Professional IT Services Glossary

This is an essential IT & Tech professional services glossary to help you figure out what to say when you’re building your team and help you get exactly the kind of talent your project needs. Why? Well, because if these concepts were unclear for us, most probably they’re hazzy for you too.

Editor’s Note: this article was originally published in [August, 2020] and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

In this glossary we will use the notion of chunking down (presenting information from the most abstract to the most concrete, or from the largest to the smallest). The glossary concepts are organized into three thematic groups, and ordered first by conceptual greatness and, secondly, in alphabetical order.

The IT & Tech services market

Let’s start. First things first, “IT Recruitment Market”. Recruitment, or Recruiting? IT or Tech? Let’s see a quick disambiguation for these nearly interchangeable terms:

Tech vs IT:

Technology (or tech) – usually refers to the development of software in product teams, it is an area with a strong creative tone and very sustained in computer sciences courses.

Information Technology (or IT for short) – it is usually used in reference to internal technical ; MDM management, or network management. It is a comprehensive area that is usually closely related to the external certification of entities such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, F5, etc.

Recruitment vs. Recruiting – these might seem completely interchangeable; but Recruitment corresponds to the process of identifying, collecting and selecting candidates; and Recruiting is the verb that describes the action itself; it’s the act of conducting a “recruitment” process.

Work Models:

Other terms that cause some confusion are Remote Work; Offshore; Nearshore; Onshore; On-site. Many of these expressions come from the oil and gas sector, and are all related to the distance between the client’s project site and the employee’s location.

Remote work – a very kwown concept these days, it is used to describe the work of those who do it as a digital nomad or in a home-office environment. Both Offshore and Nearshore are Remote working models, since by definition they presuppose working remotely. Onshore work can also be remotely.

Offshore – in this case, we consider a greater distance between the location of the client’s project and that of the employee, for example, between the USA and Europe.

Nearshore – it is when the client’s project and the employee are based on different locations but relatively close, as from one European country to another.

Onshore – in this case, both the employee and the client’s project are located in the same country. They may not work in the same physical space (onsite), in which case it is considered a Remote Onshore situation.

Onsite – is when the employee works in the client’s offices. Onsite is always Onshore; this may include periods of Remote Work or not.

Business Relations:

The IT & Tech services area regularly uses unclear jargon that requires a detailed look regarding the business relations at play, let’s see:

Consultancy – a consultancy service presupposes the work of one or more consultants, external to the client. The service of these consultants includes an analysis where the company’s problems are identified and solutions for those same problems are proposed. It is possible to use a consultancy service and subsequently have the proposed solutions implemented via outsourcing or internally within the company.

Outsourcing – is an extremely broad concept; it is defined by using an external source, a supplier, to do a service inherent to your company. In practice, it is a question of outsourcing one area of the business, and placing it in a company that knows how to do this better in order to gain in other areas. Outsourcing can generate more focus, better cash flow, better control of costs, a whole set of benefits.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) – is about using a partner who is responsible for a set of processes. In the case of BPO, we can use a partner who is responsible for accounting; for payroll; for invoicing (eg, “I don’t know how to invoice” and someone takes care of the invoicing of my company, it’s not just an invoicing software); or even the mail processing, we can hire a company that handles the mail.

IT Outsourcing – is when we rely on a supplier, an external partner, to be responsible for an IT area. For example, when we have a cloud area that we don’t dominate and outsource it to a specialized company to set it up and manage that area while we focus on selling and developing our solution. We can outsource security to a security specialist company; or even decide to outsource the technological processes or systems areas. IT Outsourcing can be considered a form of Business Process Outsourcing if what we’re outsourcing is a business process linked to IT. In this case, it’s considered BPO and simultaneously IT Outsourcing.

HR Outsourcing or Outstaffing – in the same line of thought, it’s about outsourcing an area of Human Resources of your company. It’s also possible that this outsourcing is simultaneously HR Outsourcing (or outstaffing) and BPO; for example, if you want to outsource the performance evaluation of your company, despite being HR Outsourcing (or outstaffing), it is also a type of BPO.

Staff Outsourcing (a.k.a. HR Outsourcing; Outstaffing, Staffing; Workforce Outsourcing) –
This is an area that receives many names, which causes some confusion between different business communities. There are countries where simply using the term outsourcing guarantees immediate understanding; however, there are situations in which BPO is well understood and simultaneously applying just the term “outsourcing” does not correspond to IT Staff Outsourcing – in a business process it’s always necessary to clarify these cultural issues.

This is KWAN‘s core business area. Briefly, in a staff or workforce outsourcing process, KWAN, and other similar companies, is dedicated to identifying, selecting, recruiting and delivering the person, the workforce, the staff. In this model, the client subcontracts people to the company providing the service. The company providing the service is not responsible for the software development process or other processes. The responsibility for these processes rests with the customer. The company, in this case, KWAN, is limited to placing the person and to serve both the employee and the client.

Staff Outsourcing, on one hand, is a service for the person, on the other, is a service for the client. KWAN’s role in the process is to manage the person’s motivation and development, so that they keep this job as long as possible, as well as helping the client to manage the person; and ultimately, helping the person to find another project.

KWAN’s role in this process differs from BPO and IT outsourcing in that KWAN is not responsible for any process or client area; does not develop; nor does it technically manage the person. KWAN does career coaching, however, the person’s deliverables are part of the client’s responsibility.

Talent Acquisition Outsourcing (a.k.a. RPO – Recruitment Process Outsourcing; Outstaffing) – is when an external partner is responsible for recruiting the company; it is different from hiring a person for the recruitment area. The partner highlights a specialized recruiter who is responsible for recruiting the company, but who is not placed in the company; it just involves the recruiter and partner’s know-how and network.

So what is KWAN’s area of operation?

In the specific case of KWAN, we outsource IT and Tech people, that is, we do IT Staff Outsourcing, or IT Workforce Outsourcing; but we are not responsible for the clients’ IT area, that is, we do not do IT Outsourcing. We also operate in the area of Talent Acquisition Outsourcing or RPO; that is, we highlight our recruiters to be responsible for the exclusive recruitment of our customers, but we do not do BPO which can involve a panoply of processes inherent to the business.

We are specialists in IT and Tech recruitment and we advocate a recruitment process focused on the candidate’s personal intentions that we follow with our Career Coaching process and we call it “Tech Talent Done Right”.

What is “Tech Talent Done Right”?

We believe in “Tech Talent Done Right”. It’s why KWAN exists. KWAN started because a developer believed there should be a more respectful way of recruiting: Treating people as they deserve. We have development in our DNA. Our founder, Rui Pedro Alves, worked as a developer before starting RUPEAL, our group, where we build our own teams. We have 3 in-house product teams, so we know just how hard it is to get your team right. After 16 years in the recruiting market we’ve been sharing the same growing pains as you.

The KWAN philosophy, inspired by the 1996 film, Jerry Maguire, involves serving the tech professional, the candidate, and our main focus is to find the best professional projects for the people we meet. Our focus is on getting to know the best professionals to present them with the best project, while the rest of the market is more focused on looking for talent to fill clients’ openings. It may seem like a nuance, but when it comes to making difficult decisions, the difference is huge when having in mind the candidates’ benefit.

Our journey starts with getting to know the developer, because we know how it’s like to be approached by every single recruiter in the market without them even knowing who we really are and what we want in life. We believe in a holistic career plan, where balance is key, developers come first and clients follow.

What is KWAN’s Career Coaching like?

Specifically regarding career coaching, we help each candidate individually to enhance their talent and discover the best career path to achieve their professional and personal goals through the best job opportunities.

Our People Managers are a team of career specialists available to discuss professional options and plans to help you and your tech teams to level up with our free Career Coaching service.

Some benefits of working with KWAN as a developer include support in case the client you’re working at enters a lay-off process, as we’ve seen recently. In this case we’ll have your back and help you find another project according to your profile and personal and professional motivations. This support is great for companies too, since we’ll help mediate such a stressful process.

In fact, People Managers can have a huge impact in the employee journey of an IT professional.

KWAN will also help with professional relationship problems with colleagues or superiors as a social coach or mentor, mediating the conflict resolution; examples of such situations are communication problems, workplace bullying, ideology and motivational problems, and power struggles. The role KWAN plays during these mediations is beneficial for both the employee and the company.

Working with KWAN as an employee also puts you in contact with a greater number of projects and professional fields, offering greater flexibility for both the employee in cases where job change is an option, and the client that can seamlessly keep their team up to date in case of turnover or ramp ups.