Saxo started up a development team at Conscensia’s development centre in Ukraine in 2013. Saxo has gained great value from their development team, so much that they decided to enter a strategic partnership with Conscensia and extended the number of consultants to twice the size. The expansion of the development team was e.g. through establishing new functions such as QA. Learn about Saxo’s journey towards creating a successful development department in Ukraine.

Saxo decided to outsource parts of their software development tasks in 2013. “Outsourcing the software development through Conscensia gives Saxo the possibility to upscale the number of consultants within a short period of time. We want to gather all our foreign developers at one location. It brings a synergy and an increased pleasure of working, both professionally and socially, when our foreign developers are working from the same office, instead of only seeing your colleagues on Teams”, explains CDO/CTO at Saxo, Rasmus Burkal.

An easy start with the right candidates

Once they decided to outsource, it was easy to get started. Rasmus Burkal explains, “Saxo informed Conscensia’s HR department that we needed a fronted and a backend developer, which resulted in many qualified candidates for us,” and he adds: “Saxo was never in doubt about which 2 candidates we wanted to collaborate with, and they were a part of our Ukrainian team for many years”.

Good advice on outsourcing destination

Saxo valued time difference, English language skills, the local education level and stability in infrastructure highly, when they had to choose the country they wanted to outsource to. There is only one hour time difference between Denmark and Ukraine. “The time zone aspect is definitely very important to us. By working with Ukrainian developers, we avoid working with people who start their working day, when we are on our way home from work,” Rasmul Burkal explains.

The Ukrainian developers’ English language skills and level of education are important, as effective communcation and high competences are essenial for a successful collaboration.

In terms of the stability of the infrastructure in Ukraine, the cooperation with Conscensia has worked well, also during the war in Ukraine. “Conscensia has been really good at dealing with the situation with the war in Ukraine and their communication has been very clear,” Rasmus Burkal explains.

Holistic view on outsourcing

Besides important aspects like time zone difference, English language skills, high level of education, and a stable infrastructure, Saxo wanted to outsource to a country that was a perfect match to Saxo concerning the culture, mentality and economy. “There is a really good balance between Ukraine and Conscensia’s outsourcing services,“ Rasmus Burkal says, and elaborates: “Lviv is located in Western Ukraine and is therefore very close to Denmark – the travel time is the same as e.g. to Milan or Dublin. It is not the cheapest solution, but we accomplish great value from the cooperation. It is important to include holistic aspects when you evaluate your investment in outsourcing, instead of just comparing fees in the various outsourcing countries. The fee level becomes less important, if you risk using three times as much time on managing the developers in the country with the cheapest fees.“

Danes and Ukrainians share the same working culture

From Rasmus Burkal’s experience, Danish and Ukrainian developers are very much alike culturally. On Ukrainian developers, he says: “They have a high level of education and are really good at asking clarifying questions; instead of just starting to solve the task they have been given. By this approach, you avoid wasting time. They are also good at speaking English, which prevent misunderstandings and improve the working processes. Our Ukrainian developers are dedicated and talented.”

The language is the only difference

When you chose to outsource, it is important that the Danish employees welcome outsourcing and do not see outsourcing as a threat, but as an opportunity to get new colleagues, who can contribute with solving the many projects, says Rasmus Burkal. “Our Ukrainian developers are on equal footing with our Danish developers – they participate in the same meetings and they have equivalent influence in the development process. Just as if we had a second department in Denmark. The only difference is that they do not speak Danish. We try to take the new developers to Denmark, so they can meet their Danish colleagues and socialize. When we travel to Lviv to visit our developers, we truly feel that we are visiting our colleagues at our own office.”

An outsourcing partner simplifies the daily work life

”It is a huge advantage that Conscensia finds the right candidates, which match Saxo’s requirements. They also manage all practicalities such as payment of remunerations, the computers and internet work, minor things like coffee in office is handled and our developers have a pleasant work place. We do not have to worry about these things, and therefore, we spend very little time on each developer,” Rasmus Burkal concludes.
As a part of Conscensia’s outsourcing model, Saxo has a delivery manager in Ukraine. “We have an excellent dialogue with our delivery manager in Ukraine. She is a good ambassador for us and she catches some of the challenges, which can be difficult to discover by having one daily Teams meeting. It works really well,” says Rasmus Burkal. “We get great value by having Conscensia as our sourcing partner, as we only spent time on the important things, which is ensuring that our consultants are happy about their work life, they evolve, and they help drive and develop Saxo’s digital solutions,” Rasmus Burkal ends.


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About Saxo

Saxo is Denmark’s first and largest online bookstore with several million titles on the shelves. Saxo was established as an ordinary book store in Copenhagen back in 1961. Since then, the company has redefined the way we write, publish, read, discuss, meet and recommend literature. Today, Saxo is a book store, a publishing platform and a streaming portal.