Although the company is still very small as compared to other international players or international corporations, we realized that the company has still room to develop further its HR policies as well as its corporate policies. As an example, management has realized that they do not have developed a formal appraisal all across the corporation, and thus are now trying to standardize the process for at least Europe and will try to apply that also to India.
RelQ realized that it was much easier to acquire a company or a small operation in France than opening a new office from scratch. It was cheaper and besides they had the right opportunity at the right time. This enabled RelQ to get an operation with good initial IT Engineers, although some changes were to be made. Another reason is that to open a new office required a long time to set up, i.e. choosing the premises, hiring the right people, interviewing, etc. They also realized that is was worth having French speakers doing the relationship management directly in France, due largely to cultural barriers. Main barrier, as mentioned by the Managing Director, is by all means the language. While in the majority of the cases, English is a very international business language (a standard for the industry), in France it is prevails the language barrier strongly. An effective communication in a marketplace could mean a successful business model, thus they adapted their strategy and decided to have local staff in France. This way it was possible to have a good management from inside the country hand-in-hand with the client and have on-time responsiveness. Finally, since RelQs has Testing labs in India, it is easier to complement their operations (higher costs in France) with a very good and cheaper processing from India. The model imposes a good response from the local staff –in this case in France- which has to know its counterpart in the Testing Lab. In addition, it is foreseen an increasing customer relationship management for the local representative in order to increase the business. The company withdrew from Belgium and the Netherlands due to the world’s economic environment: since there was a slowdown in the economy, lower demand for certain products did not justified having these offices opened anymore. Moreover, they could handle some good relationships from the UK or even from India since the language was not a strong barrier such as in France.
Engineers or current employees are normally IT engineers. While this is a basic requirement for the job, the employees have had to become more specialized in the Testing jobs or tasks. Moreover, they have many engineers in India solely committed to this type of work, which has enabled to company to grow more and more. The company do not have yet implemented a formal appraisal for its employees. When asked about this aspect, Mr. Hughes acknowledges that since the company is quite new, has not been able to develop further these type of HR practices. Moreover, in the UK and partly in France they do have a regular feedback process among different levels of subordinates and managers. Nonetheless, they look forward to implement a regular feedback process that will be formally advice to each employee of the company, including regular periods and dates fixed upfront by management. Moreover they are looking also to establish within the appraisal process, formal goals, such as revenues per employee, weaknesses and strengths and area to improve by training. They expect to have that implemented for the whole of Europe and then export that also to India and the rest of the corporation.
Again, as seen in other countries, with the acquisition of International Testing, RelQ realized that they would have to train its employees and adapt the local staff more into the testing framework applied by RelQ with all its customers worlwide. One of the values that RelQ could not export to its French operation was the language. RelQ adapted this value to enter a new market. This adaptability is fundamental to operate in new markets, especially in France. This can become one of their most important assets to keep growing the business. According to the Head of International Testing, a particularity of France and its people (perhaps a value that could be assessed either as good or as bad) is that they perceive themselves as different and unique among the European countries (at least the ones that have same economical status, such as UK or Germany). As advised, French people look at themselves as very creative and thus leader in many aspects within the EU. As a result, there is a natural rivalry with UK for instance, since both are perceived as following same patterns or behaviors. On the other hand, since Germany is somehow the opposite (very formal and less creative) it does not create a conflict of interest in their commercial relationships. On the contrary, Germans in that sense are more a natural commercial partner, as they do not compete in the same cultural aspects.
According to Mr. Fournier, although the reduction to 35 hours from 38 hours, had two effects. In principle, companies stopped new recruitment and therefore people had to start delivering the same work or tasks in shorter shifts. The second visible effect is that companies, especially small and medium sized companies with more skilled workforce adjusted their production needs in consultation with their employees, i.e. making work more flexible for the company (employer) as well as for the employee. As a result, now International Testing has periods when workload is low and thus the company offers to their employees to take more days off. On the contrary, when the company is overloaded (i.e. picks of work) they arrange with the employee to work more hours during the week, but maintaining the average of working hours, and give them more holidays. As a matter of facts, depending on the level of employee the give additional holidays that he/she has to take during the fiscal year. Otherwise they lose this benefit. It is a way of compensation for its employees.
Best in France Case Study 25 December 2003 By: Carl Chevillon, Benjamin Hughes, Charles Monteux and Roberto Simpson
What’s is RelQ business? <ul><li>RelQ is an Independent Software Testing, Validation & Verification (V&V), and Quality Assurance (QA) services company. </li></ul><ul><li>It is an IT consultancy group. </li></ul><ul><li>Revenues of RelQ Europe is of approximately USD1 million monthly (almost 60% of total revenues of RelQ), of which International Testing currently represents between 10% to 15%. </li></ul><ul><li>The company currently has more than 550 engineers in USA, UK, France, Japan and India. </li></ul><ul><li>RelQ has successfully setup Dedicated Offshore Test Labs at Bangalore for various Clients. These Test Labs are physically secured and equipped with state-of-the-art Infrastructure. </li></ul><ul><li>RelQ has experience in testing applications in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enterprise & e-biz applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VLSI / ASIC verification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Banking, Finance & Insurance Software Games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real Time, Embedded system, DSP applications related to Automotives, Railways, Medical electronics. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aerospace & Safety Critical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test Automation </li></ul></ul>
What’s is RelQ business? <ul><li>RelQ's V&V Professionals bring in strong Domain Expertise, Project Management and Test Strategizing skills to ensure quality of development and timely roll-outs of applications. Technology expertise include several software such as Microsoft and SUN Technologies, XML and Oracle, in various Operating Environments like Windows, Unix, HP-UX, AIX and Linux. </li></ul><ul><li>The company also offers test automation services such as </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Functionality Testing (Automation of regression test suite), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance Testing (Load testing, Stress testing, Volume testing, Reliability & Scalability testing), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Security Testing (Installation testing, Vulnerability testing, Security implementation assessments, Designing security policy, Intrusion detection / authentication, Secure web servers / firewalls / VPNs, Anti hacking / anti-virus and Security policies / e-mail policies), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test Management (Design & management of Test plan, Test scenarios, Test cases, Test execution & Defect reporting). </li></ul></ul>
RelQ’s business <ul><li>RelQ has expertise in testing a wide variety of Games. For example, Sport Games, Racing Games, Action Games, Adventure Games, Arcade Games, Strategic Games and Role Playing Games. </li></ul><ul><li>Console Games (Sony PS1, PS2, Microsoft's Xbox, Nintendo's Game Boy Advance and Game Cube): PC Games, PDA Games, Internet Games, Mobile Phones Games </li></ul><ul><li>RelQ's Game Testing Centres are equipped with a full range of the latest debug units from the leading consoles manufacturers such as Microsoft's Xbox; Sony's PSOne and PS2; Nintendo's Game Boy Advance and Game Cube. </li></ul><ul><li>The services offered for Games Testing by RelQ are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compatibility Testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Functional Testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gameplay Testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Localisation Testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Submission Testing </li></ul></ul>
Why RelQ? <ul><li>We decided to target RelQ since they are a small company, pushing to become a really international enterprise. </li></ul><ul><li>Due to its business model, RelQ has to naturally cope with several cultures, different commercial relationships and different legal frameworks or environments, which is forcing the company to adapt their HR practices. </li></ul>
Why the company came to France <ul><li>RelQ bought International Testing in France in 2002, to tackle new markets and businesses. </li></ul><ul><li>The acquisition of International Testing was the “Ticket de Entrée” to French market, as advised by its Managing Director. </li></ul><ul><li>Complement their business in Europe and take advantages of their synergies. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a natural extension of their business, especially having labs in India to support their operations. </li></ul><ul><li>As stated by the Managing Director of RelQ Europe, the move is aimed at attaining permanent presence in France and thus achieve a stable flow of revenues in Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>The reason behind this acquisition is to explore and open further the market in France and grow easier by this way. </li></ul><ul><li>The company is looking forward to expand its operation in Europe, due to its size, strategic location and technological environment. </li></ul><ul><li>RelQ also considers expanding to other locations within Europe. Indeed the company had operations also in Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland. </li></ul><ul><li>At present, the company withdrew from Belgium and the Netherlands due to the world’s economic environment. </li></ul>
RelQ’s values <ul><li>Since RelQ was founded in 1998, it has not yet developed to many values for the corporation worldwide, that could export from one country to another. </li></ul><ul><li>However, one of the core values of RelQ, is related to their business practices: they want to deliver professionalism (speed and efficiency) to all their work. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-formal value revealed by its managers is the ability to manage with different cultures in order to implement a project, i.e. testing labs are actually located in India, while the customer is somewhere else. </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally RelQ has focused on the Transfer of Information from / to each client (project requirements) to/ from its Testing labs in India. </li></ul><ul><li>RelQ has been able to develop a single business model, based on a single language (English). </li></ul><ul><li>The company has trained its employee to become very specialized in what they do. </li></ul>
RelQ’s values <ul><li>The French subsidiary has been able to apply the business model of RelQ with its French customers. (i.e. have Testing labs in India). </li></ul><ul><li>International Testing has specialized its staff to become more Testing Engineers than IT Engineers only (it has different skill requirements and training). </li></ul><ul><li>It has not been possible to adopt English as a formal language to work with French customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Moreover, this is one of the main barriers to do business in France. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural knowledge of doing business in France is required. </li></ul><ul><li>Technical skills for project management and relationship management are better in France (compared to India for instance). </li></ul>
Services in France <ul><li>RelQ, through International Testing, mainly provides “testing” services. </li></ul><ul><li>International Testing used to have multimedia and internet software testing, nevertheless due to economic environment (specially in the IT and the crash in the Internet sector) the company decided to stay mainly in businesses where they have clear strengths / efficiencies. </li></ul><ul><li>As a result of the above, the company in France shrink its size from almost 13 employees to only 6 employees. </li></ul><ul><li>In line with economic recovery, the French subsidiary expects to increase the numbers of employees soon. </li></ul><ul><li>The objective of this subsidiary is to have a local representation in France to ease relationship and improve their contact with local customers. </li></ul><ul><li>International Testing has been able to turn around results from the acquisition and increase revenues in 50% as compared to previous period. </li></ul>
Company's clients <ul><li>RelQ has global clients worldwide in many different areas (Banking industry, IT providers, etc.) Some well known clients are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Citigroup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vodaphone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Palm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In France, International Testing has a long list of clients of which can mention the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Atari (electronic games developer), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credit Agricole </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minescape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>France Telecom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ADPGFI </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vivendi Education </li></ul></ul>
Constraints in France <ul><li>The main constraint was the language (English versus French). </li></ul><ul><li>Other differences have been met since the acquisition of International Testing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher labor barriers (35 hours versus 38 hours in other countries) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexibility to lay off people and rehire them on booming periods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Although not excessive as compared to other European countries, France has higher wages. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Licencement Economic” (firing process with a pre-advice period of 3 months at least) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Having compared France with the rest of Europe, according to Mr. Hughes, it is not the worst country to work in, although it is a difficult one, mainly in terms of legal framework. </li></ul><ul><li>As compared to India, in general Europe is by all means less flexible in terms of labor (salaries, benefits, vacations, etc). </li></ul>
Adaptation to France <ul><li>First, the company reduced the number of employees (due to a withdrawal of a business not wanted). </li></ul><ul><li>Secondly, specialization of job functions (in France, IT engineers are less engaged in IT testing as opposed to other countries such as the UK). </li></ul><ul><li>Business model was adapted: before all testing and developments were done in France, whereas after the acquisition all testing are done in its majority in India but leaded by French project managers (team leaders located in the customer’s country). </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on the client, International Testing bring Indian employees to know the customer and get acquainted of its necessities. </li></ul>
Key Constraint Costs <ul><li>As advised, comparing France to other locations in Europe, they have found similar constraints in terms of costs. </li></ul><ul><li>Dismissing is relatively more expensive in France than UK or Belgium. Higher amount of days of advice. </li></ul><ul><li>Comparing France with India, labor cost is much higher. For instance, the relative cost of an employee in India is 20% of that of a French employee (engineer). </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced working hours (35 versus 38 in other European countries). </li></ul>
Key Benefit of being in France <ul><li>Close contact with the final client and the project management. </li></ul><ul><li>French culture tents to be somehow different from other European cultures, therefore you have to have French managers to develop a strong relationship with the customer. </li></ul><ul><li>Although testing labs are located in India, French engineers have higher skills and better management skills, even than those in UK sometimes. </li></ul><ul><li>Management of project is better performed by its local representatives than from a remote location. </li></ul><ul><li>Higher visibility of the company in France and higher speed of reaction for their customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Higher satisfaction of their clients: permanent contact with local representatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite less working hours (35 hours), Mr. Fournier advised that French workers are becoming more productive (has reduced inefficiencies at work place) as compared to the rest of Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees are becoming more flexible in the working journeys. </li></ul>
Essential Advice <ul><li>According to both, Mr. Hughes and Mr. Fournier, French culture is different than that of other European countries. Thus it has to be treated / attended accordingly by local expertise who is capable of understanding this differences. </li></ul><ul><li>France wants to be different. They want to be leaders and creative at the same time, so they compete with other European countries (such as UK). </li></ul><ul><li>There is certain rivalry with other English speaking countries (UK for instance) and thus it is very difficult to sell from abroad without encountering natural barriers by French clients. </li></ul>
We Thank <ul><li>Mr. Guillaume Fournier, Head of France Operation, </li></ul><ul><li>INTERNATIONAL TESTING 115, rue d'Aboukir PARIS 75002 Tel: + 33 (1) 40 13 81 82 Fax: + 33 (1) 40 13 82 </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. David Hughes, Managing Director of RelQ Europe and RelQ India, Salisbury, UK RelQ Europe Ltd. Units 24-25, Barnack Business Centre Blakey Road, Salisbury Wiltshire SP1 2LP United Kingdom Tel : +44-(0)1722-341 168 Fax : +44-(0)1722-421 475 </li></ul>
Our Team <ul><li>Carl Chevillon, 48 rue de Meudon, Boulogne, 92100 France </li></ul><ul><li>Benjamin Hughes, Residence Expansiel, 1, Rue de la Liberation, Jouy-en-Josas, 78350 France </li></ul><ul><li>Charles Monteux, Residence Expansiel, 1, Rue de la Liberation, Jouy-en-Josas, 78350 France </li></ul><ul><li>Roberto Simpson, 24 Rue du Vieux Versailles, 78000 Versailles, France </li></ul>