Ever since its creation, Keepeek, a French Digital Asset Management software provider, has always felt compelled to employ local teams. Many software providers decided to get offshore help, so why did Keepeek go for another strategy?
Thomas Larzillière, Keepeek CEO since the company creation in 2008, explains the benefits of recruting locally.
Team locations between Paris and Rennes (Brittany)
Keepeek was created in Paris, but very quickly, we faced a real issue: recruting tech staff was incredibly difficult. The Parisian salaries and the cost of renting offices was incompatible with our finances. We studied our options, especially outsourcing development offshore. Eventually, we decided to open an office in Brittany instead, to set up our Technical team there. It was an economic choice, but also a choice with a recrutment strategy in mind: Rennes is a breeding ground for engineers. We have never regretted this choice and Rennes is now the biggest Keepeek agency.
The siren call of offshore outsourcing
Of course, we studied various options to increase our development. The economic equation of outsourcing offshore is attractive and useful to quickly get resources hard to find in France. In terms of processes, we studied how our agile methods could facilitate (or not) integration of geographically distant teams.
However, we decided to concentrate our forces on local teams instead and have tried to remain competitive by improving our internal processes.
Internal process optimization to compensate salary costs
Our strategy is a continuous search for process improvement, to insure teams do not waste their time. Our Lean approch, started in 2018, has made it possible to save time, little by little, on our repetitive tasks and have pushed our engineers to foster a culture of continuous improvement.
Agility, communication and teleworking
Keepeek embraced the agile methods (Scrum, Kanban) more than ten years ago. Communication is at the heart of those methods. Visual management, morning stand up meetings and sprint scrums are the rituals we use to keep people in touch. We also offer remote work, but make sure our staff meet regularly in person.
We care to create long lasting relationships with our clients. It is therefore vital to keep the technical and functional memory amongst our teams. For example, in the past six years, one of our clients renewed their team eight times. It was crucial that on our side, the project manager and developers remain the same to insure consistency. We think that loyalty is linked to our proximity management, group cohesion and team spirit.
We do not believe this kind of culture is possible when outsourcing offshore.
Security and confidentiality
We work for several of the largest companies in France. The projects we lead and the data we manipulate are often very confidential. We alert our teams regularly on these topics. It is for us much more reassuring to know our staff well and set up best practices on security.
We do not especially claim our Frenchness, but we feel quite proud to create jobs for our fellow citizens. We hold on to a certain consistency and honesty towards our institutions which have contributed, sometimes financially, to our development.