We talked to Philip Lew on how XBOSoft is helping transform its clients’ software quality management process to save their time and money.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Philip Lew: We’re “Stayin’ Alive,” as the BeeGees would put it. We are staying mostly at home, eating from home, working at home. Going outside for exercise is about it.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded XBOSoft.
Philip Lew: I founded our Company, XBOSoft in 2006, mostly by accident. I quit my previous firm, and my clients wanted to follow me to whatever company I joined. When I said I’d started my own company, they said OK, we’re going with you.
How does your XBOSoft innovate?
Philip Lew: We are a services company, so our innovation comes from new ways of dealing with clients, new business models, new pricing mechanisms, and new methodologies for the technical services we provide. To encourage such innovation, we have innovation awards for our staff who discover a new tool or method to better service our clients.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Philip Lew: So far, our revenue is flat, so luckily, we have not been affected negatively. Since we are a software services company and software continues to drive progress globally, there will always be a need for our services. Luckily our existing clients continue to deliver software and need our expert testing services. We spend conservatively only when required and are in a steady-state until things change.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Philip Lew: We have not visited any current customers, or prospective customers face to face since January 2020. This has affected our ability to win new businesses. We made these choices out of necessity. We’ve learned to be judicious as we advance on when a face to face visit is necessary, which we perhaps emphasized too much in the past. Additionally, with our employees working from home for such a long time, this affects our team spirit as we are working independently. Perhaps, as some companies are doing, we won’t need as much office space as we previously thought.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and XBOSoft in the future?
Philip Lew: Stress comes in many forms; sometimes, we are aware of the stress and sometimes not. While I am usually active on the public speaking circuit at technical conferences worldwide, I have not gone anywhere this year. Initially, this caused anxiety as I thought I’m not contributing to our Company as I should, but I’ve found other ways to contribute. While not the same as before, the New World is different, and I (we) must accept it. The business world will never be the same. Before the pandemic, our Company was already working remote (not onsite) from our clients providing software testing services. That business model, providing software testing services remotely versus onsite, has been strengthened as clients and prospective clients realize onsite is not needed. We will continue this strategy in the future.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Philip Lew: We have competitors around the world, mostly in Eastern Europe and India. While they compete primarily on cost, we have positioned ourselves as a premier software testing service provider. Do you go to Walmart to buy your clothes? If you can afford it, you probably don’t. So as we advance, we will maintain our market position as a premium provider of software testing services focused on customized services, flexibility, and technical expertise.
Your final thoughts?
Philip Lew: The pandemic has many lessons for all of us, both professionally and personally. I think, in both realms, the lesson has been to understand what is most important and focus on those items, critical and near and dear to your heart. For XBOSoft, we continue to focus on keeping our clients more than satisfied as our teams work hard to provide top-notch software testing services with continuous means for improvement and innovation. It is possibly even more important to build upon our unique company culture, which keeps employees engaged and happy while almost eliminating turnover. With many key team members with over ten years of experience in the Company, they know how to service clients and keep them happy.