Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
In OneTree we provide technology and consulting solutions. We founded it in 2008 and have over 70 consultants across South America – in Uruguay, Argentina, and Bolivia. We specialize in mobile and web application design and development, e-commerce, and user experience design. Since our inception, we have been delivering state-of-the-art solutions to clients. We have a strong presence in health, financial, high-ed, and eCommerce.
On one hand, in healthcare, our involvement has been significant with educational institutions of the caliber of Stanford Health, University of Michigan, Temple University, among others, as well as startups as Medable, Care Angel and ONGs such as Vitalant.org.
On the other hand, in ecommerce, we specialize in developing healthy, high performing storefront-solutions based on the Adobe Magento platform. Our experience ranges from implementations for successful startups such as Kuru Footwear – which we helped scale online sales tenfold – to collaborating in enterprise level implementations as Steelcase.com.
In the financial sector, we have been designing and delivering solutions for the private sector banks such as Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Banco General de Panamá and development banks as Interamerican Development Bank.
As CEO of Onetree, my responsibilities vary widely from working with the management team to developing the company's strategic plan. As well, they include being part of the sales team developing business opportunities and being the point of maximum escalation for problems that may occur in different areas such as operations, sales, human resources, finance, among others.
This degree of participation and involvement allows me to know most of our customers from the beginning of the business process and how their projects are working. This implication enables me to understand their needs and pains better, which means we can make quick decisions and design as well as execute services that adapt to these needs.
In addition to this, I am always working with the management team and closely monitoring how each of the team members are and looking for ways to improve their experience within the company.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
We founded OneTree as a sister company of Takeoff Media. At that time, Takeoff Media was focused on delivering creative services to high-end clients in the US and was looking into addressing technology implementation services as well. I was brought in to create this new technology-focused business unit. From there, OneTree grew significantly in its four main areas of service – digital solutions, eCommerce, user experience design, and emerging technologies such as AI, ML, Big Data, etc – from nothing to over 70 people in its 3 locations. This scale now allows us to deliver better quality services to our clients across the world.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
When we founded this company, we aimed to deliver top-quality technology services taking advantage of our location and the quality of our people, leveraged on the nearshore concept. Our operations are 100% in-house, which allows us to learn from our experience and grow, becoming a more specialized partner for our clients after every experience.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Firstly, we aim to form long-term relationships with our customers. By itself, this means we are ready to commit to the success of our customers and collaborate. As well, it implies that we need to understand the ups and downs of our customers’ businesses and navigate them together with them. This makes us not only a technology provider but also part of the solution to core problems.
Secondly, we are always working on improving. This means making processes, knowledge, and technologies better, as well as anything else that needs to ameliorate. In order to do this, we need to learn from failures and successes and keep the learning in-house. Fortunately, our attrition rate is significantly lower than industry standards (plus over 10% of employees that leave, end up coming back within a year) and, even so, having the proper documentation and knowledge-transfer mechanisms can make an important difference.
Last but not least, we believe in team efforts. Our teams are really collaborative even across business units. Putting this together with a wide range of expertise between our people, there is rarely a problem we cannot overcome with ease.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive?
An important part of our customers is part of healthcare as well as eCommerce industries. As well, we have a significant amount of clients in banking and higher education. I am happy to say that 80% of our clients decide to hire us again after having worked with us.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing software.
Many factors come into play when determining the timeframe for a project. At a very high level, I would say that type of technology (web, mobile apps, etc), frontend complexity (UI/UX), and backend complexity (business rules, integrations, etc) are the key factors to consider.
When we estimate a project, one of two scenarios always comes into play: (1) the client understands and has clear documentation of the scope of the project; or (2) they have a clear idea of what they want and not enough documentation to communicate that idea to a developer. When the latter comes into play, we help our customers put the proper documentation together. One of the goals here is to reduce the uncertainty of the project and make sure the estimations are reliable.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of software?
I cannot say that there is a pattern here. The most important variable that defines this is the extent of the scope of work. In some cases, the client has an in-house talent that can take part in the project. If this is the case, it is possible that we need to focus 100% of our work on either back or front end development.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right framework for developing software?
The framework is the technological foundation of the project, thus, it plays a significant role and should be considered carefully. What we intend to evaluate is how much the framework aligns with the requirements in terms of function, security, and scalability. Choosing what to prioritize between these is something that we have to define based on the type of project. Health, E-commerce, and financial projects are usually heavier on the security side while an informational application will favor function.
Which languages & frameworks do you prefer to use in development of software?
For custom development software we usually choose to use .Net Core, C#, React, ReactNative, AngularJS, and NodeJS. For eCommerce projects, we use Adobe Magento technology stack. For Health projects, in which a critical factor, more than a development framework, is to design and develop HIPAA compliant solutions, we rely on platforms such as Medable or Azure Services that comply with these standards out of the box.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of software?
The baseline is always set based on effort – for instance, time estimation. Few variables come into play after that and usually do not have a significant impact when pricing a project.
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.)
This aspect depends primarily on how the project will be executed. Projects that follow an agile methodology are charged monthly based on the hourly investment. Every hour is logged in and billed at the end of the month. Projects that follow a traditional – for example, waterfall – approaches are broken down into milestones. Before the project starts we agree with the client on what percentage of the project each milestone is worth and charge that amount when the milestone is reached.
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?
Our minimum budget is $20.000. Exceptions can be made when we are intending to enter a space that is new for us. In these cases, we might make an agreement with the customer where we trim our margins in exchange for the learning opportunity. This is always discussed with the client upfront so that all the risks are clear.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2019?
The price range of those projects varies from $20.000 to $500.000.