Blagovest Kirilov, CEO of OutsourceBG Services and Hiring Ltd, on the face of contemporary outsourcing
OutsourceBG Services is a Bulgarian company focused on providing high quality tailored IT, information, management and consulting services for customers all across Europe. Established in 2015 with the online portal Outsource.bg, the company has grown to over 50 employees working for more than 20 customers in 12 countries. In 2019 it opened a subsidiary in Germany with EurIT Services GmbH and has started a new innovative recruitment portal/agency with Hiring.bg.
Blagovest Kirilov, CEO of OutsourceBG Services and Hiring Ltd, tells us more.
What is the profile of companies that search for outsourcing solutions in Bulgaria?
The profile is a wide mix of quality oriented companies looking to outsource their technology services, back-office/logistics hubs, workforce management, transition, consulting and remote support in the EU, ranging from small consulting companies to big players in the BPO world.
What companies need OutSource.bg? What makes you different?
We work with different kinds of customers, from production plants to software engineering. We focus on quality through innovative solutions. There is no compromise on quality over fastscale projects. For us meeting deadlines with a high-quality score is more important than shortening the time required for a project.
Exponential growth without supporting inhouse, experienced personnel is not an option for us. Another type of companies that are our clients are looking for boutique services. This VIP client approach, aggressive reaction times and onsite support is delivered through our German company – EurIT GmbH.
What innovative solutions does OutSource.bg offer in the field of client services?
Innovation is always a motivating factor in all our interactions, regardless if it is customer-facing or internal. We believe true innovation is achieved through a combination of the following:
Smart process. We focus on process optimization and continuous improvement by utilizing lean methodologies, waste removal analysis etc. What is also important is a clear process definition using base technologies, i.e. automata, thus enabling a broader scope of discussion and analysis not only on a technical level, but also from an end users' perspective. We propose hybrid solutions to projects involving nearshore and onshore operations for cost optimization whilst maintaining management transparency and quality metrics. For example, we have customers where we have "smart techs" onsite to service their hardware, whilst the remote support is located in Bulgaria, all integrated into a seamless process to ensure zero downtime in production.
Smart systems. Utilizing our software development portfolio combined with our hands-on experience, we develop systems reliant on ease of use, automation and, above all, preventive guidance. We do this to avoid a mistake from the beginning of a process, rather than having to correct it afterwards. Implementing machine learning removes repetitive tasks from our employees so they can focus on the important parts of the process. We have developed the "Process of Things" so that each item can be part of a process, regardless if it is connected to the Internet or not, utilizing unified tracking, merging data in containers and enabling analytics of big data in real-time.
Smart management. We offer highly customized and flexible management solutions, for example providing backfills for management positions in key projects to ensure operational targets are met consistently. We also have hybrid leadership positions which can also act as contractors for the clients, who shadow the team they are going to lead as well as act as a team-member before being onboarded, so they can identify ways to improve the teams' motivation and performance while also setting realistic KPIs.
Smart communication. We are flexible in our communication methods and timings – instead of having only scheduled regular meetings we also use triggers on decision-taker meetings, coming from automated reports or live onsite feedback. This ensures that there is no delay in taking action and provides a realistic view of the current results.
Smart tech. Our onsite engineers are what we call "smart techs." The idea behind this is that when going to a customer location, especially when visiting for the first time and having a given time to resolve the customer request, engineers do not always have all the answers at hand. Thus, we have enabled them to communicate with L3 techs remotely through VR, and discuss any challenge they face. Following the process RCA time drops and first touch fix ratio improves significantly. This approach avoids multiple visits as well as delays on tickets and improves customer satisfaction, while at the same time giving more confidence to each engineer that he is well cared for and always supported. Those same techs also provide hypercare to customer locations, especially after migrations of new hardware and software systems are completed, frequently visiting users and pro-actively asking about feedback and any room for improvement or challenges they see worth sharing. Thus, a smooth transition is ensured at all times without stressing customer IT as well as management while also maintaining live communication with all project points of contact at all times.
Smart training. We all know knowledge is beneficial to every employee. Therefore we have scheduled sessions and ad-hoc modules using schedule and volume forecasts to utilize employee occupancy. Those are based either on training content developed for the specific position or short "bursts" with practical situations requiring the interaction of the employee and giving feedback based on real-life experiences gained by the company. We also lead numerous engagement and upskill training sessions for students like the MAC-Academy at the Technical University in Sofia. Sessions are focused on training students whilst also showcasing real work-related cases and evaluating trainees for future deployment projects
How do you select the employees of OutSource.bg? What are they as professionals and competences?
We have bias approach regarding recruitment and we always start with developing existing employees into senior positions based on their experience and results in the company. This is done through continuous training, but also by using job shadowing techniques. We also recruit new entry-level employees through our partnerships with several universities, as well as through career fairs or the Internet. A good example is the German Faculty of the Technical University Sofia (FDIBA), for which, as partners, we have donated hardware for a whole laboratory so that the students can use the latest technology whilst studying. We also employ different temporary project work opportunities, which are interesting especially for students.
How do you manage with the lack of employees on the market?
Most companies rely on external recruiters and contractors to fulfill the requirements of their clients. In contrast, we highly value employee development as well as their career path and learning journey in our company, motivating them to go a step further and always think pro-actively, outside the box. As we constantly have contact with young people from all over the EU who are willing to develop and grow within the IT world, the right mindset towards them is not to judge their current knowledge, but to plan on building them up, as a team and as individuals. This creates trust between the employee and the company, which in turn leads to better performance and more willingness to go the the extra mile when required.
Why did you create Hiring.bg? For who is it and what is the concept of this service?
In the last years we observe that the talent pool of qualified candidates with suitable tech skills is not growing as fast as the market itself, whereas the competition in the BPO and IT sectors gets tougher with each month. This is not only relevant to Bulgaria, around 40% of global employers report talent shortages in IT. So for each company looking for developers, database analysts, programmers, engineers, DevOps etc. It will be getting harder and harder to find the right employees on the labor market. Thus, tools and partners are required for companies looking for IT or specialized workforce in the BPO sector in order to reach fast decisions and test the skills of candidates. Recruitment will also need to adapt to the changing environment. Given the lack of such a platform we decided to create Hiring.bg. The main idea behind it comes from our "smart process" and "smart communication" principles, coupled with "smart training" for applicants. Automation of the hiring process with artificial intelligence supporting the reviewers in their sorting and ranking of candidates together with meeting all mandatory legal requirements and GDPR as well as new smart tools for interviews and scoring of applicants are included so that companies can hire the best suited candidates for each position and candidates can receive skill-based relevant offers instead of generic jobs. As turnover gets harder to cover with the average workforce requiring a higher base skill level to perform their assigned tasks, this will also lead to a new way of handling candidates sourced from external recruitment agencies, with more planning required and more transparent relationship.
Hiring.bg is a recruitment agency concept utilizing all of the mentioned resources whilst also focusing on a few key factors in the recruitment process for quality of hire. Candidate and job profiling / Talent strategy is based on the requirements we create talent strategies for job and candidate profiling to achieve best matches with the help of AI tools. Job personalization is based on client company culture and vision – let's the candidates also see what they can expect in terms of environment and values from their new employer. Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation is setting the right expectations in order to boost motivation and employee retention. Unified CV is following the 7 second rule and making direct hassle-free comparisons between candidates possible. We use creative sourcing techniques and an innovative online platform. The internal candidate database optimizes qualified candidates per hire for each position. Unified screening for both language and tech skills. Flexible career consultants who can meet with candidates in their free time and give guidance and who have work experience in the sector, which aids them in finding the right candidates as well as giving useful feedback. Candidate nurturing throughout the recruitment process and beyond with constant feedback and bi-directional communication. Flexible reporting and communication with companies based on their requirements.