Most of the articles are in the context of COVID pandemic, and “business continuity” means that you need to keep the lights on, you need to keep paying people with hopefully not too many layoffs, you need to find new revenue streams, and you need to make sure projects are done on-time. And you need to do all this with maybe your team in different places, and accomplishing of it on video calls or conference calls or over a channel like Slack or Discord. That’s what it means right now to most people, and probably deep into 2021 too.
What does “business continuity” mean in more normal, general times?
It refers to the idea of running your business successfully, honestly. That has a lot of different aspects, but it means:
Good products launched on time
Good CSAT scores (customer satisfaction)
Recurring revenue from happy customers
Employees that like working there and feel invested
Low turnover of employees because they like working there
Sales goals being met
Marketing and sales working together well
Operations and logistical goals being met
Executives and senior leaders explaining the strategy and the priorities throughout the year
Payroll being met
Growth every year
If you are doing the majority of these things during “normal” times, that is “business continuity.” It means that year-over-year, both your employees and your customers/clients know what to expect from you. It’s a consistent experience. 2020 is an outlier year for many businesses, so employees (who often have to work from home) and clients (who are adjusting their own priorities and timelines) don’t necessarily expect the same consistency they did in 2018, 2019, etc. They still want you to deliver for them, but we all know 2020 is a different year.
More generally and in more sane years, the above bullet points are what “business continuity” means.
So how does software development outsourcing play into all this about business continuity?
In a few different ways.
Some people believe that if you want continuity, you cannot outsource core functions like software development, because you need a dedicated internal team focusing on that, and a team where the senior leaders know them and feel comfortable interacting with them.
That can be true, but the problem becomes when business pivots or you need to get a new product or launch-ready, and your team:
Companies have become more excited to outsource certain functions over the past 10-15 years because they want a mix of cost and value, and they want to locate the relevant expertise to get them launched on-time and with minimal disruptions and update cycles. They want agile, automated processes for both value-creation and cost containment, and that’s why software development outsourcing has become as popular as it has. It doesn’t hinder business continuity. It ensures it.