CodeHQ – why innovation matters
CodeHQ is a Kiwi software development business with offices in New Zealand and Vietnam. Co-founder and Director Mitchell Pham and Co-founder and CEO Peter Vile talk to us about the company’s evolution and what the future holds.
Can you tell us a bit about CodeHQ and how it all started?
Mitchell: It started in the mid-90s, when Peter, three of our classmates and I were working on a joint coding project in our final year of Auckland Uni. We worked exceptionally well together and had a knack for problem-solving. With the tech industry about to explode, we could foresee a shortage of software developers in New Zealand (with other countries having a surplus). We saw a unique business opportunity.
That’s why in 1993, we established Augen Software Group, designed to help New Zealand businesses grow through outsourced software development. From the original five co-founders, there are two of us remaining in the business, with Peter as CEO and me as Director. Our business has transformed over the past nearly 30 years, so to better reflect our new vision and evolved service offering, we also made the decision to rebrand to CodeHQ this year.
Many businesses are reluctant to outsource, what are some benefits of using offshore talent?
Peter: There’s always been a lot of negative stigma associated with using offshore talent, but at CodeHQ, we know that outsourcing has a crucial role in New Zealand’s tech ecosystem. With strong STEM education system overseas and a large pool of qualified developers, tailored outsourcing gives us access to high-quality developers with substantial experience.
Offshore developers also have unique and advanced skillsets with the ability to use a variety of coding languages and platforms. By combining offshore talent and onshore expertise, we remove many of the barriers that local businesses often face and help them develop the software their customers and shareholders really want them to. We call it Scale on Demand.
What is unique about CodeHQ’s offering, how is CodeHQ helping businesses scale offshore quicker?
Peter: Our most unique offering at CodeHQ is our innovative business model, which combines local expertise with offshore scale. Instead of using faceless contractors overseas, as many do, we own our branch in Vietnam and run a ‘one business in two markets’ model. This means we have great retention of quality talent which of course benefits our clients.
We also give businesses easy access to experienced development teams who deliver high-quality projects. We achieve this by working as a team with the businesses we collaborate with, offering not just resource but also expertise and experience running successful projects and delivering great outcomes for our clients.
What are the advantages of operating across two countries (i.e. Vietnam / NZ)?
Mitchell: For almost thirty years, CodeHQ has grown as a business and adapted to the changing demands of both our customers and the tech industry. 16 years ago we opened our Vietnam office as we saw an opportunity to further enhance the software delivery capacity for New Zealand businesses in a market with a huge pool of quality software development talent.
There are many advantages to our ‘one team across two markets’ approach, where we operate across both Vietnam and New Zealand. Having some of the CodeHQ team based in Vietnam provides us with more exposure to innovative software, encouraging us to constantly be thinking of new ways to improve both our services and the way we operate. With Vietnam having a larger pool of qualified developers, this means that unlike other New Zealand businesses, we can hire skilled workers with a minimum of five years’ experience in the industry and stand full squads up in a matter of weeks.
Can you tell us about some of the projects you’ve been working on recently?
Peter: Over the years, we’ve worked on such a wide range of applications for clients across pretty much every business category you could think of. A recent example from the world of retail was when we joined the digital transformation programme for one of NZ’s largest retail and distribution businesses. We designed and built cross-platform mobile apps that integrate with more than 60 on-prem retail ERP instances to help the business with critical back-office and warehouse/yard functions such as improving stock count, receipting and returns.
Mitchell: Another recent project we undertook was the development of an integration platform for a major utilities business. The solution we built receives and processes reactive maintenance tickets and coordinating preventative maintenance programmes for multiple organisations, automating message flow for 100,000+ messages each day with the business logic and API connections that drive field systems, project management, issue management, contract management, financials and HR systems.
What are some of the biggest barriers preventing businesses from growth or development?
Mitchell: I think we’ve all experienced the knock-on effects of COVID-19, as businesses try to navigate their way through this new world order. What has become apparent is that technology and the development of software is in higher demand than ever as consumers move online and their expectations of the businesses they deal with continue to grow. Combine that with the well-publicised labour shortages and you have a recipe for frustration as demand outweighs supply.
It’s important to note that while COVID-19 has heightened labour shortages, they’ve always existed by virtue of New Zealand being a small country with big aspirations.
When organisations are unable to source talent locally, they may react by simply settling or postponing critical software development. The problem with this is that their competition (local and overseas) aren’t waiting. Which poses a real problem.
How is CodeHQ tackling the IT skill shortage in NZ?
Mitchell: New Zealand has always had a tight software labour market, so COVID-19 and its subsequent border closures pushed the industry to the brink. This has been a huge set-back for businesses as the lack of skilled IT workers means businesses are postponing development. But at CodeHQ, our ‘one team across two markets’ approach has enabled us to connect businesses with experienced developers while the local labour market is stretched. Our presence in Vietnam and ability to outsource has enabled us to remove the traditional constraints that often limit a business’ growth in a timely and cost-effective manner.
This content was supplied to Kea by One Plus One Communications