Endsleigh Insurance goes nearshore for application development

Endsleigh Insurance Services chose nearshore application development resources when it was stretched during the busiest time of the year

Endsleigh Insurance Services chose nearshore application development resources from a supplier when it was stretched during the busiest time of the year.

The finance firm, which specialises on the student insurance market, outsourced application development to nearshore service provider Endava. 

The Moldova and Romania-based supplier developed a system to support a new insurance package for students.

Endsleigh wanted an online system for students to apply that was easy to use on mobile devices.

Jason Collins, IT development centre manager at Endsleigh, said the internal team of 30 application developers gets stretched when the company is preparing for the new intake of university students every year. 

Five reasons to outsource to Eastern Europe

Highly-skilled labour
The former Soviet Union had a strong educational emphasis on engineering and the sciences. Many of the countries in this region today have a highly-skilled workforce in areas such as computer science, but at much lower labour costs than the UK.

Cultural similarities
Some companies believe that Eastern Europe has a distinct advantage over places such as India when it comes to outsourcing because employees tend to take a more collaborative, and less process-driven, approach to projects.

Time zones
Eastern Europe covers a vast region, but most of the countries within it are just a few hours away from the UK in terms of time difference, making it easier to communicate within working hours.

Data protection
Eastern European countries within the EU could be a good choice for work which requires adherence to the Data Protection Act.

Growing labour market
While skills shortages remain a problem in the UK, growth in IT outsourcing in Eastern Europe continues to increase. In 2009, Romania was found to be the country with the highest growth of IT specialists, increasing by about 12% compared with 2008. Ukraine followed with over 9% growth.

“There are peaks and troughs in demand. We have to have all of our offerings ready for Freshers week.” 

There was a four-month period for the work on the new system to be completed.

He said when the team can’t cope it has the option to outsource or bring contractors in. 

“On this occasion we had lots of projects on and we had to bring the expertise in.”

He said offshore options offer the lowest cost service but require a lot of management time to make it work and contractors are expensive. 

Both the offshore options and contractor method would also require a lot of knowledge transfer.

Nearshore Endava offered the best of both worlds, said Collins. 

It was lower cost than UK developers and is in a similar time zone which makes communication easier.

Endava’s agile software development methods were just what Endsleigh wanted. 

“Agile development is critical because Endava and Endsleigh had to be in constant contact during the project, so requirements and changes could be immediately communicated and deadlines met,” Collins said.

Endava used technology tools for the site development, including ASP.NET MVC 3.0 framework, jQuery, jQueryMobile, Glimpse client debugger for server, and Fluent Validation framework for client and server validation. 

Mobile testing was performed on mobiOne iOS emulator and on actual devices - including Android and iPhone.

Collins said Endsleigh will use services from Endava again.

The former Soviet Union's legacy in Eastern Europe is an engineering-based education system that has fuelled a rapid increase in the number of companies providing IT outsourcing and software development services in the region. Endava is just one example.

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