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Why Tunisia?

Author: Bettina Kleinsteuber – Maketing Manager at ServiceFactum

10 reasons why IT services from the North African offshore region Tunisia are worth a look.

Djerba, Tunisia
Djerba, Tunisia

Software developers from Tunisia are very talented specialists. This makes the North African country an increasingly attractive region for offshore services. But why should a company choose IT services from Tunisia?

With more than 60.000 specialists in the offshore services area Tunisia is a very competitive offshore destination. The Tunisian IT industry also offers high growing ecosystem, tech profiles that are attracted by cutting edge frameworks and technology as well as strong technical expertise. About 400 companies offer IT services, for example the Tunisian IT company Wevioo with over 300 employees – which is also one of the ServiceFactum partners.

Furthermore, the wages and salaries of IT developers are favourable in relation to Germany. Proficiency both in English and French are supporting the strength of Tunisia. France has already recognized this: For France, the North African country has been one of the most important locations for IT services for many years.

Tunisia is a strategic location between Europe and Africa with high quality, an available infrastructure as well as very talented and well-educated human resources. Therefore, it is a very good location for German companies to invest in an offshore engagement.

10 reasons for outsourcing to Tunisia

1. Big talent pool

A quality of higher education that is comparable to the Western European countries. This includes 240.000 graduates per year, 20.000 Engineers and Scientists graduates per year and 9.000 ICT graduates per year. In Tunisia are more than 50 engineering schools located that teach computer science.

2. Communication skills

28 % of the population speaks fluent French, English is taught in the school starting with class 8 and there are certified and professional language institutions for Germany. Several businesspersons in Tunisia also speak German and Italian. Around 40.000 pupils are learning German as a foreign language.

3. Problem-solving thinking

Tunisian business culture has been shaped by various regional, cultural and religious influences and bears the characteristics of Arab/Muslim, Mediterranean and French culture at varying degrees. Personal relationships, trust and hierarchy are some of the outstanding values that define the local business culture. The work culture can also come across as more formal and courteous than North American and Nordic countries. Indirect and non-confrontational communication define the way Tunisians prefer to negotiate with foreigners.

The working culture of software developers in Tunisia is like that of the west. They are interested in the success of the project and they treat it as their own. Developers have “get the job done” mentality and will always thrive to find a solution to the problem you are facing in a short time.

4. Financial Attractiveness

Rates for a Tunisian software developer are very attractive and competitive, in fact working with Tunisian developers may save you a lot of money compared to other nearshore countries.

5. Internet connection

Tunisia is ranked 2nd in the southern Mediterranean region and Africa, 81st among 143 countries in the “Networked Business Index” published by the “Global information Technology Report 2015” in Davos. It is the leading country in the Southern Mediterranean region in term of telecom infrastructure. Tunisia has high internet penetration and usage. The internet bandwidth capacity is 200 GB/s since 2017.

6. Accessibility from Germany

Daily flight connections from Frankfurt am Main with a flight time of 2 hours and 25 minutes. No visa is required for up to 4 months travel.

7. German time zone

Although Tunisia couldn’t be recognized as a nearshore region since it is not within the same continent the time zone is as Berlin (Central Europe time). Tunisia does not utilize daylight saving time.

8. Similar working hours

Working times are from Monday to Friday. There are 11 public holidays in Tunisia. During Ramada the offices closes in the afternoon normally.

9. Good political conditions

Tunisia is growing to be among the premier investment locations in North Africa. More than 3.500 companies worldwide and more than 2000 companies from Europe settled in Tunisia.

Germany and Tunisia have had diplomatic relations since the latter gained independence in 1956. The German Government has been supporting Tunisia’s political and economic transformation through intensive cooperation since the democratization process began in 2011. The reform partnership concluded with Tunisia in 2017, Germany’s bilateral contribution to the G20 Compact with Africa initiative, is aimed at improving the environment for private-sector investment and creating employment. Tunisia has joined the European Agreement of Data Protection in November 2017.

10. Economic Facts

The Tech GDP rate is 7.5 % (2019) NIS Tunisia, population was 11.8 mio. In 2019. The local economy is largely orientated towards services, which accounts for 63.6 % of the GDP, including the booming sectors of ICT (Information and communication technologies) and tourism. The service sector employs 52.2 % of the country’s workforce. Population of the main cities: Tunis (638.845), Sfax (272.801) and Sousse (221.530).

Maybe also interesting

The Human Factor in Nearshore Engagements

Bernd Wandt, CEO ServiceFactum                                    Calin Vaduva, CEO Fortech


Due to skill shortages in software development, Nearshoring is without alternative for German companies. In Eastern European countries, especially in Romania as an IT-hotspot within the EU, we find high academic standards and outstanding skills in software development.


ServiceFactum is deeply involved in Romania with 3 locations and has established long-term cooperations on site. As prime contractor, we are committed to offering our customers the best location and the most suitable specialists from our network of suppliers for their projects and extended teams.


Interview


Bernd: Dear Calin, you are the CEO of one of our long-term Bestshore Centers. We are pleased to talk with you about the Human Factor in Nearshore Engagements, which is a key success factor for effective and efficient results in nearshore software development.


To qualify as a Bestshore Center for ServiceFactum, the corporate philosophy and human values are important criteria.

What is the corporate/business philosophy of your company in a few words?


Calin: Our philosophy is simple. We aim to provide mastery in software engineering. This means we have always pursued to build a cohesive and productive organization, well- equipped to handle a variety of project requests, to incorporate trending technologies, to understand the client’s business and display a proactive attitude, commitment and excellence when interacting with clients. To achieve this, we strive to provide our employees with context and exposure for learning, autonomy and meaningful projects. Following this philosophy, helped us to move on an ascending growth path, reaching today over 650 employees.


Bernd: We expect a customer-oriented attitude from our selected team members and software developers. The customer should be virtually present in their minds.


Can you please tell us in a few words what the human values of Fortech are and how these are actively put into practice by your employees and teams?


Calin: We built Fortech with a client-centric approach in mind from the very beginning. Reliability, continuous improvement, orientation towards long-term collaborations and the quality of both service delivery and relationship dynamics with the client are the core values that preoccupy us the most. These influenced strongly the way we defined our business model as well as our internal practices and organizational culture. Also, it required us to periodically reflect on our growth cycles and rethink our structure, processes and practices to sustain new cycles of growth.


Bernd: How do you respond to our Bestshore requirements, to score points in the competition for “the best of the best” software developers? What efforts do you make to ensure available qualified resources in a consistent way, and do you have measurable quality concepts to increase skill levels?


Calin: Currently, Fortech enjoys a very good awareness level within our target market and we are more preoccupied to preserve this and define our uniqueness rather than competing to be the best.

As part of our commitment to long-term collaborations, we have traditionally invested in both internal and external learning programs to support the development of technical skills and soft skills. Our comprehensive strategy includes high-school mentorship programs, internships, pre-employment training as well as international conferences on business and tech trends for our employees. Internally, we strive to offer our employees an appropriate context for learning, a coaching network, interaction spaces with the leadership team as well as prototyping & innovation opportunities via well-structured initiatives.


Bernd: To ensure a high service quality from the beginning, we integrate our German Service Management throughout the whole period of a nearshore project.


What do you value most about the collaboration with ServiceFactum, especially with regard to the local Service Management of ServiceFactum?


Calin: For us, the Service Manager of ServiceFactum is like a guide who keeps the balance between the client`s requirements and strengthens the performance of our team. We see him as a strong and competent partner to find the best solutions in mutual agreement with the end-customer and lead the whole collaboration to success.


Bernd: Yes, at any time! In particular, the Service Manager needs to manage the critical success factors to mitigate and overcome the spatial, temporal and cultural challenges that arise as part of international development projects. Communication and interaction are very important motors in our collaboration to reach the utmost service quality. As a supervising instance, the Service Manager is present to accompany the process competence, the cooperation competence, the social competence and the engineering design competence of the team. The cooperation with you and your teams is characterized by trust and mutual support. Our communication is always clear, transparent and open.


Calin: Yes, that`s true. The Service Manager keeps an eye on proceedings and considers the current and future relationship situation, the lineup of the human resources and makes problems transparent. We bring in our whole experience from dozens of projects in different constellations and respond flexibly when encountering difficulties.


Bernd: This is also the reason our collaboration is reliable, satisfactory and fun. Over several years, we both have built up a mutual long-term strategic partnership and I appreciate you as a person whose word is more than a contract. Your demeanor reflects the philosophy of your company. Thank you for the interview!


The interview was conducted by Bernd Wandt

ServiceFactum – 5 years of international cooperation



Performing the digital future – with passion and entrepreneurial spirit


On the international stage of nearshore and offshore software development, integration, transfer of knowledge and cultural exchange take place every day when our clients in Germany work together with our development centers in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India.


When, for example,

  • the client directly involves the external team’s leader in appointment decisions,
  • the client asks the external expert to come to Germany to coordinate on important issues,
  • the client learns from external experts how “process improvement” works in agile projects,
  • the client appoints the expert on the external team to team leader for special subjects,
  • a member of an international team visits her client while on vacation and friendships and shared leisure activities develop at the staff level,
  • a client combines the meeting with an offshore partner in India with a vacation and Ayurvedic treatment to get to know the country and its people better,
  • international teams are invited to attend the opening of the new domestic offices,
  • the client sponsors the external team’s social events,

intercultural dynamics are generated and can be observed in the form of increased motivation and improved quality.


With the help of a little anecdote, we would like to illustrate how international cooperation generated dynamics for the company and all involved.


You learn something new every day…


The staff at the head office complains about the international software engineering team because it is using methods and practices that differ from the ones utilized previously in-house. When this comes to the attention of the director, he asks the international team to explain in the staff newsletter which agile approach it picked as a Scrum Team. After all, it is the team’s responsibility to decide which methods and practices should be implemented to achieve the best possible result. The team explained which agile model it chose, which obstacles had to be overcome and how the scrum process was adapted to the project requirements. The article was met with great interest. With ServiceFactum’s service manager acting as a moderator, the Scrum Team received many questions through the company blog. This helped dispel prejudices. The director laughs and at the next opportunity, he remarks in front of the gathered staff: “You learn something new every day. In this way, we were able to look over an agile team’s shoulder and watch them work.”


This and numerous other international encounters enabled growth on a personal and professional level, improved professionalism and formed a solid foundation for trusting long-term cooperation.


Excerpt from interview on 5th corporate anniversary


Bernd Wandt, director and co-founder of ServiceFactum GmbH, Herrsching, 21. Sept. 2016


“When Harry Straßer and I, both former senior managers at reputable ITC companies, decided to start our own company five years ago on the basis of a successfully completed client project, what started out as a bold idea grew into a strategic concept. We were convinced that small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, would value our expertise, comprehensive support and our unique portfolio of international sites. Of course we encountered various challenges during the start-up phase. In the meantime, however, we have entered a period of stable growth and we have had the pleasure of shaping inspiring international relationships.


In the future, we will increase our focus on innovative areas such as digitization, mobility and the Internet of Things. There will be a tremendous demand for software development in this area. Our vision remains to enable our customers to leverage globally distributed software development with ease.


As you can tell, we are looking forward to a digital future and hope to inspire that same enthusiasm in you and others as well.”

Service Management as practiced at ServiceFactum




With the specific requirements of start-ups and software companies, agencies and IT service providers in mind, we leveraged our many years of experience in outsourcing and offshoring to define and implement globally distributed software development. We call it “BestShoring by Experts“.

We realized, that the offshoring of our software development tasks to other countries and regions would require the implementation of a “link” to ensure contracts are performed with consistently high quality. It would be necessary to thoroughly overseethis important and broad spectrum between customer loyalty in collaboration withdiverse people from other countries and cultures.

A proactive Management Function provided by ServiceFactum to ensure that allparties involved are working towards a common goal. A Function that both our clientsand our developers can always access. Today’s buzzword in the rapidly changing ITtechnology and software development landscape is „Engagement“.

We call this Function: Service Management

Service Management presents diverse challenges. It starts with building a success-oriented communication and relationship management. It is responsible foroperational management during Service Integration, as well as for continuing
strategic project controlling. This contribution to all “levels of leadership andmanagement“ is accompanied by extensive expertise (among others, IT & business thinking and activities, key performance indicators, decision-making…)

Sociability and an understanding of our client’s needs are the hallmarks of ourService Management. The service manager is a dedicated individual with a deepunderstanding of the client’s needs. He takes ownership of customer care, customerretention, contract fulfillment and customer satisfaction. He has the ability toincorporate the client’s thinking into our own corporate thinking. He has an empathicpersonality!

A Service Management that coordinates and operates internationally requirescomprehensive abilities to find solutions to even the most difficult situations to ensuresuccessful implementation.

Of course Service Management makes use of “tools” such as the ITIL processes. It also handles planning, coordinating reviews and report generation for projects andcontracts. It is familiar with and utilizes all established software tools necessary toenable successful distributed software development.

In day-to-day operations, our business is diverse. Projects always include riskassessment, risk monitoring and escalation.

In light of this extensive expertise, the decisions involved in preselecting theBestShore location and the team tasked with implementation, as well as anexperienced project management, are crucial to the success of a project.

Empathic interaction with people from diverse countries and cultural backgrounds is always a challenge when it comes to implementing an effective and successfulService Management. We love this challenge!

The BestShore Strategy from ServiceFactum


Outsourcing software development tasks to other (usually far-off) countries and regions offers clear benefits: Availability and scalability of highly qualified developers, experience in new technologies and also significant cost advantages at comparable qualifications level. If the decision is based on costs alone without consideration of quality, productivity and operational risks, the implementation is usually more expensive than planned and collaboration proves difficult. The BestShoring approach employed by ServiceFactum promises a solution for the process of selecting a suitable development location for a specific task and finding the right developer.



According to A.T. Kearney1 (The purchasing check board, see http://www.einkaufsschachbrett.de ), the “BestShoring” approach as part of a professional purchasing strategy involves the comprehensive assessment of the question in which region or country a particular product should be produced or a particular service should be provided. Basically, there are three different types of BestShoring:


Onshore” means the provision or production of a service (or parts of a service) in the same region with a similar cost structure. From a European perspective, that would mean the Western European countries.


  • The second option is “Nearshore“. This involves the production of a product in a region that is close in terms of both geography and culture, but offers major cost advantages. From a Western European perspective, that would mean primarily the Eastern European countries.
  • Finally, there is “Offshore“, which involves transferring the production of products or services to a geographically distant region. Traditional off-shoring countries include India, China, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Based on a task specified by the client, ServiceFactum performs a two-step BestShoring evaluation of the most suitable location and most suitable developers.


In the first step, ServiceFactum has already selected and qualified suitable development locations for specific tasks from the multitude of global providers using a “Request for Information” (RfI). In doing so, ServiceFactum focuses on the following topics: software products, cloud software, desktop software, mobile software, embedded software and web applications.


Based on many years of outsourcing and off-shoring experience, ServiceFactum already applies comprehensive criteria at this stage. In addition to cost effectiveness, they also include the assessment of service and quality levels:


  • The cost effectiveness analysis should include a detailed consideration of all relevant personnel costs, taking into account not only actual salaries/wages and payroll deductions, but also the availability of qualified personnel, productivity and the simulation of possible wage cost increases. Experience shows that above all, the effort to manage the resources in the new region and the transfer of expertise are underestimated in the cost effectiveness
    analysis.
  • For ServiceFactum, service and quality are of paramount importance. The difficulties involved in managing service and quality over great distances and across cultural divides must be considered, as they require special effort in implementation. Among others, tasks that require a high degree of coordination are usually provided by onshore resources, while more self-contained tasks are executed in nearshore or offshore regions.
  • When it comes to evaluating a location, potential warranty claims are of special significance
    for start-ups or product manufacturers. This is where huge differences in the international legal framework exist. If damage claims can jeopardize the existence of a business, this issue is crucial.

Ultimately, the BestShoring strategy also includes the analysis of potential risks, which should be taken into account and must be evaluated. These include difficult and emotionally charged transfer of expertise, high staff turnover, political instability and the danger of bundling risk at one location.


In the second and final step, ServiceFactum evaluates very distinct customer-specific criteria for the final selection of a suitable development location. These aspects are individually agreed upon with the customer and include, among others:


  • Based on the specific requirements of software companies, start-ups, agencies and IT service
    providers, development locations and business cultures suitable for globally distributed
    software development are defined and compared accordingly.
  • Previous experience in the specific technology fields required is compared to the profiles of
    specific developers that are available. This also leads to individual interviews and the selection of suitable developers that have the appropriate communication skills needed for interacting with clients.
  • At the same time, the availability of the developer is assured so that the project can be
    implemented within the time frame desired by the client. The client’s time-to-market requirements are already factored into the selection process at an early stage.
  • Finally, scalability to accommodate special situations or extensions represents another
    criteria.

ServiceFactum then compiles the most suitable team of developers from 12 selected Best-in-Class development locations or implements turnkey projects including design (UX/UI), development and testing with the help of individually selected and available developers. This results in increased customer satisfaction and provides relief for customer management, while increasing performance and the ability to compete in terms of quality, time to market and cost effectiveness.

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