Toronto-based QA Consultants is North America’s largest software testing company. Toronto, and indeed Canada, offer a strategic opportunity for U.S. businesses to seek collaborations for IT services such as quality assurance testing given the depth and breadth of talent that continues to grow across the country. In this article, Bill Klages and Brett Turner, who are based in Los Angeles and Toronto respectively, provide more dimension to the case for ‘near-shore’ (or is that ‘best-shore’?) IT service collaborations.
Look to the North: The ‘Best Shore’ Solution for Software Quality Assurance and Security Services for the U.S.
Authors: Bill Klages, Vice President Influencer & Partner Relations, QA Consultants (Los Angeles); Brett Turner, Senior Partner, QA Consultants (Toronto)
Many U.S. based companies realize the value of onshore or boldly stated Best Shore software Quality Assurance (“QA”) and Security services from Canada. Canada presents no language barrier, shares the same continent, provides a favorable exchange rate, offers a stable trade and government environment, and operates seamlessly in the same eastern to pacific time zones. For those who do business in the global community, these simple facts are sometimes unrealized benefits taken for granted. Additionally, there are four key reasons to consider Canada for software QA and security needs: high-quality talent, innovation, cost savings, and ease of doing business.
Talent: Canada’s Skilled Software Engineering & QA Workforce
Canada has a deep mix of computer science talent that has been educated both in Canada and around the world. Various levels of government have invested heavily in research, technology, innovation, and skilled-worker immigration programs for many years. Wages remain constant and employee turnover is in single digits. Compare this to offshore outsourcing where wages are growing 20% a year and employee turnover surpasses 80% in some skill levels and sectors. The depth of talent and lack of turnover nurtures deeper and more continuous client service. This leads to a cycle of ongoing efficiency gains, greater innovation, less process disruption, and keeps training costs low. The Canadian community of accomplished software engineers and technology professionals is highly skilled, consistent, and committed to excellence. This means better output for clients, lower costs, and fewer headaches.
Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are among the top 15 cities in North America (Toronto is #3) when it comes to leading tech talent. Toronto has been hailed as the new up and coming ‘Silicon Valley’. In fact, Toronto beat out Silicon Valley for the number of jobs created, according to the 2018 CBRE report. The city attracts talent with STEM degrees and over 40,000 new STEM graduates every year. This growth is just the tip of the iceberg. Toronto’s surge in tech opportunities has created a ripple effect with the University of Toronto announcing plans to build a new 14-story innovation center that will devote 250,000 square feet to startup companies. This is just one of the many innovation incubator/accelerators around the city that help push Toronto’s tech scene forward.
Toronto is home to one of the most diverse populations in North America with over 51% of the city’s population being foreign-born. Especially, with Canada’s Express Entry visa program, it’s easy for software professionals to immigrate and avoid the H1-B visa crackdown and caps jeopardizing talent availability in the U.S.
Every company’s Achilles heel is its ability to attract and retain top talent. Companies rely on having sufficient qualified workers with little geographic friction. Countries like the United States practice restrictive immigration policies that all but force companies to search for outside contractors. The paperwork alone is a burden in itself. “Today, 81 percent of the full-time graduate students at U.S. universities in electrical engineering and 79 percent in computer science are international students,” according to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis. (Forbes.com 2018/04/02)
With H-1B visa access becoming more restrictive, more companies are finding roadblocks at every turn. Some companies have relocated their entire IT departments overseas, but at what cost? Such an initiative can have massive repercussions internally and externally. Canada doesn’t have caps and limitations on technology resource migration that have strapped the US. Canada is an obvious choice for migrants and foreign talent who wish to begin or continue a career in North America.
Toronto is a rising star in terms of technology and the city can barely keep up with the demand for office space. According to Patrick Fejér of B+H Architects, “10 million square feet of new office space is due to open by 2024, more than was built from 1992 to the present. Toronto has more than 120 construction cranes in the air, compared with 65 in Seattle and 35 in New York.” With all that demand for space, innovative centers/clusters have spread outside of the Greater Toronto Area.
In Oshawa, the Ontario Tech and the Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) has become a hub of innovation and further study autonomous and connected vehicles. This dedicated facility focuses on vehicle operating systems, mobility device compatibility testing, model-based testing, cybersecurity, lidar and computer vision, and safety-critical systems. Through government funding and its cornerstone clients, ACE staff, many of whom are PhDs, and Master students are working to develop better and more efficient ways to validate this critical software’s quality and compatibility. By using cutting edge technology, proprietary tools, and project management methodologies, innovative solutions are constantly being deployed in a timely and efficient manner.
Waterloo, home of BlackBerry, has co-created the Toronto – Waterloo Region Corridor, which calls itself “a global center of talent, growth, innovation, and discovery. Rivalling the best in the world, this 100km stretch is the second largest technology cluster in North America.” Startups and multinational companies from around the world are investing and scaling up. The area claims 15,000 tech companies, 200,000 tech workers, and 5,200 tech startups.
The Canadian government is also stepping in to help support innovation through the Innovation Superclusters Initiatives, which is investing up to $950 million to support business-led innovation superclusters with the greatest potential to energize the economy and become growth leaders. According to the Canadian government, “This initiative is a first of its kind for Canada, fostering stronger connections—from large anchor firms to start-ups, from post-secondary institutions to research and government partners—and opening the door to new forms of industry partnership. It represents a significant commitment to partnering with industry and supporting the success of leading domestic and global companies that choose to innovate in Canada.” When it comes to innovation, Canada is a strong contender willing to put in the funding and effort to become a world-recognized leader.
Turnover and rapid wage growth have increased the expense of offshore (Asia) technology delivery services. On top of this, travel budgets, relationship management, and physical, linguistic and cultural differences have proven to ominously increase project output outlays. These hidden charges are not adequately planned for, and even when they are, it is like a home renovation budget, the finished product often requires double the initial estimate. When considering budgets, IT leaders must look at the entire picture. Inefficiencies in the offshore model can be upwards of 20-30%. On top of that, consider the exchange rates: The Canadian Dollar is at .76 USD today. This roughly translates into a 24% savings for U.S. clients. By working with Canada, software delivery expenditures can be lowered considerably!
QA Consultants’ answer to cost effectiveness and remove work is the Toronto-based Test Factory™. The Test Factory™ is the next generation of software testing, providing a superior quality, cost and service alternative to offshore providers and external contractors. The centre can handle any testing project of any size, with any application and for any industry.
The Test Factory™ was designed from the ground up for performance.
- Low cost, local business model – Reduce India fatigue, cost and risk by eliminating transactional and travel costs, as well as culture and time differences
- Personal touch service – Deal directly with your team and improve responsiveness and troubleshooting
- Extensive use of automation – Minimizes the cost of testing and error rates while supporting rapid scalability
- Available client dashboards – Enable 24/7 monitoring and management by clients
- Customizable billing options – You will always know in advance what your cost of testing will be, providing budget certainty and easier ROI determination
- A number of proprietary innovations deliver the Test Factory™’s superior value.
We employ full-time, vetted and Canadian-educated testers who easily interface with your organization. They are fully trained on multiple applications, platforms and business competencies such as project management.
Read more about the Test Factory™
Canadian Dollar plus Innovation & Efficiency minus Offshore Issues and Hidden Costs equals Quality, Cycle Time & Budget Savings
Ease of Doing Business
Location, location, location! Toronto is just an hour plus plane ride away from New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago. The average plane flight from US Western cities is less than 4.5 hours. The flight time to Bengaluru, India is approximately 16 hours! With offshore companies, at best, there are just a few hours of overlapping working hours. In a world where instant communication is vital this type of lag can be debilitating. In fact, the ability to make use of inter-office unified communication and collaboration tools makes the near-shore advantages of Canada even more prominent. Compared to cross-border U.S./ Canadian teams, in-person meetings can happen in just one day. Many clients leave home in the morning able to return that evening. This nearness makes all the difference in rapid enterprise software deployment. Proximity builds relationships, increases efficiencies, lowers engagement time, and keeps travel time and expenses to a minimum.
In summary, the software development cycle entails large budgets and massive responsibilities. Having a partner that is in the same time zone, is highly flexible, is easy to communicate with, and that can respond lightning fast is a major factor in making outsourcing successful. Why look to source outside of North America? Why go to another country when there’s a viable option right next door? If you are considering building and testing software or outsourcing your IT functions, Canada is a compelling option. You will tap into a world-class technical workforce, experience innovative infrastructure and solutions, reduce your costs significantly and experience the ease of doing business with your partners to the North.
For more information, please contact us today to start a conversation.