By Ji-Yoon In
As the Executive Vice President for Rulesware, a consultancy specializing in helping organizations use Pega software to achieve their business transformation objectives, I’ve seen an incredible amount of growth. I joined Rulesware in 2008, when the company had just 9 employees. Since then I’ve seen it grow to over 180 — and a big reason for that growth has been our ability to offer nearshore support to our clients all over North America, thanks to our existing nearshore office in El Salvador.
We launched our El Salvador office in 2012, with a team of five engineers and an Office Manager. Today we have over 100 English-speaking, certified Pega architects in El Salvador, and they work with our US clients in just the same way as our US consultants do. They collaborate in real-time via telephone, video conference and Google Hangouts, and travel to on-site meetings when needed. Two of our first six hires are now permanently located in the US, and one was recently promoted to a Practice Lead position, providing management to all of our developers in El Salvador.
This year, we’re thrilled to be expanding to better meet our clients’ needs–especially in DevOps. We’ll soon be opening our second nearshore office — this one in Guadalajara, Mexico. Like our El Salvador office, the Guadalajara office is located in the Central time zone (less than a 3-hour flight from Houston, Texas), and will similarly feature of a team of full-time employees who will work hand in hand with our clients all over North America.
It’s been a fascinating experience for me to explore locations and weigh options for expansion, and I hope to share some of my takeaways here, both to help anyone else evaluating similar expansion and/or to provide more insight on nearshore support.
Weighing the Options: Location
There was no doubt that we needed a second nearshore location: our clients’ needs are growing, and we want to meet that need. They love our nearshore model because of the cost efficiencies, but also because of the great quality and delivery times we can provide with this collaborative, small-team approach. And they were telling us that they needed more support, particularly in the areas of DevOps. So we knew our next step was to make the decision about where to set up a second nearshore location.
We looked closely at most of the Latin American countries, and narrowed our choices down to Mexico and Colombia, because of strength in education, government support in foreign investments, access to fully bilingual candidates, cost of operations, and living environment in general. We also, broadly, wanted the nearshore office to help in offering our existing El Salvador employees opportunities for leadership, so certainly wanted to make sure that the location we chose was somewhere our team wanted to live, too.
Having narrowed it down to these two countries, we then started to look more closely at factors including the availability of qualified experienced new hire candidates, crime rates, living expenses, weather and the ease of travel in and out of the country, since many of our employees do travel often for business.
Having talked with a number of government entities in both countries, we quickly saw that Mexico offered a larger percentage of fully bilingual people, as well as greater ease in travel to and from the country. We also spoke with a number of universities in Guadalajara and Monterrey–two cities that began to emerge as strong contenders for a location within Mexico–meeting with directors who expressed interest in setting up training programs. The state of Jalisco, Mexico, in particular was also very receptive to foreign investors, and provided strong incentives to work with them. In addition, Guadalajara, known as the Silicon Valley of Latin American, proved to be the home of the skillsets we were looking for. The choice had become clear: Guadalajara would be our new home.
We’re now legally incorporated in Guadalajara, and have a temporary office set up in the Zapopan municipality while we are finalize our permanent location (again, in Zapopan).
And yes, we are actively hiring! You’ll see on our website that we are recruiting QA engineers, and are currently in the process of vetting and interviewing candidates. We’re extremely encouraged by the interest, and excited to move forward. We anticipate opening our new office by the end of Q1 of 2017.
What We Hope to Achieve
Rulesware’s primary reason for opening the new office has been to be able to provide more value to our clients for less cost. But the model has offered more than cost savings. It’s really like having an extended team that can work on projects directly with clients. Our nearshore employees in El Salvador have always been an integral part of our larger team: we can bring them easily to any U.S. client site, for example, and many clients have visited our El Salvador office as well. We fully expect for the same kind of partnership to emerge with our Mexico office as well.
Our clients are our partners — so we want to make sure we’re meeting their needs, communicating as effectively as we can with them, and providing real value to them.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with opening a nearshore office, or with working with one. And if you’re interested in working in Guadalajara, please get in touch.