Developer Tools & Open Source

Accelerance Plays Matchmaker for Companies Seeking Developers

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  July 27, 2016

It’s said that every company today is a digital company. And, as anyone reading this probably already knows, IT teams are overtaxed in light of their having to maintain existing communications and network resources while at the same time address new DevOps initiatives. So, increasingly, businesses are looking to outsource software development. But finding the right software development outsourcing partner can sometimes be a challenge. So Accelerance can help match companies looking to outsource their projects to software development firms around the world. Accelerance has a network of developer partners in South America and Eastern Europe, which the company notes is a change of pace from the usual outsourcing countries like India and China.

INTERNET TELEPHONY recently spoke with Steve Mezak, founder and CEO, and Andy Hilliard, president, of Accelerance to learn more.

Tell us more about Accelerance and what it does relative to software development.

Hilliard: Accelerance isn’t actually responsible for the software development – it helps small and medium sized companies struggling to hire software developers in today’s very constrained job market by matching them with deeply vetted software service companies around the world –think eHarmony for companies looking for their development partner match. These globally disbursed software service companies, or partners as we refer to them, have between 50 to 1,500 software developers. They do at least 70 percent of their work directly for the North American and Western European market. We like to think of them as large enough to scale yet small enough to care. And their clients are independent software vendors and software-enabled product companies that need a team, usually as a long-term extension of their own development team, consisting of between five and 100 developers. Engagements of this size are too small for the huge outsourcing vendors where headcount is often more important than engineering.

Why do companies choose Accelerance?

Hilliard: Clients tell us that it usually takes them between four to six months to carefully evaluate software outsourcing companies around the world. Even if you ask a colleague for a referral, it assumes that colleague’s project, technical, and business needs are similar to yours – suggesting a similar, positive outcome. This is rarely, if ever, the case. Each colleague you ask ultimately has one data point. Instead, we are the colleague with 10,000 data points! Our recommendations and referrals are based upon an individual client’s requirements, experiences, and preferences. From start to finish, the vetting process is free.

Who is Accelerance? Who are your people, and what are their backgrounds?

Mezak: With over 20 years in the IT industry, I’m a technical entrepreneur and internationally recognized outsourcing expert and speaker. Throughout my career, I have guided hundreds of IT executives through the strategic advantages of outsourcing their software development needs. I reside in Silicon Valley and Andy is in Charlotte, N.C. Accelerance also has offices in New York, Chicago and Phoenix.

Hilliard: I am an IT industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience, and 15 of those years being in global software service outsourcing. I’ve worked around the world with the smallest to the largest global software service development organizations to adapt and bring their services to Western markets.

What trends are you seeing in the software development space?

Mezak: There is recent interest in machine learning and Internet of Things applications. Also, many clients are using a DevOps approach where the deployment and the development of the software is also the responsibility of the outsourced team. In programming languages, Javascript, e.g., Node.js and Angular.js, are in great demand and areas where development service organizations are scrambling to train and recruit talent. Agile (News - Alert) development and the need for Scrum certification continues to evolve with clients and their development partners investing more in advanced collaboration tools and techniques. Frequent employees’ exchanges are often common, all in an effort to blur and throw away historical barriers of becoming truly blended partners. Finally, we’re starting to see the recognition that global software outsourcing can work extremely well when you select the right company, in just about any place on the planet.

What are customers asking for?

Hilliard: Of course, all clients want a partner that has successfully developed software apps using the same technology for other like-minded clients. In addition, about five years ago, most clients started asking for a near-shore partner that shares a significant overlap of working hours to facilitate collaborative agile development. This time zone overlap helps to foster collaboration and this concept has been extended to cultural overlap where clients are looking for partners who share a common business platform of mores, values, interests, demographics, infrastructure, and more.

What are the most popular software development tools you’re using?

Mezak: Jira and other tools from Atlassian continue to be popular for agile development. Github is popular for source code control, Nginx for Jenkins for continuous integration, Docker, Nginx and Chef for micro services and DevOps. Developing software is a collaborative people-oriented process, and video calls with Skype (News - Alert) or similar tools are critical for successful communication along with an airplane for periodic face-to-face visits.

How does Accelerance help companies in their digital transformations?

Hilliard: Most companies, even ISVs, should not be trying to develop software totally by themselves. It takes a great deal of responsibility and experience to create the right kind of environment and culture that will attract and keep developers working and innovative. Accelerance helps these companies take advantage of true outsourcing – hiring a company that provides a service at a superior level of expertise and lower cost compared to what you can do on your own. Accelerance certifies software outsourcing companies that provide this level of superior service and expertise. By owning the product’s vision, IP, sales, and marketing functions, companies end up focusing more of their investable time, effort and money on their essential reason for being. They often find themselves leveraging a better, faster and more cost effective software development partner to do what they exist to do so well.

What typically drives your customers to outsource software development?

Hilliard: The driver today is the shortage of developers compared to the demand. A recent client in Silicon Valley said the average time it takes to hire a developer has gone from 25 to 50 days, which was drastically inhibiting the growth of their business. A client in a smaller market, Kansas City, said there was one good developer for every 17 open positions in the market. Secondary reasons are the ability to scale rapidly up (or down), cost savings, and the need to find specific skills in low supply but high demand.

Edited by Alicia Young