outsourced teams at Zartis are called Dedicated Development Teams, because their whole time and attention is dedicated to the success of your software projects.

Nearshore outsourcing can reduce your cost base, but it isn’t just about reducing costs: primarily, it’s about extending the available pool of tech talent, without compromising on the quality of the software developers you hire, your team’s cultural fit, your ability to manage your people, your approach to risk and security or the value you put on things like risk and innovation.

Europe’s Nearshore Opportunity

For companies looking for the first time to extend their teams beyond the US, Europe presents a great opportunity.

We recently helped Valant, a Seattle-based leading provider of cloud-based technology for the healthcare sector, establish a nearshore project in Spain comprising twelve software engineers–a process that took just eight weeks from start to finish. (Read more about how the project went from the perspective of Valant CTO Ryan Donahue here).


Why Set up a Nearshore team in Madrid?

That’s easy. Software talent in the city is widely available and highly skilled, costs are comparatively low, and Spanish software engineers enjoy working for US and UK companies, which typically prize tech talent. The barriers to hiring and setting up are low. Our Chief Operating Officer Padraig Coffey has broken the eight week process down, step-by-step.

Simply, you can hire great software engineers and better people more easily and more quickly than you can in London, New York or Valant’s home city of Seattle. And that’s not just our view – Amazon is the most highly profile recent company to choose Madrid as the location for its Southern European tech hub, citing the “overall quality of Spanish engineers” as the main attraction.

The culture and way of working in Madrid is similar to that of many US organisations — because so many software engineers there have experience working for multinationals. During the recession, many of Spain’s best developers left, moving north in search of better opportunities. By now, a large proportion have returned – or are ready to make the move home – and they’re coming back armed with an extensive skillset, better English and a more international outlook. So when we were helping Valant build its team, we specifically looked for engineers with experience working for US or UK companies.

The other advantage of nearshoring in Madrid is the loyalty and longevity of software engineers. Spanish companies tend not to prize tech teams highly, so if you treat your people well, and appropriately value their work, the attrition rate is low. And there’s a cost saving – it’s not on a par with what you could expect through outsourcing to India, say, but what you gain is a talented and committed group of highly trained engineers, who will look on themselves as not a separate entity, but an extension of your team at home, and will share you approach to things like performance, innovation, security and risk. 

The US-based organisations we work with sometimes initially have concerns about what the time difference might mean for their productivity: we tell them that that are enormous advantages to being able to extend the working day to 15 or 16 hours. (And we usually hear back from them later that we were right.) And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that Madrid is a beautiful, safe city, which is easy to get to and fun to visit.

Zartis started life as a tech company, so our perspective around building a nearshore team is much more aligned to the thought process of a CTO or VP of Engineering. We understand the difficulties you face in hiring the best software engineers. More importantly, we see the opportunity. Setting up a nearshore team – whether it’s in Madrid, Berlin, or Krakow — is not without challenges, but for companies prepared to take the risk, the rewards can be considerable.


Zartis has deep expertise in large-scale software and nearshoring projects across different European locations, serving clients in the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Spain. One of our key competencies is helping companies hire entire new teams of software engineers, ranging in size from two to a hundred.

Get in touch link to find out how Zartis can help you build a nearshore team in Europe.

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