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Build-Operate-Transfer: the Transfer stage

Andrew Radcliffe

Co-founder and CEO of Spyrosoft Ltd.

With the Build and Operate stages described in detail in my last post, today I’d like to write more about the final phase of the BOT model: the Transfer stage. By the time you get to this stage, you’ll have the experience of over a year of collaboration with your business partner in the Operate stage and a few months from the Build stage 

Is there anything that you might not expect in this phase? Let’s find out below. 

What is the Transfer Stage? 

Before we do that, I’d like to explain what the Transfer stage is. It is the closing stage of the Build Operate Transfer model where after a thorough review, the teams that were working on your project are now being included in your company. Your vendor’s employees are now employed by you. If everything goes well in the two earlier stages, this stage should be uncomplicated and fairly easy to complete.  

This is also the stage when you look back and analyse the partnership as a whole. What worked out and what didn’t? What are the elements that you’d like to keep moving forward and introduce on a company-wide level as your new employees are joining the existing teams? It’s good practice to reflect on what’s happened and plan for the future in this stage. 

Benefits of the Transfer stage 

Lower talent retention 

For many, lower talent retention may sound not that crucial, but it will be absolutely essential for anyone who has ever run a business in a highly saturated business hub type of environment where employees or even graduates with any type of domain experience are immediately hired by their competitors. This is especially important for businesses in need of IT teams and services as this sector seems to very competitive when it comes to employing new people. Skilled professionals are being approached by HR specialists left and right and they have no problem finding new positions.  

In the BOT model, there’s a tendency to work with offshore companies that are located outside of the main business centres. This means that you can find masterful experts easily and work with them on a remote basis. They may be also less likely to leave your company after the Transfer stage. 

Cohesive processes 

I will explain this in more detail in the next section, but with the BOT model you can ensure that all of your business processes and operations are followed and completed in exactly the same way on both yours and your partner’s side. This is important if you already have all of these in place, but this can also work well for auditing and improving your internal actions, so once the Transfer stage is over, you can move forward as a business with all practices and procedures working flawlessly. 

Effortless onboarding 

One of the factors for rapid business growth is effective onboarding. You may have skilful people ready to work for your company, but the initial stages of their activity within your firm may be lengthy and not useful for getting up to speed with the role. One could say that with BOT in its final stage, the onboarding process is already completeso your ‘new’ hires can jump on additional tasks or just pursue their existing ones in no time. Although they’re now working for a new company, you don’t need to onboard them in a way. They already know what your operational style is like and most likely, who they get to collaborate with.  

Who will the Transfer phase suit? 

As I mentioned in my last blog post on BOT, you can go through each of its stages separately although they are designed to be followed incrementally.  

I would argue though that the Transfer stage is ideal for any company that has company culture, business and operational processes well established as it necessitates you to be precise and clear in what you are trying to achieve with your BOT partnership. This, for multiple reasons may be easier for larger companies where a new team can blend in almost effortlessly, but that does not mean that the model would not work for smaller businesses that are looking for ways to grow quickly without hiring new people directly and testing new ideas first. 

Even after you decide to follow through with this model, you need to have an explicit goal in mind about what the collaboration will help you gain and about what will happen afterwards.  

How it works in practice 

Please note that the Transfer stage takes place when both sides of the partnership are ready for it. What it means in practice is that for some companies, it may happen after a 6 – 8 months into the collaboration, and for others, the process may be longer and take even 2+ years to complete. The key here is reviewing the maturity of the collaboration. That means that once all team members, tools and process are embedded, you can start thinking and planning for how to move to this final stage. 

Generally, there are two ways your company can go about this stage of the BOT model.  

One option is to transfer the employees and merge the group with the rest of the teams. If your main office is in a different country, you can either encourage your new team to move there  or allow for remote work with a coworking office available for anyone who’d like to work outside of their home.  

Another option is to set up subsidiary with your new employees and then turn your main company into a group where both businesses can operate equally. Again, this choice will be perhaps better for companies that are located outside of their BOT partner’s country.  

Of course, for both options, you will be the person responsible for managing any future operations and internal transfers with your business partner removed completely from the process. 

Wrapping up 

As this series ends, I would like to once again mention that from my perspective, the Build Operate Transfer model is the future of work. With new hire shortages in an increasing number of locations and the remote work model becoming the standard, it seems like the perfect partnership framework that allows companies to collaborate on a long-term basis. Valuable development resources of any kind can be acquired from anywhere. This will help you ensure that your business is not limited by the lack of talent or by your organisational abilities. 

If you’d like to discuss any of the BOT stages or the business challenges modern companies face right now, let’s connect on LinkedIn to discuss it.