by Don Tennant.
It’s always been something of a conundrum. Plenty of midsize companies would certainly value being able to take advantage of software development resources that have emerged all over the world, but they simply lack the global footprint or resources of the Fortune 500 companies that have created the market for global outsourcing. However, it seems that conundrum may be a thing of the past.
A key change agent appears to be Accelerance, a global software development outsourcing services provider in Redwood City, Calif., that has created a global network of software development teams to work with SMBs. I recently had a fascinating conversation with Accelerance CEO Steve Mezak, and the company’s president, Andy Hilliard, and I got a first-hand account of how it all started. Mezak took me back to when he was working with a software development company in St. Petersburg, Russia:
In the early 2000s, I started looking at these other [software development] companies, and realized that some of them were good, but not all of them; and that the challenge my clients had in looking at using my firm, was that it was a very crowded market, which made it very difficult for them to decide who to choose. So I thought, let’s go out into the world and find great companies and vet them and make sure that they’re good, and then offer a variety of services to clients.That’s the basic idea of the company—the basic value proposition: Do that for free, and then the offshore companies pay us a referral fee and get deals out of it. Because they suffer from the same problem, trying to get heard above the noise. That was the genesis of it—we started with a company in India, and then Argentina, and then Costa Rica, where I met Andy. And it went on from there.
For his part, Hilliard explained that he and Mezak became business partners in 2010, but that they had known each other and worked together since 2003:
In 2003 I had founded a company in Costa Rica to provide software services. Steve’s genesis of the idea to find great companies around the world that are specialists in certain types of software development, and that have certain attributes that would appeal to the U.S. market, addressed the same problem that we were having. We were in Costa Rica, we had good quality for the American market, but we were actually very specialized in technology—Microsoft technologies, for example.
So I had the problem that a lot of people liked certain qualities that we had, but they really needed other qualities, as well, and we weren’t able to service them. So the perfect solution would be Steve’s greater idea of finding similar types of partners that are stable and are good development centers that can serve the U.S. market and that have slightly different qualities, whether it’s time zone or price points or technology focus. They all have certain good, standard qualities in delivering to the target U.S. market, but they were all different in their own ways.
So just how do Mezak and Hilliard go about finding these great companies around the world? Mezak indicated there’s nothing magic about it—just a lot of hard work: