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Why Thomas Cook extended their teams

Who is Thomas Cook?

The Thomas Cook Group is one of the world’s leading leisure travel groups. It operates in no less than 21 countries worldwide. To allow everyone to work together, the company wants to set up one uniform platform between all countries.

How Thomas Cook started their nearshore outsourcing

Thomas Cook has about 30% full time employees and 70% consultants from various companies.

“We decided to replace some of our consultants with a nearshore team. We started with 2 people — a senior and a medior developer. Since then, we’ve grown to a team of 35 to 40 people in different profiles”

says Kristof Caekebeke, Head of Development Omni-Channel at Thomas Cook Group.

Different skills are now part of the entire team:

  • a development team
  • Java
  • .NET
  • a test team and
  • special skills such as sales force, access, data warehouse and even assistants.

All Thomas Cook websites for Belgium and The Netherlands are built, tested and managed by this nearshore team.

“We have got the business knowledge and we coordinate the entire process. We started working for the E-commerce Center of Excellence (ECE). They are responsible for the global Thomas Cook websites. The objective is to set up one unique platform for Thomas Cook worldwide.”

Outsourcing, nearshoring, offshoring or right shoring?

It’s all relative — in this case, we decided on nearshoring. After an extensive audit, we decided together with the thomas Cook team to build the entire team.
We assisted them in the recruitment process from the start: screening, interviews and setup of the international team.

“We built the entire team”, explains Kristof. “This means they really feel connected to Thomas Cook. Plus, because we selected them ourselves, they are better fit for the job. Truly capable people that don’t just accept everything unquestioningly, but also think for themselves.”

The Thomas Cook website is a huge commitment — in peak season they reach about 300 to 400.000 visitors per day.

“Our people even work in weekend and evening shifts”, says Kristof. “It’s necessary to have a team that’s committed.
If you have a look at the iceberg of nearshoring and offshoring: everyone thinks it’s cheaper, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you take into account all costs — the team is not committed, the communication goes awry, mistakes are being made, …”

“That’s where Alumnos comes in”, states Kristof. “They awaken the client of this issue. Whether your team is located in Brussels and Ghent or in Kiev, that’s no different.
Companies are becoming more and more international, especially in small countries like Belgium, but that shouldn’t be an issue. You just need to adjust your company on an organizational level.”

The local support in nearshore outsourcing

We set up a team that is truly integrated into your local organization. They keep an eye on the quality, not only on a human level but also on the results delivered. The end product always prevails.

“If you look at the Thomas Cook website: we used to have 10 high priority incidents per day, a number that is now brought back to about 7 or 8 per week”, says Kristof. “Everything is being thoroughly tested, which assures higher quality.”

Alumnos is now responsible for expanding and supporting the Thomas Cook nearshore team.

“We don’t need to do this, Alumnos coordinates everything”, explains Kristof. “They are, so to speak, the missing link between the local and nearshore team; they assure continuity and make sure everything runs smooth. And that’s exactly their added value.”