Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company
My name is Oleg Feferman and I am CEO at Existek. We are an emerging software development company with two locations in Ukraine and Slovakia. At this point, Existek has been successfully working on outsourced software product development as well as Oil & Gas, Education, and Healthcare industries. As a CEO, I see my role in securing continual growth of our organization while ensuring the high effectiveness of the everyday operations and the best possible experience for our clients and partners. Speaking shortly, we are a bunch of guys who are trying to make our clients happy with custom-written software and IT services.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
Starting Existek five years ago I had no idea how far this will take us. Of course, the initial goal was to reach for the stars. Now we are half way there. From the very beginning, I knew that we have to define our key values and build the whole company on this foundation. So, I decided to put quality and the personal attitude above everything else. We concentrate all our efforts and passion around building effective yet sophisticated custom solutions and services that will help our customers to make their business and IT more effective even in the tiniest details.
Everybody will agree that it is hardly achievable without a plan. Fortunately, we have such a plan and it hasn’t changed since the first day company opened its doors. Our team is actually cheering for success of each customer. We believe that you can succeed only by helping somebody else to achieve their victories. No matter which industry we are working for, we are trying to study it as quick as possible and help our customers to get even more than their highest expectations. We use our previous experience and new knowledge to show them how we can make the project even better. And our partners highly appreciate that.
What is your company’s business model – in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
We have never outsourced any part of our work. Existek’s location in Ukraine allows us to quickly scale up our team upon client’s request with highly qualified staff and zero impact on our cost-effectiveness. Taking into consideration its deep pool of skilled and talented software engineers, Ukraine is a unique place these days for software companies. If you ask me, the European mindset and one of the best in the world education foundation makes this country so attractive as the outsourcing direction in the past years. So, as you can see there isn’t actually any need for us in any subcontractors.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
When you ask somebody, who is searching for outsourcing provider you’ll probably hear some typical answer about the need to extend the team etc. I believe that our clients are actually seeking for advisers instead of just executors. We always approach new projects thinking of the contribution we can make into that work. Our team of business analytics and project managers carefully look through PRD to make best possible estimation and always comes up with some additional suggestions like “hey, we’ve already implemented that feature before, here’s how we can do that better” and so on. I am proud of the fact that our expertise in many areas has influenced the final product and our clients have actually got more than they've expected.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive?
At this moment, we are involved in projects for software products development, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, and Education industries. Some of our customers have stayed with us for three or four years already. In fact, we continually extend the development teams for these projects. Working with industry leaders we have become experts in those industries as well. Turning back to the question, yes, majority of our clients are repetitive & I’d say, have become our regular customers. Also, we savvy in the text recognition, accessibility, CRM & ERP Systems building and payment processing.
The most important thing, from my point of view, is that the team stays excited about new technologies and knowledge so we are ready to challenge ourselves in new industries and deliver the best possible results.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing software.
Obviously, it deals a lot with overall project complexity. Among most critical parameters that are helping us to determine the time needed for the development of custom software is client's understanding of his needs and requirements. That means that the project time frames heavily relies on whether the client has the product requirement documentation and a clear vision of the user flow. Also, we usually take into consideration the platforms, technologies, and hardware. Of course, we can help our customers to develop needed documentation or even make it from scratch.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of software?
That’s a tricky question and there will be no correct or wrong answer. It takes us something about 12-20 weeks on an average to develop front end and back end for the application of medium complexity. The overall number of required features, platforms and even screens impact the time needed for the development.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right framework for developing software?
I’d name the platform and desired functionality as the defining factors that influents our selection of the framework for each of the new projects. Also, we consider our past experience and the features we’ve already implemented using the particular technologies. This allows us to give our clients a competitive price with 100% guarantee that everything will be done as good as possible and in a timely manner.
Which languages & frameworks do you prefer to use in development of software?
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of software?
Obviously, the project size, complexity, size of the team, and engagement duration are some of the key factors. One can get a much better hourly rate for a longer project because we’re interested in building the long-lasting and trust based relations, something that we are truly good in.
We carefully analyse requirements and come up with the accurate estimate. I know that every project differs in some way. In Existek we don’t use any estimation template so as to make sure that each quote will be precisely tailored to each case.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
We can work with any of these billing models. We almost never use Pay per feature since it adds too much operational overhead. Instead we suggest Pay per Milestone. As I mentioned, we build our company with customer centricity in mind. Thus, we offer our partners Time & Material model as one of the options to enable them to pay only for the resources they’ve actually used during the ongoing projects.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
Since we are working to build custom software for enterprises, the desired budget starts with $50,000. Of course, we consider smaller projects within new industries and technology stacks because, like I said we’re always in search for the new challenges and niches.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2016?
The smallest project we’ve done in 2016 had a budget of $30,000 but it allowed us to go into new market and get one more regular customer who is still with us in 2017. The maximum was $150,000.