TrackMan is one of our long-standing business partners and we’ve reached out to Oluf Riddersholm, the former Chief Financial Officer at TrackMan, to tell us about the very beginning of the collaboration.
Why did you consider the nearshore partnership model? Where did the initial idea come from?
TrackMan is producing innovative software for the sports industry and our Danish application team needed more engineers to help its growth. We’d looked into setting up a subsidiary, but we quickly realised that it would probably be too time-consuming and expensive to pursue. Instead, we decided to go with the collaboration model where people from our team would be employed by an external company.
Why did you choose to cooperate with a nearshore company? What type of issues did you need/want to solve?
The main issues we were trying to solve were:
- Limited access to the talent pool in Denmark. There are not enough engineers graduating with a CS degree, and recent graduates require a lot of training,
- Looking to find highly skilled and top-notch quality and services partner outside Denmark
- Cost efficiencies. Hiring people in Poland was cheaper, although that wasn’t the main factor.
How did the cooperation start?
Spyrosoft was chosen using a structured tender process. In the final stage, the team from TrackMan visited 5 companies from Poland. We really liked Konrad [Weiske, CEO at Spyrosoft] and the team, and we also brought in an application developer from Denmark to assess the technical skills. Spyrosoft had exquisite quality engineers and SQL experts with a great attitude.
What was the main reason for using Build Operate Transfer as a cooperation model?
We don’t have any business presence in Poland, so we wanted to avoid going through the registration process. We also didn’t want to set up a branch in Poland. We tried to recruit in Poland, we were able to hire a few developers who were willing to move to Denmark, but it didn’t always work out this way.
We also wanted to have someone hired by TrackMan overseeing the work even if we chose to work with a local outsourcing company. It was important for us to make sure that this external team felt part of the company.
What factors were taken into consideration to choose the partner, and how do you perceive the collaboration with IT experts from Poland?
I’ve spoken about these factors above, but the main factor was definitely the quality and culture. We looked at hiring developers from other countries such as India and Ukraine, but from my perspective, employing people in Poland has a good balance between direct and indirect costs. The thing is that when you’re looking for a software development company, you need to consider not only the direct costs (legal, salaries, cost of living, taxes, etc.), but also about the indirect costs (cultural differences, different communication styles, time zones, etc.).
When we were looking at different companies, we also wanted to collaborate with a business that’s a similar size to ours. We’re a mid-sized company, so we didn’t want to work with a big player where we would be just one of hundreds of clients.
Poland is really close to Denmark, so these indirect costs tend to be lower. People have great English skills, and the developers have experience with working with teams from different European countries and use the same tools as TrackMan engineers. It’s also in the same time zone, so it’s easy to connect or fly in.
What are – from your perspective – the benefits of the Build-Operate-Transfer engagement model? What is the most beneficial result of using it in your opinion?
I would say that the most important benefit is that collaborating with a nearshore company reduces your costs. When we decided to go with Spyrosoft, we sat down with Konrad to analyse different possibilities and partnership models, Build-Operate-Transfer was the most beneficial. What I really liked about this partnership model was also the fact that TrackMan was able to control all the costs, although the spending on Spyrosoft side wasn’t too aggressive either. We really felt that we’re getting a great service for what we were paying. The whole thing was transparent at all times and the responsibilities were set as clearly as possible, with, for example, the recruitment process covered by Spyrosoft in its entirety.
Was there anything that surprised you about the collaboration, i.e. any particularly memorable moments?
I think the most memorable thing from the partnership was how well the teams from Poland and Denmark blended. The Polish team was great, had skills and relevant experience, and we often invited them over to our main headquarters in Denmark. I really enjoyed the social aspect of our collaboration and I know that Ulrich [Landbo, TrackMan’s Head of Team Sports Application] did too.
As the collaboration unfolded, I discovered that both of our companies had slightly different styles of managing people. This created a bit of a tension between us, but we’ve able to resolve it. I realised that the engineers from the Polish team were as invested into Spyrosoft, as they were in TrackMan.
We made multiple visits to the Spyrosoft office in Poland and I was surprised by the fact that while the city itself was really modern, you could also see its industrial past in its architecture and how it is set up.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to find an ideal technological partner?
I would really recommend organising a type of a tender just like we did at TrackMan. Choose 3 – 4 companies and talk with the engineering teams from all of them. Don’t forget about a structured way to assess the technical skills, but also take an in-depth look at how the company treats its current employees, what’s the internal culture and the communication style. With the right approach and after doing your research, I’m sure you’ll do it right and find an ideal business partner.