When I started this company, I set out to build a small and efficient team right here in Portland, Oregon. Outsourcing was the last thing on my mind. I have never believed in outsourcing development, especially in a startup environment where the requirements are fluid and the need to move fast is paramount.
That said, even at this early stage in its life, a lot of Act-On Software has been outsourced.
- HR. We don’t have a HR department. We have outsourced all of HR to a company called Trinet. Technically, all of us (even me) are co-employees of Trinet and Act-On Software. Trinet runs payroll, provides health insurance, does all the payroll tax filings, sends out the W2′s, etc. Employees have a portal to manage their benefits, they have a complete cafeteria of options to choose from. The company just wires money to Trinet every month. It’s wonderful!
- Corporate E-mail. Google Apps! WOW! Our mail domain maps to Gmail, and that’s it. We don’t have a corporate e-mail server at all. Our employees use their web browsers, Outlook, Blackberries and iPhones to get their mail, all thanks to Google. This whole deal is just unbelievable.
- QA. We have outsourced this to a small company named Estuate in Bangalore, India. (Small by Indian software company standards but are way bigger than us :-) It took a while to get them productive but now things are great. We check in code at the end of our workday, our test server gets rebuilt automatically every evening, the QA guys get it by 9 PM our time every evening, and we have bugs to fix in the morning.