Need for Speed
2020 has set a new precedent for businesses across the world. The pandemic has thrown fuel onto what was already an increasingly cutthroat business climate, thanks to higher demands from customers, new entrants, and more competition than ever before. In order to meet these challenging circumstances, organizations need higher velocity in every area of their business. While many people view “speed” in the context of “speed to market” only, there are other aspects that are just as critical to business success. Having consulted with our clients during this extremely unprecedented time, here’s where I’m seeing the “need for speed” in action.Speed to MarketA big factor for success in the corporate world will always be speed to market. The first mover advantage is a luxury that not all businesses have, yet the majority will always strive for it. Whether that’s introducing a new product or service, or expanding into new markets, or simply adding new functionality, it’s a very common goal across industries. We’ve seen that the onset of the pandemic has escalated the need to rapidly address changing customer needs, preferences and market conditions. This has further accelerated an already heavy focus on the need for technology to respond and innovate quickly.Speed to SavingsIn the end, it’s all about the bottom line, which is why speed to savings is another crucial area in the need for speed. It can be achieved by lowering costs, doing more for the same investment or the same for lower spend, or through increased efficiency. Businesses have always sought improvements that boost the bottom line, but in the last quarter, we’ve seen expectations grow for that to happen even faster. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that companies are especially conscious of their bottom line right now, and seeking to avoid any waste that they can.Speed to ValueIn today’s economy and business environment, pivoting has become the name of the game. Whereas speed to savings is focused solely on cost containment, speed to value is about better leveraging capabilities and resources to drive new opportunities for growth. Due to the pandemic, we're seeing many clients looking for new ways to leverage their technology investments to create incremental revenue when possible. Take ParkMobile, for example: their popular mobile application helps customers find, reserve, and pay for parking, but with sports, concerts, and other special events canceled, they sought a way to offer the same level of usability to their customers on their existing platform, while helping out in a time of need. Customers were able to use the app to donate to one of a hand-selected group of non-profits located in the cities where ParkMobile operates. The company matched a portion of the funds, which came to a total of over $30,000 raised for charities. Customers utilized the new functionality that we helped bring to the market in just two weeks. The pace of business rarely slows down, and now more than ever, the need for speed is at an all-time high. With many businesses wanting to innovate and pivot while meeting customers’ rapidly changing needs, doing so as quickly as possible is essential to survive in this business climate. Learn more about how we’ve helped our clients achieve their “need for speed” by reading these results: Pharma Company Outsources Full Support to Rural Sourcing Saving 40% and Supporting Healthcare Clients During the Pandemic
Is Now the Time for Diversifying Your IT Outsourcing Portfolio?
COVID-19 and related actions have created huge disruptions not only to the economy, but also to the way in which IT services are delivered. Country-level lock downs have forced an almost universal work-from-home model upon the IT industry. Unfortunately, this de-facto standard creates the risk for huge service disruptions to companies around the world.Short term, companies across industries are scrambling to keep operations stable and prepare for the worst. Longer term this may have an impact on how companies here in the U.S. manage their IT outsourcing portfolio, perhaps opting for more in-house and in-country resources than what they've used over the last 10 years. COVID-19 has certainly provided a bit of a warning on the risk of putting all your eggs into one basket.Mitigating RiskYou can mitigate risks in a way a financial manager would – by diversifying. Diversification has long been the rule for investment decisions, but many companies using outsourcing have tended to rely on a limited number of geographic regions and related IT providers. This is largely due to the availability of low-cost labor in these regions. In fact, more often the focus has been on the efficiency of the resource supply chain vs. its resiliency.So, what are the major considerations that companies should look at when re-evaluating their provider portfolio for diversification and risk mitigation? There is certainly a long list, but here are three key areas that rise to the top:Location RiskGiven the large amount of work that’s been shifted overseas, the term ‘outsourcing’ has almost become synonymous with ‘offshoring’. This is due to the availability of highly skilled, low cost labor in other countries outside of the U.S. With that lower labor cost comes areas of risk that need to be factored in for each location being considered:Infrastructure – this is more than just technology and communications infrastructure, which is critical. It also includes healthcare infrastructure and local community infrastructure. Weaknesses in any of these areas may inhibit performance, especially in times of crisis or natural disaster.Political/Economic stability – in recent years, there’s been an increase in terrorist activity, trade disputes and political tension around the globe. Locations should be evaluated for the potential risks in these areas. Security – depending on the country being considered, there can be differences in the rule of law that affects intellectual property protection, or the susceptibility of data breaches and loss.Agility and ResilienceThe COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the issue of needing to stay agile and operate with resilience. Businesses should have an optimistic outlook, but be prepared for anything. In that vein, in addition to having the necessary technical skills and capabilities, providers need to show these characteristics:Contract flexibility – contracts by there nature are meant to protect mutual business interests, but that doesn’t mean they should be one-sided or ‘one size fits all’. The trend is toward shorter-term contracts, with flexible scope. Subscription or ‘as-a-service’ models – just as with software, the next framework for IT services is subscription based. This allows scaling up and down as the customer needs more volume, when the customer needs less volume, or when the customer has new needs.Business continuity and disaster recovery preparedness – it should go without saying that any provider, especially those with remote delivery capability, has a well-thought out and tested plan for business continuity and disaster recovery when something like COVID-19 happens again.Cost EffectivenessWith an economic downturn likely (hopefully a short one), cost containment will be even more critical. Just as critical is the need to balance cost and risk. While labor is a major cost component for IT outsourcing, there are other hidden costs that need to be evaluated. Depending on the location of delivery, there can be significant costs associated with things like:Currency fluctuations Additional resources needed for offshore project management oversightVisa or travel restrictions and related resource availabilityTime delays due to time zone, language and cultureProviders need to be evaluated on not only hourly rates, but the other hidden costs or risk factors that may be inherent in their specific delivery models.Right now, and in the short term, companies need to do what’s necessary to ensure stable and profitable business operations. That means making whatever resource and process adjustments are needed, with minimum disruption. As the COVID-19 crisis begins to subside (which it will), it makes sense for companies to revisit their IT outsourcing strategy to better balance cost savings with risk mitigation. This means balancing the use of in-house employees, local contractors, on-shore delivery and offshore locations.Rural Sourcing is arguably the leader in onshore or domestic software development outsourcing. This model strikes the right balance between cost savings and risk mitigation. With remote development centers exclusively located throughout the United States, Rural Sourcing leverages untapped, highly skilled technology talent in Middle America cities to provide world-class solutions to our clients. Our unique model eliminates the obstacles of time zones, distance, language and geopolitical risk.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.About the AuthorAs Chief Client Officer for Rural Sourcing, Scott Monnig is responsible for one of our core values, ‘Change the Experience.’ He and his team are client-facing, colleague-centered and delivery-focused to ensure that our clients are delighted with our services. Scott works across our Sales, Sales Engineering and Delivery teams to ensure common practices and drive rigor that results in excellent outcomes.With 30+ years of hands-on technology leadership experience, Scott has led high-performing teams, technology groups, and business divisions through dozens of enterprise initiatives, systems development and digital innovation. He has also led organizational transformation initiatives with a recent focus around Agile, DevOps and Cloud transitions driven by rapidly growing digital demands across a number of industries and organizations.Scott is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where he earned a B.S. in Computer Science.
Why Throwing More Bodies at Your Web Application Development Project is Not the Answer
A lot of companies find that competitive advantage comes with cutting costs and increasing speed to market. And that often works except if they’re launching a new web application development project. This brings a new set of challenges, especially since the first reaction is to see who’s on staff who could do it. Throwing additional internal resources toward an IT project might not give you the competitive advantage you’re looking for. In fact, it could very well slow you down. The first potential impact is overextending staff by pulling them onto yet another project and moving their focus away from important, business critical tasks they were hired to do in the first place. Next, lack of expertise can become a roadblock. This can be costly when a project slows down due to errors or delays needed by staff to ramp up and learn something new. Another solution to consider is outsourcing because it can provide the flexibility and scalability that you need to innovate and get to market faster. Companies such as Basecamp, Squawker and Github, were created with outsourced development. Why? It’s smarter. The benefits of outsourcing are numerous. Let’s take application development as an example: 1. Experience – you’ll get the expertise you need, when you need it. Outsourcing means your development will be done by professionals who live and breathe development and are constantly learning and applying the latest IT trends to projects 2. Scalability – outsourcing allows you to rapidly scale up or down your development needs without the expense and long-term commitment of hiring additional full-time staff or overextending existing IT staff. 3. Efficiency – a team that is 100% focused on your IT project will increase your speed to market, getting the job done without spending unnecessary time and money on the development phase. 4. Reduced costs – increased efficiencies alone will reduce development costs but you’ll also reduce overhead costs and pay for the services you use, allowing you to save money during periods of low activity. The next time you’re faced with a new IT project with limited resources, you could save time and money by rethinking the reaction to simply throw more bodies at it and consider outsourcing instead.LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR APPROACH