Though there is still uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the emergence of new variants, many countries are cautiously looking to a future where a worldwide pandemic ceases its crippling impact on economic activities. The IMF forecasts a 4.4% global growth rate in 2022, so while not booming, a financial recovery is still underway.
This means that competition is heating up and the pressure to get products and services to market faster is immense. For companies across sectors, the top three issues are going to be scalability, scalability and scalability. What are the issues a forward-thinking Chief Operating Officer (COO) needs to consider before scaling up? Read on to find out.
Scaling up: an investment that pays dividends
Despite, or perhaps because of, the COVID-19 pandemic, IT spending on enterprise software has continued to grow at an impressive rate. According to Statista, 2022 IT spending is expected to reach $672 billion USD, which is an increase of 11% compared to 2021. While this number clearly demonstrates the demand for software solutions, it is also important to consider the costs that surround engineering this software.
An organization’s growth plan presumably calls for the hiring of staff, deploying new tech, adding equipment and facilities and establishing processes to monitor results. While funds to accomplish these may be accessible to some companies, bootstrapping may not be applicable to everyone, or even enough. Instead of assuming all these costs, it’s cheaper to partner with a software developer who can help from the word ‘go’. This will make it easier to meet deadlines, time-to-market milestones and within budgetary constraints.
The idea of scaling is that a business can increase revenue without suffering from additional costs. But of course, this is easier said than done. Attracting users entails developing new features, functionalities and services.
But bringing in experts who have the abilities and resources to assume this workload means that the need to redirect one’s own resources and staff is removed, along with the pressure and stress that can accompany this type of reorganization.
The expertise, battle-tested methods and best practices of an external, dedicated development team can do much more than manage software delivery life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. Indeed, the continual advancement of technologies, transition to cloud infrastructures and increased digitization mean that nowadays the conversation should not be about digital transformations, but digital accelerations.
Leveraging technology to drive scalability
Scalability is often framed in the context of scaling teams to produce technology (products or services) that drive a business. While obviously this is true, C-level board members should also reverse engineer the process and use technology to drive scalability.
How does software perform under increased workloads, planned situations and unexpected scenarios? Are features and functionalities effectively maintained and is the end user experience efficient and rewarding? Are in-house software experts able to manage this process and ensure that applications and services are running smoothly around-the-clock, or would it be advisable to turn this responsibility over to a dedicated, external development team?
Tracking an organization’s scalability can be done in a straightforward manner. Writing in Forbes, Senior Contributor Adrian Bridgwater explains that IT scalability “…can be tracked using Service Level Indicators (SLIs) and validating them against the Service Level Objectives (SLOs) ensuring that an organization’s business-driven Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are met.” Central to this method is gathering, analyzing and sharing the right data, across an organization.
Investing in technology and implementing systems integration that do not create silos have never been more important. Forrester points out that data-driven companies are 58% more likely to beat revenue goals than companies that are not focused on data. Research from the University of Texas at Austin reveals that just a 10% increase in data usability could increase the average Fortune 1000 company’s revenue by over $2 billion USD. Additionally, per the MIT Sloan Management Review, 57.1% of executives report big data and AI are beneficial in creating customer self-service capabilities and increasing the speed of new product and service rollouts.
Of course, any discussion about technology cannot just be in reference to products, software and hardware. To fully appreciate the impact of, and possibilities with, immerging technology, it is necessary to factor in the training that needs to go into upgrading employees’ skills. Integrating new tools into engineers’ toolboxes, transitioning to AI-driven and other types of automation or implementing cutting-edge strategies will be meaningless of not accompanied with proper training of personnel in how to leverage them.
Companies working to meet tight deadlines and keep costs down rightly choose an external team that has these competencies already and can not only begin work immediately but can transfer this knowledge to in-house software development teams.
Lasting scalability comes from a culture that fosters talent
Management consulting company Korn Ferry reports that by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because of the unavailability of skilled professionals to take them. Korn Ferry estimates that this talent shortage could result in roughly $8.5 trillion USD in unrealized annual revenues.
Of course, overcoming a talent shortage is just one of the challenges organizations face. Other priorities include improving the quality of new hires, boosting retention rates, improving time-to-hire, growing the talent pipeline and diversifying new hires, both in terms of demographics and competencies.
Recruiting and investing in talent is costly and time-consuming. Moreover, it also requires a company to invest resources into developing its own culture as a way of attracting the talent it needs. Research from recruitment consultancy firms like Robert Walters clearly indicate the importance of culture. For one thing, 73% of professionals have left a job because of a poor culture fit. Since, according to Glassdoor, the average U.S. employers spends $4,000 USD and 24 days hire a replacement, this number could be problematic. In the IT world, where hiring a full-time develop can cost between $28,548-$35,685 USD, it could be calamitous. Establishing a culture that appeals to talent is costly and time consuming. Instead of spending time and money on this, companies can turn to an external software development team which has assumed the burden of recruiting and retaining talent from the clients they support.
Partnering with a software developer that has the nearshore capabilities and time-zone compatibility to work alongside your team does not (and should not) come cheap. But the cost of engaging this kind of cooperation is far beyond the price of designing a piece of software or speeding up the software delivery process. Beyond the tangible results, companies are paying for the convenience and access to top-notch talents and the years of experience and knowledge they have gained, which as previously mentioned, will in some ways be transferred to their own staff.
Turn to a proven software partner that scales to your growth
Given the shortage of IT talent around the world, most in-house software development teams simply cannot support rapid growth and need the support of external specialists. But this should not be considered a failure, and in fact, reflects the hyper specialized business models of our times. Organizations should be able to focus on their core businesses while the software they want is handled by capable, autonomous teams. Not only does this maximize operational efficiency, but all the potential pitfalls of software development fall on the shoulders of the external software partner.
Moreover, the oftentimes niche technical expertise, costly to develop on your own, comes included with a software partner. Furthermore, having external engineers work side by side with your in-house team means that knowledge sharing can be achieved easily and frequently. Dedicated teams, responsible ownership, compatible culture and technical proficiency are just some of the reasons companies around the world turn to Software Mind for scalable software solutions. To find out how our talents can help you, get in touch by filling out the contact form.
About the authorKamil Fornal
Chief Operating Officer at Software Mind
With over 15 years’ experience in the IT industry, 8 of which spent in managerial roles, Kamil has lead software development teams on ambitious projects across sectors. His international work, particularly with American start-ups, scale-ups and enterprise level organizations, gives Kamil a unique perspective on smoothly integrating agile teams into different company cultures. When not spearheading digital accelerations, Kamil enjoys returning to his developer roots and keeping his .NET skills sharp.