Business Success Nowadays Depends Heavily on Online Presence – Interview with Code Inspiration
Techreviewer spoke with Code Inspiration, web and mobile development company from Belarus. The interview is a part of a series on web development. Learn more about Code Inspiration on their Techreviewer profile.
Please, introduce yourself and your company. What does your company specialize in?
Code Inspiration is a software development and consulting company. We have been working since 2012. We do our best to be a long-term partner for clients, offering consulting and software development services, dedicated development teams, developing products from scratch to launch and post-launch for startups and large companies. The company has multiple awards. Among the recent are:
- Best Software Development Consultancy – Eastern Europe, European Enterprise Awards 2020
- Top Belarus IT Consulting Company 2021 – by Clutch.co
- Top Web Development Company – by SelectedFirms.co and multiple other awards.
Who is your ideal client?
The one who knows the target business niche well, knows competitors, has perfect communication skills and who is ready to go till the end, goal-oriented is an ideal client. The thing is that there are some pitfalls in software development. These pitfalls are possible to overcome due to constant persistence both on the part of the client and on the part of the team and, as a result, deliver the project and make it successful.
What industries, regions or types of businesses are you focusing on?
Regarding industries, we develop web, mobile and complex apps in the niches of social networks, business automation, fintech, travel, food tech, entertainment etc. for both startups and large companies. Client’s region is not important for us, client's understanding of business model, business goals matters, and we will help and consult how to implement it from the technical side in the best way.
What makes you different from competitors? What are your main competitive advantages?
We have an approach to work that differs from other software development and consulting companies. At Code Inspiration, we are not aimed at earning on software development, we are aimed at making the business of customers grow and to grow together with them.
What is your company’s core business model – outsourcing or outstuffing? Do you work with subcontractors?
Being an outsourcing company we offer turnkey software development, offer experienced specialists who can work in a client’s team or form a dedicated team that will work on a client’s product exclusively.
We decided not to work with subcontractors after some experience. The thing is that we cannot be fully confident in their work. As practice shows, the overall teams’ performance is better when people who are on the staff, work full-time in the office, instead of coordinating subcontractors’ who usually work part-time and temporary.
Why do you think such a model brings additional value to your business and your clients?
We would say that, probably not exactly our outsourcing model brings value to our clients… And our approach really brings value because we are serious about the choice of professionals: all of them are specialists with the higher education, who understand team values, hard-working and goal-oriented. The approach works both when we develop a project on our own or our developer is assigned to work in a client’s team, because our specialists always work for the good of the project and customer’s business.
How has COVID-19 affected your company? How has it changed your processes? What challenges has the pandemic added to you and your team daily work?
Even though strict lockdown was not applied here in Belarus; we have applied a set of measures to mitigate pandemic risks. Anyway, top management realized that there is a great challenge: to transfer the company to remote work as well as to maintain work schedule and development plans. So, the task of management was to organize remote work of our employees properly, as well as to proceed moving agile with daily meetings and other best practices online. Here are the basic principles of remote work we apply:
- Daily morning calls instead of office stand-ups.
- Daily and weekly plans of remote work.
- Shift to flexible schedule.
- Daily and weekly work reports.
One more aspect is that many companies were reducing staff and good specialists appeared on the market, so we decided to add some valuable specialists to our team. As some positions are of a very high demand in IT industry, in ordinary situation it is very hard to hire them and especially to negotiate about the conditions and their salary expectations. However, during the Covid crisis it appeared to be definitely easier to onboard good qualified employees for reasonable salary expectations.
We would also like to share that not all the developers showed their best human and professional qualities after transfer to remote work. Contracts with such employees were not prolonged. So, the thing is that crisis times demonstrated well “who is who”.
How has the pandemic affected your clients?
We can divide our clients affected by the pandemic and lockdown into 2 groups. Some clients, especially those who ordered travel apps development, finished their projects because, in fact, their target market was closed. Another group of clients, mainly those whose business operates online, carried out a series of discussions with us and changed a significant part of development plans. The thing is that they decided not to stop development processes because otherwise they would lose clients, market share and so on. Thus, since the beginning of the pandemic and lockdown we have been working successfully with such clients.
Surely, for some clients we discussed again the scope of agreements, provided them with more flexibility, made special offers, according to which they could pay for our services in one month.
Has COVID-19 influenced your marketing strategies? What are the main channels you use to promote your services now?
Yes, COVID pandemic and lockdown influenced our marketing strategies. When some clients paused their software projects, we decided to use this possibility and started to update our own website, making its design and UX more user-oriented. One more marketing decision triggered by both lockdown and update of our marketing strategy was making videos. In 2020, we created 20+ videos about us and our developed projects which collected more than 5000 views. Taking into account that our videos are industry-specific and not for a broad audience, we suppose this is a good result. We plan to continue making videos, including useful ones, explainer videos and so on. Actually, here is one more aspect of our lockdown–related marketing: we do our best to make more useful content and less promotional one. Following this idea, we have published a software development outsourcing knowledge base recently – a guide that contains articles about software development outsourcing classified by a project’s stages. The Knowledge Base is not just a set of articles written by Code Inspiration team, this is a 100% free of charge aggregator of information related to software development outsourcing.
Regarding channels we use to promote services. The major one is organic search and SEO. For this we:
- Update our website,
- Post blog articles at least twice a week,
- Make useful content,
- Reply to journalists’ requests who sometimes mention our website as a thanks,
- Claim and keep up-to-date our profiles on business aggregators, reviews platforms, catalogs, listing services.
Additionally, sometimes our current clients recommend our development services to their contacts, and they become our clients as well.
Projects & Clients
What are the key factors that you consider when making a project estimation and proposal for a new client? Please, describe your process when you get contacted by a new potential client.
When a potential client addresses us with a software development request, it is important to understand what stage a person is on. Most often the stage is “idea only”. One more case is when a potential client has elaborated requirements to a project and has a complete understanding of needs.
In case of idea, we offer our consulting services. As a result, a person gets low-fi mock-ups, per screen logic description and overall logic description. This service has a fixed price. Having this documents, it is possible to estimate the project in full. What is valuable in this output is that a client can take these documents and request estimations from other software development companies, there is no obligation to continue working with us.
In the second case we provide a potential client with an estimation on the basis of previous projects. It may be estimation for design, for development or general, depending on what exactly is needed.
What are the top challenges you and your team face in the software development process most often and how do you deal with them?
Probably the top challenge is when the product’s business strategy is changed in the middle of development for reasons beyond our control. This causes the necessity to change a development strategy which may be complicated enough. There are aspects that should be applied in the architecture in the beginning. Necessity to change architecture leads to time expenditures and team stress level’s increase. Anyway, Code Inspiration faced this situation many times and is able to deal with it.
What are the criteria for the success of a software development project?
The success of a software development project consists of:
- Strict adherence to Agile methodology,
- Effective management,
- Experienced developers,
- Close contact with a product owner for quick resolution of issues if there are any.
From your experience, what are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?
The single best practice here is a well-functioning product actually. As well as quick response and bug fixing when necessary. This brings good results for the client’s business and, thereafter to the client’s satisfaction.
How do you assess the role of research agencies like Techreviewer in bridging the gap between clients and service providers?
Techreviwer is a great example of an industry-specific business aggregator. In fact, business success nowadays depends heavily on online presence. Business should constantly look for and create profiles on various aggregators, listing services and catalogs to get trust of search engines and reach potential customers. Techreviewer is no doubts among such aggregators where any software development company should get listed.