What was the scope of their involvement?
We have built an application for payment integration using Intellias. That is an area with strict requirements since the product will undergo an audit for obtaining a payment provider license. We started architecting the solution and applied for a payment service provider license (PSP) in Malta, one of the preferred European issuers. In order to do this, we needed to obtain what is known as PCI 1, a high level of security. We hired a dedicated security specialist as part of our Intellias team. The specialist’s job was to review everything we were doing and present both architected documents and testing, allowing us to pass the audit later on. This is a bit unusual in software development, where the usual focus is on other things. We had very high standards that needed to be met.
We knew this area well already, given that the application we were building was replicating an existing lower-quality solution using a new team and higher requirements. Intellias represents 40% of the team we're using for the project, specifically with more than 60 developers. Our solution is web frontend, but most of our work with Intellias was server-side. It involved many senior developers experienced with .NET, and Java. The transactions handled by the software involve many server integrations, storage, and security. Most of the frontend developers in Intellias' office are working on the back-office interface for configuration, search, and administration, not a traditional end-user portal.
The interaction was key for us. We have set out to make Intellias' team a part of our own staff, so we weren't looking for the typical outsourcing model of handing over requirements and waiting for a result. We haven't used Intellias' project managers, but we have used them for hosting, recruitment and servicing. We have taken control of the projects and the staff to a large degree. We have been active within the organization; I have traveled regularly to Intellias' location and so have our members from job and division management. After a 2-year collaboration, things have become quite smooth. For all intents and purposes, we see Intellias as just another office in our matrix. They do play an important role, but it's limited in certain ways.
How did you come to work with Intellias?
I had an employee who had worked with Intellias and recommended the company. I was looking at other places, mostly in Kiev, but since he'd had a good experience, we decided to include Intellias in the interview process. We also talked with 3 other companies. We made some job descriptions and asked for sample CVs for the first team from each candidate company. Intellias came out strong in this regard. Overall, they have not disappointed us since then. The actual offering is never exactly as described, but we've been able to recruit talent from Intellias fairly well. It's been a stable relationship, with very few developers leaving our team since we've started. The price mattered, but another reason for choosing Intellias was their location. L'viv, Ukraine is a small city compared to Kiev, which offers more developers but also has more staff turnover. I've seen this in Bucharest, where we have our own company. The turnover is too great, even though we're active in our retention effort.
How much have you invested with Intellias?
I don't know the exact number, but it's significant. We've increased our initial team of 5–6 people to 60 developers on Intellias' side. The cost for Intellias is the same as other major players in the Ukrainian market, split between the staff and the company overhead. I like this model because it makes it clear what Intellias' costs are, and, if the staff has a salary increase because of inflation, it will hit me one-to-one.
What is the status of this engagement?
We have been working with Intellias since the spring of 2014. The initial staffing process was slow, with the work starting more seriously in November to December of that year. Our framework was built during 2015 and 2016. We're mostly done at the moment, with most projects being delivered.