April 15, 2019
Application Development
Software Development

Building an IT Product Remotely: Kantar Retail Case Study

Building an IT Product Remotely: Kantar Retail Case Study

Article written by Dmytro Vavriv, Portfolio Delivery Manager, Kantar Consulting Team at Ciklum

More than ever before, companies that desire growth and evolution toward digitalization are required to significantly invest in the creation of new IT solutions. Changes in consumer interaction, demands, and experience require companies to listen to feedback, make the necessary adjustments, and ultimately give the market what it wants. By doing so, companies can win the ultimate prize: loyal customers who drive sales, boost revenue, and leave competitors scrambling to keep up.

The High Quality of Software Development Usually Comes with the High Cost

But adjusting to ever-changing consumer desires and tastes isn’t cheap — or easy. In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, companies remain locked in an existential battle to retain talent and reduce the cost of software development. Because of a shortage of experienced developers with niche skills — and industry of headhunters and recruiters ready to lure them away from an organization at a moment’s notice — it’s incredibly difficult to assemble a software development team that’s affordable, consistent, nimble and highly productive at the same time.

The desire to assemble supplemental teams of remote staff members to assist in everyday business tasks is nothing new. But across the IT space, the bottom end of the outsourcing market, which once dominated services like customer service and product testing, is being replaced by artificial intelligence. Common, repetitive tasks that don’t require significant human ingenuity can help organizations tighten their belts and run a streamlined, cost-effective operation.

For organizations that still require humans to carry out complex tasks like product management, however, outsourcing remains a powerful tool that can help companies streamline development tasks even further without the need for a large in-house product development teams.

Modern businesses are more specialized and compartmentalized than ever before, especially in the technology sector. For these companies, to hire the right people and remain focused on their segment, partnering with other firms and using vendor’s services for software development has become more popular than ever. Bespoke development projects can be as small as a few extra hands or as large as a ground-up build of a mobile platform. However, no matter the scale, every business should take time and find the right vendor to be sure that the remote IT team is on the same page with the company’s development goals.

Deep Analysis: Ukraine’s Remote Development Powerhouse

Ukraine is one of the world’s preeminent IT outsourcing powerhouses. Thanks to a strong emphasis on engineering and soft skills education, its tech sector has become a $3.6 billion business. The expertise of Ukrainian tech workers picks up where once-outsourced jobs have been replaced by automation: Because soft skills and software engineering remain tasks better suited for humans, Ukraine enjoys the benefits of a well-educated, modern workforce that can’t simply be automated away. As such, Ukraine has become Europe’s #1 destination for outsourced software development.

Ciklum, a Fortune 500 global digital solution company, is headquartered in Kiev, Ukraine, with multiple development centers in five countries throughout the world. Through its end-to-end business solutions, Ciklum offers a variety of different engagement models to help companies develop the software they desire. Whether it’s managing an entire service, building an idea from scratch, or extending a development team with dedicated specialists, Ciklum’s award-winning experts highlight the power, reliability, and affordability of remote Ukrainian development teams.

How Kantar Consulting Evolved its VR Solution to an Enterprise Level

Kantar Consulting is an international intelligence firm focused on offering its users a platform for actionable insights. Through Kantar Retail IQ, an online research insight solution, clients in the retail industry can gain access to a broad range of information that makes it easier to stay ahead of market trends, build strategic business plans, and maximize growth opportunities.

One of Kantar’s most unique solutions is the Virtual Reality component of its Sales Performance Platform. To help retailers build and test new in-store concepts, Kantar’s solution brings to life a virtual shopping experience based on over 100 possible environments. Rather than having to build out an entire brick-and-mortar concept or settle for 2D mockups, Kantar’s platform makes it easy for retailers to quickly and efficiently imagine any future retail concept with speed and efficiency.

Kantar’s retail VR software initially started out as a project from Red Dot Square Solutions, a startup focused on delivering retail solutions. Around 2013, the company sought to rebuild the software from the ground up to offer customers what would eventually become its VR platform. But in order to make that possible, Kantar needed additional resources to help carry out software development.

To maximize its development capabilities, Kantar approached Ciklum to enlist additional software engineers. Beginning with a team of six dedicated engineers based out of Ciklum’s offices in Kiev, the combined staff began building out all necessary components of the VR platform. Over the next three years, Ciklum’s IT specialists transformed Kantar’s development operations, eventually growing to a team of 34 engineers who handled all aspects of software delivery, including QA, Scrum, UX/UI and Product Ownership. Among the support staff, Ciklum’s HR and motivation program enjoyed an 85% team retention rate, preventing potential long-term brain drain.

Kantar Retail & Ciklum teams

Ciklum’s software development engineers continue to support Kantar’s buildout of its KPIs, product, and platform, providing comprehensive development resources and expertise through today. In just six months, Ciklum helped Kantar scale and integrate a complete Agile framework SAFe to its development methodology. Ciklum has also helped Kantar adopt a DevOps model, building out a continuous integration environment in which to smoothly deploy software through automation and manage a variety of software platforms.

Conclusion: Remote Product Development Saves Time, Money, and Resources

Ciklum’s remote product development team helped Kantar achieve streamlined operations, build faster solutions, and ultimately save money. “With Ciklum we’ve been able to unlock the revenue potential that can potentially increase our market capitalization three times over the next three years”, says Paul Gregory, CTO at Kantar Consulting Virtual Reality. “The model of an extended team that Ciklum offers enables companies to build teams that make it possible to deliver a product and have ownership and stewardship over it.” By choosing Ciklum from the start, Kantar has gained a reliable development partner with a vested interest in the success of their platform.

Whether it’s a particular development need, a desire to scale, or a blind spot that needs a sustained fix, Ciklum can help any team meet their development needs at an affordable, sustainable cost. By choosing to augment your staff with CIklum, you will gain access to trusted, expert software developers while bypassing the need to hire full-time staff. In a competitive environment where every dollar counts, Ciklum’s remote IT teams can help organizations achieve their development goals, keep up with consumer demand, and remain nimble enough to adjust when necessary.

About the author: 

Dmytro Vavriv an enthusiastic and dedicated IT professional with over nineteen years of experience. His professional experience covering all aspects of the software development life cycle, currently he is focusing on Program and Product Management. He gained professional experience from multiple organizations in multiple countries such as SAP, UEFA, Ciklum, also he holds PhD and MBA degrees from George Soros university. Dmytro’s current role at Ciklum is related to Portfolio Delivery Management where he is responsible for harmonization of IT products delivery practices across Kantar Consulting portfolio.

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