Craving for some honest, insightful software outsourcing experiences and feedback? For 13 minutes well spent, watch my interview on YouTube with tech entrepreneur Mark Nimco, or read the transcript below — you'll discover how his company Payment Logic became one of Australia’s fastest-growing technology companies (with 148% growth in 3 years!), thanks to the agility, skills, and dedication of their Arcanys resources.
"When we started [with Arcanys], we were processing approximately 200 million dollars of payments each year. Then after three years, we'd grown the software development team from 2 resources to 15, processing just over one billion dollars of payments annually.”
Can you tell me a little bit about what your business is exactly, and what types of services you provide?
Sure, we offer a payments platform that streamlines the payment of all business expenses. Our platform lets businesses earn more reward points, optimize their cash flow, decrease fraud, and increase security.
So you started the business before (we started collaborating in) 2016. How did you get to know us, and engage with us?
Well, before Arcanys, I had led local small software development teams based in Australia. So I’ve been a founder of two software as a service payment-related companies. The first one (Register Now) was focused on sports event registrations, and my current one, Payment Logic, is focused on business payments.
What were your frustrations that triggered you to actually work with Arcanys?
Well, at that time, finding good technical talent in Melbourne was quite difficult. I had advertised for local staff but couldn't find any suitable candidates for just over three months, I think.
“To be honest, the results just blew me away because the team did such a good job in such a small period of time that I really didn't have any choice but to take those staff on, on a full-time basis to set up our first dedicated development team.”
And I think I remember, but correct me if I’m wrong. We were in touch first, and then we kind of failed an initial test... You went on to hire someone locally who left after three months or something like that. And that's when you went back to looking at offshore. You shortlisted three or four companies, to which you gave a proof of concept. And you invited us again. That’s when you started working with us.
Well, that's right. So I mean my original intention wasn't to find a team based in another country. I thought it might be easier to manage a team based in the same physical office. And it was really through a lack of being able to find suitable candidates over that period of time... And yes, we had one false start with a local candidate, who I think got a better job offer after a week.
So out of a little bit of desperation, I thought “Well, maybe we should give a try to a new approach.” And over that course of time, we did consider a few different providers based in the Philippines. I think the Philippines is really a great match for Australia, given the time zone differences. And at that point, I suppose I had some reservations and I wasn't sure how it might work with having a team based in another country. So we did... we agreed on a proof of concept, which from memory was a small project that was meant to take four weeks’ worth of work. And I think it was a team with two or three of your staff.
And to be honest, the results just blew me away because the team did such a good job in such a small period of time that I really didn't have any choice but to take those staff on, on a full-time basis to set up our first dedicated development team.
That's cool! And the funny thing is, I think the guys who kind of failed the initial test were the exact same guys that actually did the proof of concept. Did you know that?
Well yes! At that point, we were doing written exams to test out the developer skills. And I think what that shows is that interview tests are sometimes maybe not the best way of establishing how someone might actually work when they're in the role. And so, while that is very funny, I think it's more valuable to see how people work during that four weeks.
From our experience with you, and then later on with other prospects, is that guys don't necessarily always ace these tests that are not, I would say, the image of what they would have to do in real life… so we just tell them [clients], “Okay… give us a proof of concept or start working with us for about two weeks. And then see how it's going.” So that was learning that we got from you. And so, once you started working with the team, what results did you achieve? What areas of the business improved?
Sure, I mean in the first three years, we grew our payments volume to more than five times the amount before engaging Arcanys. And so that quick growth really is directly related to the outstanding contribution from our dedicated software development team.
That's a big improvement. So why do you think they improved? Because you could hire as many people as you could when you needed them? Or you could hire more people because of the cost maybe? Or maybe a bit of both?
Well yeah, I think it is a combination of both. So firstly, all of our resources come with outstanding technical skills. And they were all ready to contribute positively from the first day that they joined the project. And then, once they joined the project, the cost differential between local resources… We could grow the team roughly twice as quickly as we would have been able to do if we would have hired locally.
“In addition to the great technical skills and the high value, the team comes with an enthusiastic thirst for work and a great culture.”
Besides that—growing the team twice as much with the same budget—What do you think the impact of working with us has been? If there's anything besides that.
Well, I think in addition to the great technical skills and the high value, the team comes with an enthusiastic thirst for work and a great culture. And so part of our success has not only been having the right technical skills but just working really well as a team. And so some of those attributes, I think, come standard across all of our Arcanys resources.
Another question. Why did you pick a dedicated development team and not remote freelancers? We understand why you didn't pick onshore developers because of the cost and maybe the fact that it was difficult to find. But why not freelancers?
Yeah well, I guess for me this is an easy no-brainer question. With a dedicated development team, you can grow them, you can incentivize them, and measure them. Remote freelancers, I think, are useful in some circumstances. But as a business owner, you know, I require someone who can assume responsibility for key outcomes. And for someone on a sort of short-term contract arrangement, generally, that doesn't happen.
We're going to change a bit off-topic. Where did you hear about us first? And what piqued your interest?
The first time I heard about Arcanys was actually in response to a job ad that we placed in Australia. At that point, I wasn't yet thinking I would enter into an arrangement with an outsourcing arrangement based in another country. And I think it was after an initial conversation with you Fred. I was just really impressed with the great culture that I saw and the openness of the founders. And so I thought, “Well, maybe we should give this a try.”
We explained I think, why you did decide to do business with us, after the initial failed test. And your struggles to come back to us because you didn't find the right skills… You mentioned because the results of the proof of concept were impressive or it surprised you, I think in a good way, you decided to pull the trigger. Is that it?
Absolutely. So I mean, after the initial four-week proof of concept activity, I was immediately sold on the value that Arcanys provides. The team did more work than we expected them to in the short time frame… They did so to a really high quality. It was a very easy decision to bring those resources on full-time.
“I think the technical capabilities of the Arcanys staff
are second to none.”
I have another question that I didn't think about, because you mentioned that you had sent the test to other companies as well, I think all in the Philippines. How did we compare to them? I've never asked you that question actually.
Look, I think the technical capabilities of the Arcanys staff are second to none. So the Arcanys staff did better in terms of programming knowledge and skills. And I think, to be honest, our original test may have been too much for anybody to complete within the time frame that we gave. It was attempting to assess a whole bunch of different things. But essentially, your resources had better technical skills than anyone else that we considered for the arrangement.
Was it also different in terms of communication? I know there was not so much because we had this test on our end to do, and there was not so much collaboration really. Did you see any difference there, besides the technical skills, at the beginning?
Well, I think I’ve always been able to communicate very well and effectively with our team members. One of the other, maybe pleasant, surprises for someone who hasn't considered outsourcing is that the team are fluent English speakers and generally communication is not an issue. And these days with video conferencing and remote platforms, I guess it doesn't actually matter if those resources are not in the same office.
Even more so because of the pandemic. Okay, can you describe working with us? I mean, in what area do you get the most value? Because you almost have the entire technical team outsourced to us, which is a bit of an unusual setup... Most of our other clients have, I would say, a bit more people in Australia, or Switzerland, or wherever they are.
Sure. I think our current team has certainly evolved over time. When we started, the first team members were developers and we had, you know, other parts of our software development team based here in Melbourne. And through normal staff attrition, as well as the growth of the company, we've simply chosen to keep adding more Arcanys resources to help make our team grow as quickly as possible.
What I can say is that the output of each of those resources is considerably higher for the Arcanys team members than what we were able to achieve and measure in the past with local staff. So not only did the team have great technical skills, as I mentioned before, they came ready and trained to meaningfully contribute from the very first day. Due to the success of the first team members, we've just chosen to keep adding team members to the point where we now have the whole software development team based in the Philippines.
Some of the team members are also helping you with business analysis and well, testing, obviously, because it kind of comes with the team. Is that correct?
Cool. So how likely are you to recommend us and why should someone listening take action right now?
Well, very likely. Anyone listening right now should take action if they want to enable significant business growth quickly, using high resources at great value.
Okay, cool. Thanks! And if there's anything we can improve, what can we improve?
Ah, so far, maybe that's the hardest question. More freebies for your clients maybe?
More freebies, okay. What does it entail? I know we sent you a few beers once. Is that what you're referring to?
Well, they're always welcome. I mean any… you know, just obviously joking a little bit. I can't honestly think of anything where we feel that you know you're not giving us good value and excellent resources. So I can't think of any immediate improvements that I would require from you.
On the hunt for a dedicated software development team? Get in touch with us at arcanys.com/contact. We'd be happy to help.