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Build-Operate-Transfer: How Tech Start-Ups Can Leverage Outside Experts While Maintaining Control

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Build-Operate-Transfer: How Tech Start-Ups Can Leverage Outside Experts While Maintaining Control

Alex Serman • May 31, 2023

Attempting to navigate and stay ahead of a rapidly evolving and disruptive market has forced many technology firms to take on excess overhead. They must build proprietary platforms or commit too quickly to outsourced teams without long-term recourse. Whether your tech firm is a new start-up with limited funding or an experienced tech firm looking to expand solution offerings or enhance product development, there is a more efficient and cost-effective way of developing innovative and disruptive solution offerings. Historically, technology firms have had to choose between maintaining control by building in-house or reducing costs by outsourcing development resources – both of which come with their own unique set of challenges and risks. But what if there was an option to have your cake and eat it too?

The good news is… there IS another option! The BOT (Build-Operation-Transfer) model allows firms to leverage an experienced technology partner without taking on the risks or the overhead of doing everything themselves – all while maintaining complete control over the IP and direction of the product.

What is BOT?
It’s as Easy as 1-2-3

In a nutshell, Build-Operate-Transfer is a partnership and project delivery model that allows a technology firm to expand their service offerings and capabilities by accessing an outside team of expert developers and technology strategists. Under this model, the outside team owns all operational and delivery liability and responsibility, while the technology firm owns all the IP. Here’s how it works:


    The one- to three-month time period of the Build stage is about your BOT partner understanding the unique technology and business needs as well as limitations of the technology firm, which includes developing a deeper understanding of their business model, client expectations, and delivery requirements. All the business and operational risk and responsibility falls on the strategic partner.

    The strategic partner will then scout their network and pool of resources to find the right talent that is tailored to execute all project requirements. The right talent requirements should be a balance of the appropriate experience, knowledge, and ability to commit to a project beyond the duration of the contract. A long-term commitment is a top requirement.


      During the Operate phase, the BOT team will set up the entire infrastructure needed to execute the project. This includes the expert resources, office/real estate, servers, laptops, etc. A strategic process will be defined and implemented to ensure that all necessary components of execution are in place to reach the project’s maturity.

      The BOT team will also serve as a project manager by providing architectural and technology guidance. During this phase, the human is always in the loop and the team chosen for the project may be rotated to ensure the right skillsets are in place to execute the project properly. The goal during this phase is to achieve a sustainable ecosystem and development process to ensure a successful technology deployment.


        During the closing stage of the project, the entire ecosystem, including the technology experts and built-in processes, will be transferred to the client. This is a strategic process to ensure all necessary business and technology requirements are met and delivered. The talent and resources become an asset of the firm to ensure the technology continues to meet and deliver business expectations.

        Why BOT?
        Leverage, Maintain, and Scale

        Leverage Global Talent Pools

          Many skillsets are becoming more difficult to find and retain such as data engineers, data scientists, top-end programmers, and developers. Also, there is a much higher chance of having a mismatch when a firm is balancing a start-up budget with limited access to talent and resources. However, choosing a BOT model allows small or start-up firms access to higher quality talent across the globe at a low cost. After fully understanding the firm’s business and technology needs, the BOT team will then pull from their network of talent and resources to find the perfect combination of experience, knowledge, and retention.

          Maintain Full Control

            While end-to-end responsibility lies on the BOT team during the duration of the contract, during the transfer phase, the firm will gain full legal ownership and control of the technology as well as its assets. The BOT team serves as a guide to help the firm create an internal technology capability and service offering until they gradually hand over control and withdraw themselves from the project. The team of experts that were hired to execute the project are a part of the assets that the firm acquires to ensure ongoing success and that the technology continues to fit the business and client needs.

            Scale and Expand Digital Offerings

              Due to the ability to shift the strategy and execution to an outside firm and leverage their mature development engine, the executives and internal resources of the firm are able to focus on running the business instead of onboarding and guiding projects forward. The BOT team’s technical knowledge is focused on ensuring that the technology and processes are optimized to enhance efficiency and productivity, as well as allow the firm to provide their service offerings to clients at scale.

              Choosing the Right Vendor

              When choosing a BOT team, there should be a combination of criteria that your firm considers priority, including: industry expertise, transparency, ability to demonstrate value in delivering the scope of the project, a shown commitment to strategic innovation, and last but not least, knowledge of your firm.

              It is obvious that considering a BOT model approach to enhance your service offering can provide your firm with strategic and market-leading technology without sacrificing quality or time to value. As a leader in the technology development space, First Rate has helped many firms with BOT tech strategy, product design, implementation, and transition of ownership. Contact us today to learn how we can help your firm maintain control while expanding digital offerings.