FAQs

 

In what programming languages are you proficient?

We are full stack web application developers specializing in .NET and JavaScript. We also specialize in complex end-to-end testing for high compliance products and services. We have successfully implemented robust automated test programs.

http://www.integrant.com/services/

Are you agile?

We build our services around the Agile Manifesto, but we always customize the way we work with you to accommodate your preferences and unique business model. We can quickly learn and adapt to the tools and methodologies your team prefers to use in the development process; we’ve used tools like TFS, Github, and others, and have worked under Scrum, Lean, Kanban, and many versions in between.

What industries do you work with? What kind of projects do you work on?

Industries

We have experience in financial services, legal services, health insurance, medical device manufacturing, nondurable goods manufacturing, ecommerce, and many other industries. We are happy to provide references.

Projects

We provide development teams that work with your internal team in various capacities based upon your needs including architecture, scrum master, technical leadership, front end, database, and full stack development,

We conduct testing as part of the development projects we are responsible for, provide test engineers under a co-teaming model, and take on end-to-end testing projects within highly regulated and high compliance industries.

For case studies click here.

Why don’t you provide graphic design services?

We focus on implementation. We have a lot of experience working with creative from both internal marketing teams to high-end marketing agencies. We are very comfortable working with complex user interfaces and can work with prepped files or from flat design files to make them web ready.

What is your client retention rate?

Our average client engagement is 5+ years. Some clients have been with us for well over a decade. We have never lost a client due to performance.

For our take on the connection between client retention and employee retention click here.

How many people do you have on staff?

Currently, Integrant employs about 100 full-time developers and testers on our technical staff plus supporting operations staff. As part of our formula for strong teams and strong results, our engineers are cross-trained and can fill multiple roles depending on the needs of our clients.

How experienced are your people? What are the different levels of your developers?

Our engineers have various levels of experience including mid-level, senior, principle, and lead engineer. It takes the right mix of experience, skills, and personality to build the right team. We hire and retain service-oriented engineers who are smart, talented, and passionate.

http://www.integrant.com/team/employee-profiles/

What certifications and audits do you have?

We maintain certifications and perform internal and external audits that ensure our ongoing vigilance. These include:

SOC 2, Type 2 Compliance

The rise of cloud computing has played a key role in the number of businesses that outsource functions to service organizations. Associated liability concerns elevated the marketplace demand

for assurance regarding the confidentiality and privacy of information processed by a service organization’s system. Service Organization Controls (SOC) was created as a result.

The SOC 2 report looks at a service organization’s controls relevant to the security, availability, or processing integrity of a service organization’s system or the privacy or confidentiality of the information the system processes. The report uses the Trust Services Principles and Criteria (TSPs), including organization and management, communications, risk management and design and implementation of controls, monitoring of controls, logical and physical access controls, system operations, and change management.

At Integrant we recognize this imperative and maintain SOC 2, Type 2 compliance as a result.

ISO 27001/2

ISO is the largest developer of voluntary international standards in the world. The goal of these standards is to provide premier specifications for products and services. Because these standards are developed through worldwide consensus, they have the significant value-add of facilitating international trade. ISO 27001/2 is a specification for an Information Security Management System (ISMS). The nature of our services does not require we are ISO 27001/2 certified, but we map our policies and procedures to ISO 27001/2 to further enhance the security we provide for our clients.

Audits

We secure the services of an independent, certified Security Officer with over 20 years of experience in managing complex computing environments who performs an annual SSAE 16 audit to ensure that we comply with our security policies and controls.

What is included in pricing?

We charge a flat monthly fee per engineer. Pricing includes all of our service features, including time zone overlap, a technical project lead available to you 24/7, cross training to ensure project continuity, flexible ramp up/down, cancel with notice and without cause, and travel to you to support deep knowledge transfer. A typical team includes one technical project lead and three software quality engineers.

Can I just try you? Do you lock me in?

You are selective about the providers that you choose to work with—there is too much at stake not to be. It is imperative that and and Integrant are the right fit. We can establish a reasonable “trial” time frame at the beginning of the engagement to determine whether we meet your requirements. As a client, you can cancel at any time, in which case we request 90-day written notice. If we are a good fit, your Integrant team stays with you. This mean that if you ramp your team down, we make every effort to bring the same fully trained engineers back to you when/if you ramp back up.

What does a typical team look like?

Team structures are based on your requirements and can include a range of skilled developers and test engineers. We provide a technical project lead to guide our team and ensure good communication with your internal team. The technical project lead is allocated according to team size and complexity of the project. For examples of team structure click here.

Synergy

A common complaint in our industry is the risk associated with kicking off a new program with brand new teams who are not tested and have not worked together in the past. Our service philosophy is to keep teams together. We move teams in units because we understand good teamwork, clear communication, and working in unison toward a common goal are critical success factors. We believe in team cohesion, retention of the investment you’ve made in us, and ensuring you see a return on this investment year over year. To achieve and maintain team cohesion we focus on retention of highly skilled and talented staff who learn and understand how to communicate and work with you and your team.

How do you hire team members?

We are known for having one of the most selective interviewing processes in the industry. We screen thousands of resumes, select 100+ for one position and hire 1-2 people after the interview and exam processes are complete. Beyond hiring, we have a rigorous 90-day review process before a new hire is considered permanent. We offer employees a competitive benefits package, a strong working environment, and a commitment to grow and challenge each team member. For more on what we look for in team members, click here.

For more on our rigorous hiring process click here.

May I screen the team members you’re considering for my project?

Absolutely. Some clients prefer to share a job profile, screen resumes, and request interviews. For others, we have a brief conversation to get a good idea and we build the team accordingly. We study our bench of proven, experienced engineers, whom we know inside and out, to select the best people for the job. In all cases, we provide full transparency and adhere to how the customer prefers to build their team.

A development client needed Xamarin expertise in particular, and their team included two Xamarin coders plus a Xamarin SQE and a Technical Project Lead. Another dev client needed to rebuild a legacy app while moving to responsive design. For this client we provided both front end and back end coders with expertise in legacy rebuilds.

In the testing area, for one client we had a mix of manual and automated test skills required. In order to build the best team possible our Quality Manager worked with the client to place engineers with both skill sets. When we ramped up we added engineers with the optimal profile, skills, and background for each stage of the project.

 

Why do I need a technical project lead?

The technical project lead (TPL) is a key role in our proven approach to outstanding client results. The TPL provides the Integrant team leadership that ensures technical and communication fluidity and moves the onus of team cohesion, accountability, and results from your internal team to your Integrant team. The TPL also provides 24/7 availability to the client. We believe this is the best way to ensure we deliver measurable, accountable results to you.

What happens if I don’t think a team member is a good fit?

We take a request to replace someone on the team very seriously and make changes immediately. Solid partnerships require trust. We trust that you are fair and reasonable. We will listen to your concerns and build/maintain the right team for you. Similarly, we will proactively replace team members on your behalf when we believe it's in your best interest and ensures our mutual success.

Will you put a star coder on my project and then pull him/her off after you’ve on-boarded us?

A common complaint in our industry is the impact of a “bait and switch” approach where the best engineers kickoff a program and are then replaced with lower level engineers. With Integrant you will know every member of your team, see their individual progress, and understand their contribution to the program.

How will you ramp up on domain knowledge quickly?

We recognize that in some cases we are being measured against incumbent providers with domain knowledge and experience. In other cases the domain is deep and complex, or involves a process or protocol that is highly specific and customized. And in all cases, we understand that knowledge of your business beyond the technical nature of the project at hand allows us to add value, not just complete assigned tasks.

To address quick and thorough domain knowledge and business acquisition, we send seasoned engineers and architects with project-appropriate skills and cross-industry experience to work onsite with your internal team. We acquire knowledge in myriad ways according to what is available including documentation, employee training or orientation, demos, and application architecture reviews. We transfer knowledge to all members of your Integrant team including shadow engineers.

We believe successful co-teaming requires that we adapt quickly to how each of our clients works; we easily tailor our model to each client’s specific needs, challenges, and logistics. Your team and other stakeholders will note both how quickly we “get it”, and the importance we place on learning the “why” behind the project at hand.

Who is responsible for training the team?

We use a “train the trainer” model to ensure you train us once and we retain the business, domain, and technical knowledge you share. We use different types of tools to maintain documentation, recordings, processes, standards, etc.

We add people (we call them shadow engineers) to projects at no extra cost to the client to ensure cross-training for skills, domain knowledge, and as part of our ongoing training to ensure continuity. Sometimes we cross-train just to retain great talent. It has been our experience that good engineers want to be continuously challenged. Our goal is to back up every team and ensure that we can quickly ramp up new team members with no delays or impact to your day-to-day operations.

In the countries where our dev centers are located, labor laws require employees to give 60-days of notice if they are resigning from their position. We utilize this time, in addition to our standard ongoing cross-training investments, to ensure your team remains trained and stabilize.

How do you ensure retention of my Integrant team?

We have spent years establishing strong recruiting roots including brand and reputation. We pay our teams in U.S. dollars and treat our employees like the critical assets that they are. As a result, we are an employer of choice in both Egypt and Jordan for rock star coders and testers.

Recruiting is one thing; retaining is another. In order to build good, strong software, we need solid, stable teams. We retain our talent so you can realize maximum return on the investment you’ve made in your external team.

Unemployment rates are an indicator of retention. Higher unemployment rates correlate to higher retention. When a country has an unemployment rate of under 5%, people tend to be more open to changing jobs. As an example we see that India’s unemployment rate of 4% encourages turnover. This means that a client’s chances of maintaining the same development team over time are reduced. However, Egypt's unemployment rate is about 13% and Jordan’s is 14%. This affords us greater access to talented staff and acts as a deterrent to high turnover.

Beyond the macro labor statistics the onus for retaining employees is on us. Smart coders seek opportunities to work with other smart coders and with demanding clients. For nearly 20 years our average employee retention has been 4.5-5 years per employee. Our employees are not freelance or consultants; they are full-time employees with strong benefits, strong colleagues, demanding clients and a career path. By offering stability, security, good benefits, and top management staff along with technically challenging projects we are able to provide an environment where employees see long-term value.

The result? Your external integrant team is a key part of your internal team. Our team is “your team”, not a rotating circle of “black box” help that never gets to know your business before they are transferred to another project.

What if my skill set requirements change?

Skill set changes are something with which we are very familiar--for instance, moving away from manual where it makes sense, to more test automation; or moving from maintenance of a legacy system to a complete rebuild including responsive design. Software development and testing is creative and fluid. Our goal is to move with you, not against you.

If you let us know of an anticipated skill set change it makes it easier to plan for resource changes. We will plan with you and change members of the team depending on required skill set within our core technology stack. These changes will occur with transition times in mind, knowledge transfer sessions planned, and with no impact to your schedule.

 

How do you ensure continuity?

We often add people to projects at no extra cost to the client to ensure cross-training for skills, domain knowledge, and as part of our ongoing training to ensure continuity. Sometimes we cross-train just for the purpose of retaining great talent. It has been our experience that good developers want a challenge to the bench and onto your project – this standard practice guarantees business continuity and project stability. Our goal is to back up every team member and ensure that we can quickly ramp up new team members with little to no impact to your day-to-day operations. Like every company, unfortunately, we do sometimes lose good people. Labor laws require a 60-day notice period in the countries where we operate. We utilize this time, in addition to our standard ongoing cross-training investments, to stabilize your team.

For more on how we safeguard your software dev/test investment, click here.

Describe your bench.

Our goal is to keep 25% bench at all times. The skills on our bench shift according to project requirements. We constantly recruit, hire, evaluate and train new staff to ensure we maintain a strong bench.

How can I be sure you can ramp up and down with me?

Our target is to maintain 25%+ bench. The skills on our bench shift per project requirements. We constantly recruit, hire, evaluate and train new staff to ensure we maintain a strong bench.

It is our goal to ramp up within 30 days and we request a 90-day notice to ramp down. We respectfully request a 90-day notice for cancellation because it assists in maintaining a good bench, assuring that we can keep talented engineers on staff and stabilizing our costs. However, we also understand that businesses often experience unexpected change. If you need us to ramp down faster, we will do our best to place the engineer on another program as quickly as possible.

How do holidays and vacations impact my project schedule?

Both Egypt and Jordan closely match the U.S. in terms of number of observed holidays. This makes it easier for us to coordinate work, communication, and delivery with our clients.

In addition to holidays, our employees receive paid time off (PTO). Our pricing includes 4 weeks of PTO “on our dime” as we only bill for 48 of 52 weeks of work per year.

PTO requests are discussed with the customer and pre-planned. The customer reserves the right to deny requests for PTO due to project and delivery schedules. We plan with you to add shadow engineers for extended vacations to ensure there is no impact to your schedule. It typically takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks for a new engineer to be effective. We add the shadow engineer early at no cost to you to ensure knowledge transfer and that a shadow engineer hits the ground running. Again, our teams are formed such that if your project’s progress or timeline is at risk of being impacted by an observed holiday or vacation, we will make adjustments on our end to ensure continuous coverage.

What if I need you to be onsite? How does that work?

Our team members can be available to work onsite with you as needed. They already have multi-year travel visas and travel frequently from our dev centers to our U.S. headquarters and to our clients.

Integrant is a U.S. headquartered company, and all our staff are employees, not contractors. Therefore travel from our development centers to the U.S. is interoffice travel. This is different from and far more straightforward than a foreign company sending its foreign employees or contractors to work with U.S. customers.

All travel is included in our pricing (airfare, lodging, cars, and incidentals) so there is no need to request additional funds. You let us know when you need us onsite and we’ll be there.

How do you address cultural compatibility?

Cultural compatibility matters and there are definitive differences. The real question is how does your outsource provider deal with this? We recruit, hire, train, and mentor with eyes wide open about differences that can affect communication, cost, or quality.

For Integrant, more than anything, culture is about sharing the same work ethic, quality, and customer service values. It’s incumbent upon us to hire and train not only for technical prowess, but just as importantly for personality characteristics.

We provide cultural mentoring for our coders.

  • Go beyond the stated task. Always map back to the goals of the project.
  • Address the immediate need while considering relationships, looking back, and planning for the future.
  • Anticipate what else is needed. Ask yourself what may have I forgotten?
  • Communicate your understanding of the ideas, plus add your own.
  • Build trust with your client. Show them you can make decisions on their behalf.

So, if Integrant hires a brilliant coder who is timid, we train them to speak out. If we hire a brilliant coder who sees trees and no forest, we pair them with a team member who is all about the forest. The onus is on us to hire and train the right people for you.

Our project leads and senior staff travel back and forth between our dev/test centers and the client site on a regular basis. We narrow the cultural divide and enhance our staff’s ability to relate with our clients.

 

Does everyone communicate in English?

Yes. It’s a requirement to have good English skills (fluency) to work for Integrant. Every member of the Integrant team participates in meetings with your internal team. We write user stories, code comments, and technical documentation in English, as well as building test cases, test plans, writing specifications, updating specifications, building reports, and maintaining documentation. If there is a concern for any reason about the skill level of our documentation in English, we will add a technical writer to review our deliverables at no additional cost to you.

How do you address time zone differences?

Every client deserves a responsive, available partner they can collaborate with. And every client is different in terms of how they prefer to handle different time zones. It’s our job to understand when and how you prefer to communicate, adjust to your schedules, and ensure we are responsive to you.

Some client teams start at 7:00 a.m., others not until 9:00 a.m. Some teams prefer more overlap, time to meet, and collaborate. Some Technical Leads prefer the benefits of a “follow the sun” methodology. If your engineering team requires more time zone overlap with the whole team, we will plan ahead and accommodate your requirements. We have many project teams and are able to meet each customer’s unique needs.

Our engineers shift their hours to work from about noon to the end of their day, allowing for a time zone overlap of at least half your day. Standard work hours are flexible and attractive to our employees. This makes it that much easier for us to map our teams to the working hours of your team.

Every team has a Technical Project Lead who is available 24x7 to answer questions, respond to urgent requests, and participate in planning meetings.

What kind of reports or visibility do you provide?

In addition to using the same tools for monitoring progress as your internal team, we provide reports to your specifications. For example, we can provide weekly or bi-weekly reports on our status including productivity by engineer, budget consumption, potential risks, roadblocks, etc. We can also build reports that demonstrate return on investment, for instance in test automation or legacy rebuild, leveraging data and metrics.

Where are you located?

Corporate Headquarters
5405 Oberlin Drive
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 858-731-8700

Egypt Development Center
566 Palestine Street
New Maadi, 11435 Cairo, Egypt

Jordan Development Center
Building 6, Beer Al Sabea Street
Corporate Headquarters
5405 Oberlin Drive
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 858-731-8700
www.Integrant.com
Jabal Al-Hussein, Amman 11191

Why are your development centers in Egypt and Jordan?

We chose to establish dev centers in Egypt and Jordan because of access to top talent, cultural and communication compatibility, time zone overlap, and a secure and stable code environment. For more about our dev centers, click here.

Are U.S. relations with your overseas locations stable?

Egypt and Jordan are two of the U.S.’s three biggest allies and trading partners, along with Israel, within the region. The U.S. spends over $2.5 billion in economic aid to Egypt and Jordan. This close relationship with the U.S. means an important degree of stability.

How strong is the labor pool in your overseas locations?

The first step at looking at whether there is a strong talent pool from which to recruit in a particular country is to look at what other companies are successfully recruiting within that country. Are other companies finding the caliber of talent and the skillsets we’re seeking? We found that for both Egypt and Jordan the answer was yes. Members of the U.S.-Egypt Business Council include Microsoft, Oracle, GE, Google, GM, FedEx, Visa, Xerox, Merck, and MetLife. U.S.-based companies in Jordan include Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Cisco, American Express, General Electric, and others.

Understanding the local talent pool available in any geography includes evaluation of the level of education provided. Both countries are big supporters of education and the advancement of technology, and both specifically invest in students pursuing a technical education. The Egyptian and Jordanian government highly subsidizes higher education for its most promising students. Egypt and Jordan host four of the top universities for computer science in the region. In addition, many in the region have lived or studied abroad in the United States and Europe, which adds additional levels to both their education and understanding of U.S. culture.

I’m concerned about security and protecting my IP. Does it matter where your dev centers are located?

Yes. We are headquartered in the U.S. with dev centers in Egypt and Jordan. In terms of overall crime, Egypt and Jordan are safer than other major outsourcing geographies such as Russia, China, India, and the Philippines.

More specifically, in terms of country rankings with respect to software and piracy, countries such as China, Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan are ranked among the worst 20 whereas Egypt and Jordan are not on the list.

More importantly, your outsource provider is responsible for managing code and IP security independent of any country rankings. This should include IP rights, network security, physical security, information protection, personnel security, customer privacy, disaster recovery, and business continuity. For Integrant, this is a function of whom we hire, our own policies and procedures, and our ability to establish development centers in countries where we can work efficiently within that country’s legal, structural, and procedural boundaries. Here is more info on how we tackle security.

In 20 years of offshore operations, we’ve maintained 100% uptime and 100% business continuity for our customers.

IP Law

Both Egypt and Jordan have IP security laws in place that meet World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) requirements. In Egypt Law No. 82, passed in 2002 addresses the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights. Law 82/2002 reflects the major provisions of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement and was supported by the U.S. government and the U.S. private sector. In Jordanian law there are 62 texts surrounding IP law. Jordan’s accession to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement and the country’s level of IP protection have brought many new opportunities to the country.

Integrant has in place an internal Compliance Department headed by our VP of International Business. This department monitors labor laws, tax laws, security and IP laws specific to Egypt and Jordan.

Why U.S. Headquarters Matter to Security and IP Protection

If you’re working with Integrant, you have the additional security that we are accountable to U.S. laws and standards. Integrant was founded in San Diego, CA in 1992 and opened its first development center in Amman, Jordan in 1997. Eleven years later we opened a second development center in Cairo, Egypt. Both offices are wholly owned by Integrant. Having multiple offices in different countries adds to our disaster recovery plans and ensures business continuity.

If you’re working with a vendor whose headquarters are overseas and the security and IP laws in that country are either not strict or not enforced or both, your ability to prosecute may be limited. If a U.S. company signs a software development agreement with a foreign vendor or a company with offices in the U.S. but headquarters overseas they may not have any recourse if there is a problem and the vendor fails. This gets compounded if the outsourcer has multiple headquarters or is servicing multiple clients in multiple countries as they can shift responsibility around.

Our headquarters and executive management team are located in the Sorrento Valley area of San Diego, CA. All three offices are liable and accountable under U.S. laws, protecting our clients. All our employees are full-time staff; we do not subcontract any of our work.

 

How can I be sure you know how to operate an overseas dev center?

It’s very different running an office in another country. Even the basics are different. We have to ask ourselves:

  • What does Internet access look like in various parts of the country?
  • How can we ensure continuous Internet access and support utilities?
  • How do people get to work? Where should I open an office to attract top talent?
  • Can people work remotely if they have to? Is it easy for clients to reach our people during off hours?

Client success requires our understanding of the infrastructure, politics, administration, paperwork, red tape, tax and banking systems. This if often the biggest hurdle to overcome for any outsource provider headquartered in the U.S. and looking to open an office in another country.

To meet this challenge we have dedicated resources whose responsibility is to manage and navigate country-specific legal and structural landscapes. We have a full-time on-site VP of International Business, Rami Awad.

Rami, in fact, helped establish the Jordan dev center in 1998 and applied that knowledge in evaluating and then opening the Egypt dev center in 2008. By choosing two similar locations we have taken advantage of similarities in infrastructures, enabling us to apply knowledge of one country’s operations to the other. Additionally, with only an hour’s flight between countries we are able to leverage both locations for disaster recovery and co-lo purposes.

The presence of our on-site VP of international business coupled with both Egypt’s and Jordan’s close relationship as allies of the U.S. means that our staff has no issues with work visas, travel restrictions, or any other logistical challenges making it easy for us to travel to you.

How will you protect my IP?

At Integrant, we prioritize the security of your information and we go to great lengths to protect what we build on many levels. Since we provide a service to the development teams that we support, everything we build is the intellectual property of our client.

  • People—Our people undergo full background checks and security training, and function under non-disclosure agreements.
  • Physical Locations—Our locations are physically secure and under surveillance. For some clients, we don’t just house their programmatic
    intellectual property, but also store high-end devices for testing purposes.
  • Technology Infrastructure—We work for clients with high security requirements, such as financial services, and are comfortable with
    clients auditing our IT security policies, processes, and infrastructure.
  • Applications—We work hard to ensure that the technical architecture is designed with security top of mind and the best security practices are followed in the code we write and how we test it. We have deep experience working in industries where security, careful handling of personal information, and auditing are critical.

More About Our People, Our Processes, and Your Security can be found here.

Are your facilities secure? How do you secure my data?

Our facility security includes controlled access to buildings, building locks, alarm systems, cameras, the use of biometrics/fingerprints to enter secure areas including IT and Human Resources offices, colos only accessible by authorized personnel, and security guards 24/7 at our Egypt and Jordan development centers.

In addition to complying with client-specific security measures, Integrant maintains detailed security policies of its own. These include Data Security and Classification policies to define and enforce requirements for the protection of data. Data on Integrant networks or client production systems managed by Integrant is classified by contents, owner, access, controls, and encryption. Our comprehensive IT Security Program Plan includes:

  • Security management structure and security responsibilities
  • Security Policy, procedures, guides, and standards
  • Security training and awareness
  • Incident handling and security advisory handling
  • Compliance reviews and enforcement

How do I know your employees can be trusted with my code?

Every engineer on your team is a full-time Integrant employee. All employees must pass a background/security check and drug screening as a condition of employment. We pursue applicant references aggressively and the results of those references, especially where they relate to character, integrity, and values, greatly inform our decision to hire an applicant or not. The Integrant model stresses teamwork and accountability. A high premium when hiring is placed on applicants whose characteristics and values map to integrity within the workplace, e.g., honesty, teamwork, low ego, high commitment, and a sense of loyalty toward the company and the clients.

A company could be at risk if a vendor outsources any part of its services to a third party. Layers of subcontractors, often referred to as re-offshoring, can make security and legal recourse a messy proposition.