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18

Apr

Vendors vs independent contractors

Recently I was exposed to some work where we had a mixture of vendor and independent contractors – myself being one person from the vendor alongside a team of independent contractors.

Vendor vs contractors

Of course, independent contractors bring with them a world of experience and contractors are a part of the fabric of business life, so I’m not for a minute questioning their value or suggesting organisations do away with contractors. However, in the instance I mention above, I felt that, in this particular situation, this approach didn’t work very well, and inspired me to blog about the additional value that vendors can provide.

This experience got me thinking about why and how a company like Intergen brings out the best in its people – and how that translates into giving businesses a better service and return on investment.

Intergen’s work force is full of people who are very passionate about what they do, which is why I love working here. I regularly have unashamedly super geeky conversations about the latest tech and practices. The result of this is that the people are always learning and developing just by being around smart people.

These conversations lead to experimentation and upskilling which in return keeps me up-to-date and ready for any challenges sent my way.

In addition to being surrounded by highly skilled people, the company really invests in its work force, giving the ability to get certified and providing self-pacing training tools so that we can be better at our jobs, fundamentally helping us deliver what the customer requires.

For some people this goes so much further than a pay slip - people work at Intergen because they love the environment and colleagues they work with.

So why do I think Intergen as a vendor can provide better value than a group of individual contractors?

You pay for the resource you use (e.g. single developer) – but you get an entire company at your disposal

When a company hires an individual contractor, they are putting a lot of trust into one person knowing everything they need to know for the scope of that work. I don’t doubt that we have some very clever people out there in the market – but are they better than a team?

I am surrounded by a group of people/super geeks in which I can discuss approaches to problems. This leads me to validate and discard ideas that may not work quicker, instead of finding it out the hard (and long) way. This leads us to a fail fast way of working naturally.

In addition to my internal network, we as a company have a wider network we can reach out to, such as the strategic partnership we have with Microsoft which allows to us to beta and previews of technologies that may be relevant to your solution.

Need more resources?

Can you guarantee that any independent contractor will work fantastically well with the other contractors? I mentioned that I was recently in a situation where multiple independent contracts worked in a project and the approach didn’t work well. These contractors did not work together at all, they had differing opinions and ways of working. This resulted in an inconsistent and over complex code base, with huge differences in approaches to similar pieces of functionality with almost next to none code reuse.

With a vendor, if you wanted to increase the workforce on your project you would get people that have already been proven to work well in synergy with the existing people, with the same amount of enthusiasm and passion for their work.

Need advice on a different “thing”?

Intergen made up of different departments with focus in different areas of technology offerings and processes. And we all get along and communicate with each other.

Imagine that you ask us to create you a mobile app and website. That would come to the practice I work with, and we would work together to create that for you.

Now imagine that you need some advice in where to host the APIs and websites. You have already engaged a vendor that already has expertise in cloud based services so we could work with you on that too.

We could (and would) provide you with a one stop end-to-end experience, which again would lead to better time to value.

Support

Any work done by us/a vendor would have a support and warranty period. Contractors can leave you and not worry about how you get on with it in production. We want to see you get the benefit of the technology you have invested in and effectively hold your hand along the way.

We also offer BAU support solutions where it is their job to keep your new-fangled system up and running.

Holidays and breaks

This is kind of a small and ridiculous point – but this is a situation that I have seen in the past where a critical person disappeared for quite some time.

Would you prefer to be missing a vital part of your team for three weeks? Or would you rather have another talented member on your team while your developer is enjoying their Fijian/Samoa/Tonga cruise to continue the work? Vendors facilitate this for you (and it becomes their issue to sort it out – not yours).

These are the just some of my thoughts, with Intergen in mind, knowing the passionate workforce and expertise we have in our offices. I come into work because every time I step through the office doors I learn something new and I have fun with the people around me. The fact I get paid to do this is a real privilege. This company is filled with people like me that love the opportunities we get given by businesses so please keep it coming.

Posted by: Matthew Batten, Developer | 18 April 2017

Tags: Contractor, Project Management


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