What matters to companies looking for outsourcing partners?
In Western Europe, recent surveys found five major factors. We wrote about the first one, cost efficiency, last week. Now we are moving to the second factor: flexibility. That factor was cited by almost as many respondents in the survey as “cost.”
What does “flexibility” mean in this context?
It can take a few definitions. When we speak with clients, we typically hear the idea of “flexibility” as:
- Generally able to pivot and move to different projects
- Operational agility
- Hybrid solutions offered, i.e. a mix of on-premise and cloud
- Ability to fold into the existing client team
- Wide breadth of expertise and knowledge
Makes sense. Why is flexibility important right now?
Largely because we have no idea on the timing of COVID-19, or the long-term economic implications of the virus. We know that things will change, and we know that many EU economies will have a less-positive 2020 (and perhaps even 2021). We also know there is opportunity, however. Look at the 2008 global recession. A lot of “unicorn” companies were built straight from that recession, including Uber, AirBNB, etc. Those companies were a bit more customer experience-driven. We may emerge from this with a different kind of valued company, but there will be shifts in the economy and what it values.
In your business, that means you need to be flexible and you need to take some current projects, ongoing projects, and “pet projects” of your leadership team and put them to the side -- and focus on new projects that could be bigger post-COVID revenue streams.
As you try to be flexible and agile, you will need a partner that can be flexible and agile as well. That’s the simplest way to present it.
OK, so what should we be looking for to find a flexible software development partner?
Well, we made a checklist for you -- but we will get to that in a second. Before we present that, a couple of things to consider first:
- How good are the developers?
This is maybe the essential question. You need excellent developers to drive any process.
- How are the developers deployed to your project?
Once you know the developers of the potential partner are great at their jobs, you need to look at how those great developers will come to work on your projects. It can be tempting to find a “select the best bodies” pick-and-choose model, but that does not help with flexibility. Instead, the best developers in those companies get picked by every client, and they often burn out or don’t have time to focus on your projects. What you want to look for is an entire team of solution-driven developers.
- What areas of expertise does the potential outsourcing partner have?
Like we said above, business models are about to change drastically in the next 24-36 months. Let’s say you were focused on automated testing in your business, but now you need to do more with IoT projects. If you are working with a partner who is great at automated testing but knows nothing about IoT, well, now your pivot will take longer and will be costly. You need to look for a breadth of expertise.
There are other ways to find flexibility in a software development outsourcing partner. Consult this checklist too: