The ‘Complete Contractor’: A Development & DBA Contractor without the risk or the limitations
• Looking for a Development or DBA Contractor?
• Evaluating the risk of contracting an individual?
• Why not contract an established company instead?
Explorer have been providing development and DBA services to its customers for almost twenty years and like the majority of technology companies, these services have been provided in the traditional way, in a customer/supplier arrangement, often for defined pieces of work.
By the time one of our customers has approached us, they have already made the decision not to recruit permanent staff or contractors, to cover the required work, for a number of valid reasons.
However, in recent years, Explorer have been getting involved in projects from a much earlier stage, especially with long-standing customers.
Because of this we have been advising on resourcing strategies from the start and what we have realised is that the line between recruiting contract resource and engaging a partner organisation, does not have to be quite so ‘clear-cut’.
There are a number of compelling reasons to recruit contractors and consultants for certain activities and projects.
The driving factor behind this strategy is to maintain flexibility and agility whilst remaining competitive, especially during times of rapid growth.
It is generally the case, that hiring contractors, cuts down on recruitment and administration whilst gaining on-demand access to specific skills for a short period, with relatively low responsibility and commitment from the employer.
Generally the contractor is employed on a short term basis, but occasionally they are kept on a rolling contract basis (as a kind of ‘permatemp’) and can often have more years’ service than many permanent employees.
There are a number of important considerations to keep in mind, for employers that use contracted staff:
- Inflexibility: This is the foremost consideration. A contractor is extremely focussed on what they were brought in to do. Unlike permanent employees, when times are less busy, or there are project delays (during the contract period) it is not usually possible to re-assign a contractor to other duties and unlike working with a service partner organisation, it is not possible to leave the contractor ‘ticking-over’ at no expense to the company, until the workload picks up again.
- Narrowed-Outlook: A contractor is usually strictly assigned to the work they were contracted for and with little-to-no remit to see the ‘bigger picture’ and interest themselves in strategies or contingencies, should something go contrary to the plan. An employee with career aspirations, or a trusted partner organisation, wanting to preserve long-term business, will both be more motivated to make an impression, in this respect.
- Legal & Financial: Advice is needed prior to hiring contractors, to ensure the role is correctly classified as a contractor role, according to tax and employee rights legislation, otherwise strict penalties may be incurred (and each country has different laws to adhere to).
- Cultural: There are inevitable cultural issues associated with introducing another ‘class’ of worker into the organisation. Especially since contractors, for legislative reasons, are often excluded from social and other group activities.
- Threat: The permanently employed workforce may perceive contractors as threat to their own positions.
- Influence: Contractors may discuss their rates with permanent employees and may even encourage regular staff to ‘go contracting’.
- Loyalty: Within the bounds of their contract, contractors can come and go as they please and the result is often a perpetual ‘recruit-replace’ cycle.
- Training: Having to train contractors is sometimes unavoidable. Whilst any education the employer pays for, may build up the CV for the contractor and improve their marketability, but what net benefit will that company receive in the long-term, when the contract ends?
- Resources: In most cases a contractor will need to use your office space and parking space, amongst other resources such as devices, telecoms and transport, all of which are at a premium for many organisations.
- Contingency: If a contractor is off work unexpectedly it is unlikely that someone else can step in immediately. Even if someone could be found, how quickly could they be briefed and up-to-speed? This is also true for permanently employed staff and this is where a partner organisation can have the upper hand.
- Knowledge: The old phrase ‘knowledge is power’ is key, when working with a contractor. From the contractor’s perspective, the more they know, the more the customer becomes dependent upon them. This is a huge risk to any business and usually results in unnecessary individual resource dependency.
The ‘Complete Contractor’ Option
It occurs to Explorer, that once a customer has made the decision to look further afield than their current workforce for a particular requirement, the choice between hiring a freelance contractor or awarding the work to a partner organisation is not necessarily an ‘either/or’ position.
Why can’t a partner organisation represent all of the advantages that a freelance contractor brings and more?
After all, a partner organisation has the economy-of-scale over any individual.
‘Several heads’ are better than one and a group of experts in an organisation can use all of their collective proficiency and experience to consult on a colleagues’ project, even if they are not directly involved, in the same way that a virtual cluster of servers can (at a moment’s notice) apply the processing power, memory and storage of the entire cluster, to one process or another.
With Explorer’s ‘Complete Contractor’ option, our clients have a resource with decades of collective experience in several areas of technology, development, business analysis and project management.
If your project encounters unexpected problems or delays or if extra challenges and requests are added to the programme, at short notice, then Explorer can apply more than one consultant to your project, so that the ‘Complete Contractor’ can effectively be doing the work of more than one person, at any one time.
Moreover, the ‘Complete Contractor’ never takes any planned or unplanned leave.
Case-in-Point: Explorer’s Development & Database Expertise
At Explorer, for instance, we have a group of developer’s with a range of skills and experience in different areas and also a group of database consultants with an equally varied set of specialities and backgrounds, all of which could be called upon if and when needed, for a specific customer project.
In the mean-time, Explorer’s customer only pays for the time and focus of one individual, despite drawing from the experiences and skills of the entire group, as and when required.
At Your Convenience
With this option, our customers do not need to worry about administration and legislation, or about introducing any cultural threats into the organisation and having your employees ‘heads turned’ by anyone who can take them through their potential saleability as contractors in the future.
Every Explorer ‘Complete Contractor’ contract has a dedicated resource for the duration of the engagement with the reassurance that the assigned resource also has a deputy to cover any absence. This completely covers the risk associated with using contractors.
Most importantly, this arrangement can be packaged in the same way that a traditional contractor would charge the client:
• Hourly Rate
• Daily Rate.
• 3, 6 or 12 month duration
Alternatively, the client may want even more flexibility, where certain types of work only need assistance as-and-when required and in this case it could be much more cost-effective to ask for a:
• Services Credit-Pool
The location of work should also be flexible and Explorer would recommend a blend of:
• Remote working
• Onsite working
Credentials of the Explorer ‘Complete Contractor’
Our ‘complete contractor’ boasts the following CV:
• 20 years of experience in project management
• 50 years of Oracle Application Development experience including:
– Oracle APEX
– Oracle Forms
– Business Intelligence (BI)
– Business Analysis
• 45 years of experience in Oracle Database Administration
• Oracle Specialisations in:
– Oracle Database 11g
– Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC)
– Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM)
– Oracle Performance Tuning
– Oracle Application Grid
– Oracle Enterprise Linux
Explorer have recognised that there is a market for presenting our services in a ‘contractor-style’ arrangement, whilst still retaining the benefits of working in partnership.
Effectively, Explorer can now offer a contingent workforce solution, without the effort and risk associated with recruiting individual contractors.
Want to put it to the test, then try us out:
Contact Explorer to discuss how we can package our services, for your particular requirements.
Neil has fulfilled a number of customer-facing roles in the technology industry, from Account Management to Solution Management. He has many years of experience in advising on bespoke solutions, having even been responsible for implementing and configuring timesheet, CRM and project management software in his time. At Explorer, Neil is very focussed on presenting the commercial benefits of the solutions that our development team can provide, with particular emphasis on the Oracle Application Express (APEX) platform.