How Nearshoring to Poland Can Fuel Nordic Entrepreneurship

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      26 September 2019 (updated: 11 September 2020) by  Patrycja Paterska Patrycja Paterska

      Norway’s startups are flourishing, but craving IT talent. What if the quality is nearer than expected?

      Norway’s startup scene is thriving. The old energy-based economy is currently transforming into a tech-fueled land, booming with inspiring fintech and healthtech initiatives. But with a population of slightly over 5 million and the majority of tech talent already tied up in corporate contracts, Norwegian fast-moving companies and scaleups are desperate for IT talent.

      Following the Rising North report, 49% of key beneficiaries across the Nordic region categorised recruiting talent as difficult or very difficult. Only in 2018, a base Norwegian IT-sector salary increased by 58%.

      The future seems to be out, but near

      Outsourcing may seem as your best bet on how not to end up broke while developing your product.

      But when you decide to outsource your core business or innovation, it is no longer just about cutting costs and taking the lowest bid. It is more about cutting costs and not losing on other frontlines along the way.

      Been there, done that: poor time organisation and project management are the main risks dreaded by CEOs & CTOs when they think of traditional outsourcing. And they almost always coincide with hidden costs.

      Nearshoring can be a promising alternative for outsourcing-sceptic business owners out there, yet just like every business novelty, it’s not as much a matter of “what” you do as it is of “how” you do it.

      So why do we have no shame and say it so explicitly: call the Polish?

      Home to acclaimed talent (for your business)

      Your first and utmost dread is the quality of the work delivered. How to make sure your foreign partner will be able to provide you with a quality result and not the code that is impossible to maintain and enhance over time?

      Following even just a few independent rankings, such as Top Coder, StackOverflow or a bit older, but still widely cited, Hackerrank report can make you see that Polish developers are usually ranked in the tight TOP 3. 255K of IT professionals and 15K ICT graduates annually makes Poland quite a base of IT-talent (and that numbers are still on the increase!).

      nearshoring poland

      But in the world of IT, where nothing is as certain as change, higher education is just the beginning. Regular meetups (WarsawJS, Dribbble Meetup, WRUG), IT-centred conferences, Hackathons (Poland is home to the biggest stationary Hackathon in Europe) is how the Polish stay in the know, and in the game.

      No need to worry about the language

      The more complex the project, the more vital the relationship and communication between both parties. Without awkward, and also pricey, hours spent on breaking the language barrier.

      When partnering up with a Polish software house, you don’t need to be afraid you will bear witness to a scene taken straight out of Inglourious Basterds and see Brad Pitt’s perplexed look as he articulates his uncomfortable “Buongiorno”. Poland ranks on the high 13th place in EF EPI (Global English Proficiency Index), much higher than its direct competitors like Russia and Ukraine (42, 43) or close neighbours, like Czech Republic (20) and Slovakia (24).

      The logistics already taken care of

      When developing your product, you should count on consistent and easy communication with your partner. Sometimes the logistics of it: taking care of time zone difference may slow down the work resulting in not only more hidden costs, but, on top of that, also, giving you a headache.

      Poland, being in the same time zone as Norway (CEST), not only crosses down one worry off your daily list, but, in case you need to, or want to meet with your partner personally, it is only 2-hour-flight away.

      The VIP asterisk of EU GDPR & IP compliance

      Poland, as a member of European Union, is bound by the same EU intellectual property rights and GDPR, which makes Polish development houses well-acquainted and equipped to deal with the usual and the less usual concerns popping up along the way of cooperation.

      fintech nearshoring

      The trust issue

      Understandably, while outsourcing innovation, you need to take more factors into the equation. You are looking for a company that can not only show off their expertise in a wide range of industries (because naturally, they all do), but you want to pick the one that can actually prove their know-how, preferably in your business habitat. Can a foreign company be fit to handle your project?

      If a company is present on a local market in some way, i.e. takes part in local events (Oslo Innovation Week, Startup Grind Oslo) and gathers feedback from local clients, it means they not only have the knowledge of the craft but also much-needed experience of the operating market. An argument worth making, since the lack of market understanding is a risk almost synonymous to outsourcing in business owners’ minds.

      After a failed attempt to build an iOS and Android app with another [local] vendor, we engaged EL Passion to build the project for us. After the kick-off meeting, they quickly found out what we were aiming for and delivered what we wanted in time.


      Solvor Øverlien Magi

      CEO and Founder at Lifeness

      That one perk your business needs

      Nearshoring, thanks to geographical proximity, should naturally trigger a partnership, based on a common understanding of the business objectives and the above-mentioned trust. That’s why we use the term partner, not vendor.

      Your external partner should be able to advise you along the way with their expertise and industry-specific experience. Such consultations, i.e in the form of design or strategic workshops can be particularly crucial for smaller markets like Norway, where very often companies need to scale their business quicker and understand the needs of a wider group of users from the beginning.

      The initiative to improve and not merely correct while treating the project holistically and without bias in such cases can be a door-opener to the product’s success.

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