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Are some companies falling behind and how to even the software playing field


The reorganization of organizations

Partially because of the pandemic, and partially because of trends that were in place before the pandemic, the biggest companies in the world have been getting bigger in the past 18 months. Mid-sized and small companies, especially those that require brick-and-mortar locations to provide their services, have been struggling. 

There are a few different reasons for this. It’s important to note that this is not just because of COVID; in 2018, The Wall Street Journal was explaining that big companies get bigger, faster because of how they work with technology. 

This is the common argument -- that smaller and mid-sized companies are falling behind because they don’t have a good approach to digital transformation. When done right, digital transformation can mean:

  • Intelligent business applications
  • Streamlined business processes
  • Improved efficiency and productivity
  • Optimized operations and automation
  • Product and service innovation
  • Improved communication
  • Reduced costs
  • Superior analytics
  • More informed and faster decision making
  • Improved market penetration

Those are the advantages that you want, and big companies chase them as much as small companies do. How can a smaller company scale into a bigger company, then?

One approach is agile methods and Rapid Application Deployment

Deloitte has written extensively about this, noting that software development needs to change in a few key ways for smaller firms. Notably:

  • Welcome changing requirements from customers
  • Incorporate iterative elements into the life cycle in order to proactively anticipate changes to requirements and design of initial prototype
  • Implement a disciplined project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation while reducing rigorous documentation and process controls
  • Provide frequent and tested and working versions of the product to facilitate feedback from customers
  • Promote teamwork and establish a collaborative working environment to facilitate continuous communication

Basically, what’s being described here is a move away from the waterfall method towards more agile methods for software development, including RAD, or Rapid Application Development. Deloitte actually did a project recently with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, and used a RAD approach instead of a traditional dev approach. The benefits were obvious, and fast:

  • Decreased overall time to deployment and life cycle costs for application development efforts
  • Worked with TSA IT leadership to modify application deployment process to provide additional flexibility around application development timeframes
  • Supported development activities for 30+ applications
  • Through highly visible wins, the team has provided the IT organization with a reputation for responsiveness to its customers

Get quicker, be able to take feedback from clients faster, save money with less fixes, and see quicker ROI into market. Basically: speed up, reduce cost, and improve quality. That’s how you level the playing field.

But what if our current developers can’t support this approach?

Get an outsourced team, ideally using a “Team Extension” model where the outsourced team folds into your team. Then you get the expertise of the outsourced team -- and they’ve worked on agile methodologies and RAD projects before, so they know how to hit the ground running -- and you save on costs while gaining value. Hiring and internal team development are risky with how quickly the software world is moving. Outsourcing makes sense, especially when cost positions were so confused in 2020.

If you’re considering this and want to know what types of characteristics you should look for in an outsourced team, consult our checklist:

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