Digital’s Demand for Innovation Calls for a Microservices Architecture

Being a digital business has changed everything – from how products and services are offered and to whom all the way through delivery. Responding to dynamic customer expectations calls for a new two-pronged approach that consolidates teams under a shared mindset and an organizational culture shift. Against this backdrop of change, the cloud, a key linchpin of digital success, demands that applications be re-architected in record time.Pre-digital, IT’s development initiatives spanned quarters and, in some cases, years. Today’s compressed digital timeframes do not tolerate extended development times. Applications need to be built and rolled out in days and, sometimes, hours. By breaking massive functionality into single units called a microservice, IT can now combine and recombine capabilities in record time, delivering quality applications that can be updated on the fly – while preserving system stability and optimal performance. Up-leveling Agile, IT organizations across all markets are employing this microservices-based approach to create a wholesale containerization of functionality. With microservice integration, IT organizations can push the business forward quickly and efficiently by delivering as many as 50 rollouts a day.This containerization allows IT to combine and recombine functionality at will in an iterative “test drive” environment optimized to accommodate the pace of digital. Small teams work in parallel and use automated tests, continuous integration and deployment and feature flags, as they re-route small percentages of traffic to make the most of the cloud’s expansive capacity.A microservices architecture pays dividends beyond IT’s productivity as well. Its flexible approach to compressed build/develop/deploy cycles incorporates the latest techniques and tools for software development. As a result, leading IT organizations can become “employers of choice.” Being a destination for digital talent, which is now in short supply and is expected to be scarce for years to come, helps IT leaders attract and retain the digital skills they need to help the business win.In addition to productivity gains and becoming a staffing magnet, a microservices landscape allows IT organizations to scale vertically and horizontally. Associating smaller microservices under a heavy shared processing load often eliminates the need to add hardware by allowing the cloud to spin capacity up and down as needed.This introduction explains how progressive IT organizations use microservices to enable the rapid change digital demands as they struggle against constrained availability of digitally skilled IT professionals. Tapping into the power of the cloud and the latest technical tools and strategies helps these organizations attract and retain a full range of digital talent even as staffing needs change and evolve.Because even the largest companies will not be able to find all the digital talent they need, IT organizations are narrowing their community of staff partners. Working with only a hand-selected few allows an IT organization to source “employee-like” digital talent that understands and appreciates the company’s mission, vision and culture. These valuable assets possess the digital skills IT needs along with commanding “soft skills” to facilitate communication and problem solving.To learn more about how microservices integration can improve staff productivity and application quality, download the newest executive white paper from Rural Sourcing, “Microservices: Fast Path to Digitally Required Innovation.”

In Their DNA: Tech in Middle America

When you think of technology innovation, your mind probably jumps to Silicon Valley.Why is that? Is that the only place good ideas come from? Is there something in the soil that breeds digital creativity?Of course not. Because of this mindset that technology in America is available only on the coasts, parts of our country have been neglected. In truth, Middle America is a gold mine for ideas and tech talent that has remained largely untapped up to this point. In fact, tech creativity and innovation are in their DNA.Just look at Bill Gates and Paul Allen. They founded Microsoft out of an Albuquerque garage because that’s where the epicenter of personal computing began with MITS the maker of the Altair. The talent is there. It’s just a matter of cultivating the talent and allowing it to grow in place. Too often people are forced to choose between vocation and location. In essence, they are forced to choose between the place they love and the career they aspire to.That simply is unacceptable and unnecessary.Tech talent should be allowed to grow in Middle America. Like the well documented double helix within DNA, there are two main components to tech success.AvailabilityThere is tech talent in Middle America, but in many cases, the top talent falls victim to one of two scenarios.Pursue a career in a different industry because it allows for a career close to homeMove to the coast in order to work with the latest technologiesMiddle America has fantastic higher educational institutions. We need to make sure our young people understand the opportunities that are available to them in technology post-graduation. That will create a pipeline of talent, but once created, we must foster that talent and build industries that keep this talent close to home.QualityIt’s not just ‘run of the mill’ tech talent in Middle America. There is some of the best talent in the world. In many cases, the software developers who left home to chase the big job in California or Boston ultimately return home to care for an aging parent or because they miss the quality of life and affordability of “home.”Some of the country’s premier technology minds are willing to trade their career for quality of life. Instead of letting them, we must equip this talent with the means to pursue meaningful, challenging and fulfilling work in technology, close to home. This is by and large the thesis of Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest movement to bring capital investment dollars to Middle America.There is available, quality technology talent in Middle America. No longer should the coasts maintain a monopoly on software development and innovative technology. With a historically unrivaled work ethic, Middle America is ripe for a technology boom. Don’t bet against the heartland. Tech and innovation is in their DNA.

Digital Demands Transparent Leaders, Open Communications

This sixth and final blog post explains why IT organizations need a new standard of transparency in communicating and leading their digitally prepared workforce. With the digital economy comes constantly shifting priorities as companies become hyper-responsive to their customers’ needs and wants. The millennials who will staff IT organizations want to be led by executives who openly share not just career path details but the “big picture” of where the company and its markets are headed. Being involved in “more than just the work” is essential if IT organizations are to attract and retain millennials with digital skill sets. Embracing the principles outlined "Partnering with Intent: A new approach to dealing with the shortage of tech talent," Rural Sourcing’s white paper on workforce management in the digital age, shows IT leaders why a collaborative culture and transparency are vital to success.Transparency: Key to Success in the Digital EconomyMaintaining the transparency of a startup – when everyone knew everything – is challenging as a company grows. Successful organizations have employed different methods in order to do so. For example, at one technology company, every employee works to a specific set of OKRs (objectives and key results). Although it’s not mandatory to post OKRs for all to see, 80% of their employees do. In addition, the CEO’s weekly calls to review OKRs with the company’s 150 directors quickly identifies which parts of the company that on track and which are not. This review helps mid-level leaders to look beyond their own departments’ metrics to view performance and results company-wide.In addition to keeping everyone informed about how the company or organization is doing, transparency can improve productivity, boost engagement and help retention.A company with 106 employees reported a lower than average rate of unnecessary meetings. This unexpected, productivity-inducing benefit was directly attributed to the company’s open communications and transparency.Another corporate proponent of transparency said that letting employees know the "why" behind their assignments built trust and engagement. If two teams need to be consolidated, everyone involved knows why the move is necessary which not only helps the consolidated group move forward efficiently, it minimizes the speculation that usually accompanies organizational changes. This transparency takes on expanded importance when partners provide digital talent to composite teams. When realignments combine both internal and partner-provided talent into teams, roles and purposes must be clearly communicated and understood in order to remove suspicion and achieve the additive cultural mix. At a third company, the importance of transparency is underscored with a CEO who shares her online calendar with every employee. Visibility into what the company’s top executive is doing allows employees to see what’s important and put their own roles into context. She pointed out that the company receives good marks from employees posting on Glassdoor, and retention is high as well.For some, empowering a free-flow of information across IT may seem like an unachievable goal. Here are five easy ways to get started in building a transparent culture from the ground up or improving upon the current level of openness:Be honest. A leader’s openness and honesty will set the stage for safely giving and receiving feedback across the organization. Share results. Resist the urge to downplay failures. These missteps often offer a highly effective learning opportunity.Break down silos. A majority of senior executives (80%) participating in a poll by McKinsey said that communication was critical for growth, while only a handful (25%) felt their organizations were doing a good job in sharing information across the company.Hire people who care about transparency. Feature your company’s commitment to transparency in job descriptions and ask candidates to explain what transparency means to them in interviews.Choose tools that support transparency. On average, employees in your organization are wasting 20% of their time every week trying to locate information they need or enlist others’ assistance. Go beyond shared drives to employ open communication platforms and project software designed for collaboration.Digital’s fast pace of change leaves little margin of error for IT organizations to operate inefficiently. The continued scarcity of digital talent demands that leadership transparently communicates how, when and why partner companies’ staff can help accelerate organizational transformation. Working with partners contributes to improved project outcomes and guides the effort to speed revenue to the bottom line. Taking a transparent approach to communicating with employees and leading them through change enables your teams to understand who fits where. By communicating the contribution of all members, including partners, in achieving the company goals leaders can achieve the elusive digital trifecta of being decisive, innovative, and nimble.

Keys to Building an Empowered IT Workforce for Digital

This fifth blog post in the Partnering with Intent series explains why IT organizations seeking to build and maintain a digitally prepared workforce need to abandon their traditional recruiting, retention and partnering strategies. Millennials, the lion’s share of digitally prepared talent, require a new management approach. One that provides technical enablement, context, purpose and flexibility. It also needs to rebuild trust around the use of partner organizations and the role they can play in a company’s digital journey.  Embracing the principles outlined in “Partnering with Intent: A new approach to dealing with the shortage of tech talent,” can help IT organizations become a “destination of choice” for millennials with digital talent.With senior executives’ expectations running high, IT leaders know that delivering on ambitious, technology-driven business imperatives calls for a new culture and leadership style built on trust and open communication. Digitally prepared talent is in short supply, and no company can afford to hire all the digitally skilled staff they need for permanent positions. That shortage, coupled with cost pressures, prompts most IT organizations to work with a selected contingent as well as outsourced labor companies that offer talent experienced with the latest digital technologies and best practices, on an as-needed basis. These partners understand how this new cultural model can be used to secure staff engagement in an almost constantly shifting landscape of projects and priorities. The velocity of change that characterizes digital means that few IT organizations can go it alone.That all-important engagement hinges on staff being able to use the latest technologies, understand the business reasons behind the IT organization’s shifting project priorities and appreciate the clearly spelled out roles of responsibilities of players from partner organizations. IT leaders need to be thoughtful and transparent about how they decide to deploy people and why. Too often, digitally prepared talent is separated from core teams, making it difficult for innovation-led methods and processes to integrate into the organization as a whole. When learning gleaned from digital initiatives is not shared across the organization, only an illusion of change exists. Millennials make up more than half of today’s U.S. workforce. Dissecting what matters to them begins with understanding their career motivation, as well as their expectations for where they work and their need for transparent, authentic leaders.IT organizations with authentic leaders can build and maintain an environment that draws in digitally prepared talent by offering their staffs challenging work with a purpose.  As Partnering with Intent reminds us, few IT organizations can afford to keep on staff all of the digitally prepared talent it needs. The invaluable contribution that  strategic, deeper relationships with fewer, more high-value partners  offers is two-fold: (1) access to exactly the type of digitally prepared talent you need today; and (2) the flexibility to restack the talent deck when the business causes priorities to change.Leaders need to acknowledge that in order to succeed they need to liberate the creative spirit of their people. To do this they must establish a climate of trust in part by sharing the roles that everyone plays, including partner companies, such that staff are not distracted by constant concerns over the job security. This can only be achieved in transparent surroundings, working with innovative partners that understand their role and who provide an encouraging and additive cultural fit

Partnering with Intent Enables Flexibility, Innovation

This fourth post in the Partnering with Intent™ series explains why most IT organizations will partner to access the digital skills they need. Partnering offers IT organization an opportunity to tap into needed digital talent in a fluid, non-restrictive way. This flexibility is extremely important in the digital age when business initiatives and project priorities can shift endlessly.Partnering with Intent (PWI), a new approach to digital workforce creation, follows a business model proven with leading companies in a variety of market segments. PWI answers companies’ needs for the digital talent they don’t have, allowing them to take established products into new market segments, appeal to new groups of customers in a proven market and introduce new products and services. Businesses competing in the digital age require nimble IT organizations that partner to offer the rich, deep proficiencies needed to tap new opportunities with confidence.At its core, PWI allows companies, through their robust digitally prepared IT organizations, to enable innovation unhampered by technical limits. Access to the right digital talent at the right time, bypasses the need to recruit, retrain and manage current staff, gives IT departments the flexibility they need to respond to the shifting needs of the business with precision and speed.For example, when General Electric and Intel partnered to aggregate more than 6.8 million patient data points, they were able to provide healthcare leaders with the insights required to improve care delivery, reduce costs and motivate changes in behavior.In addition to supporting unbridled innovation, PWI delivers the digital talent needed to create human-centered experiences that solve user problems and push the business-user experience to a higher, more strategic relationship. When customers see a company as responsive to their needs, brand loyalty takes hold, making it difficult for competitors to lure satisfied customers away. A leading provider of streaming video devices and channels learned that lesson when it partnered with a consumer electronics manufacturer to build a simplified “smart TV” centered on the user device’s operating system. In this example, the device provider disrupted the “upstream” supply chain to simplify the user experience and create a partnered “win-win” for itself and the electronics manufacturer.Finally, IT leaders need to remember that concentrating on a select group of trusted partners is vitally important to nurturing high-value, high-reward relationships. To keep these business-critical relationships functioning at a high level, astute IT organizations regularly update their software development partners on corporate direction, short-term and long-range business initiatives, and pivoting priorities. Effectively applying PWI principles to these relationships dissolves boundaries and enables the two sides to operate as a blended composite team.IT organizations that use PWI’s operational transparency and open communication to unite previously siloed IT groups create the high-performance composite teams needed to pivot when the digital business environment demands it.This post is part of the Partnering with Intent blog series. Download the white paper that introduced this new way to source and manage digital IT talent.

Partnering with Intent – Flex culture powers collaboration

This third post in the Partnering with Intent™ (PWI) series explains how a new workforce model built on the idea of a flex (or flexible) culture, enables organizations to change course on the fly – as the hyper-digital environment demands.Flex culture, a new approach to workforce management specifically developed for IT organizations competing in the digital age, revolves around an all-encompassing transparency that pervades IT leadership. By communicating freely and openly, not only about the organization’s shared purpose and approach to intentional partnering, IT leaders can assuage the fears of internal staff who worry about job security, while motivating externally provided talent to function tightly within an integrated team environment. This tight alignment across all types of IT talent enables the organization to manage through an almost constant onslaught of change – efficiently and effectively.Painfully aware that they cannot now nor will they ever be able to afford the breadth of talent they need, IT leaders who take five pivotal steps to manage their workforces in times of hyper-change can build the skilled teams they need without breaking the budget:Delineate technology skills sets as either “core” to the business or “non-core.” This distinction gives IT leaders a clear view of the digital talent they are seeking when they begin working with a trusted third party to augment internal staff. Communicate to staff the “big picture” of the technology landscape and how they fit into it, openly sharing, as soon as known, emerging new priorities. Keep remarks focused on how they can prepare for and support coming changes personally and professionally.Form mult-disciplinary teams of IT talent that pair historical knowledge with digital expertise, teaching technologists to understand the customer experience and how the solutions they build and rollout advance the customers’ business goals.Screen internal and external IT candidates for critically needed “soft skills” and “culture fit” needed to navigate the IT organization nimbly and efficiently.Remember to extend digital learning opportunities to internal staff in an effort to keep their skill sets relevant and marketable.At its heart, flex culture rewards full-on collaboration between and among multi-disciplinary teams. When multi-disciplinary teams with a diversity of talent operate in lockstep, creativity and innovation abound, fast-tracking engagement, performance and, ultimately, loyalty to the organization.In the next PWI blog post, we will explore why a flex culture matters so much – not just to employees but to the credibility of IT leadership as well. To access the Partnering with Intent white paper, click here.

Partnering with Intent – The Importance of Cultural Alignment

To advance the latest thinking about workforce management in the digital age, Rural Sourcing authored a breakthrough white paper entitled “Partnering with Intent: A new approach to dealing with the shortage of tech talent.”This second post explains how cultural alignment serves as a foundational element of the Partnering with Intent™ (PWI) approach. While alignment of core values and purpose starts with employees, electing to partner with companies that share this vision sets the stage for success. This same approach can also be applied to customer relationships, which builds company’s revenues and reduce customer churn.As IT leaders acknowledge that a lack of digital talent is the number one obstacle to achieving their business objectives, the role of augmented talent takes on a new criticality. However, many IT executives find when they go to market looking for digital technology assistance that the needed talent is out of reach financially.Ideally, the companies that provide digital talent go beyond looking at current projects and priorities. Partners who stand out from the crowd go the extra mile to proactively learn their customers’ mission, values and cultures. The third part tech providers screen their talent for fit as well as function. This proactive approach can help assure that external talent not only performs as needed but fits into the organization seamlessly. For example, digital talent that “fits” not only understands the company’s mission, they are empowered to contribute to pivotal discussions and share their expertise freely with all levels of the client’s IT organization.However, cultural integration requires time and commitment on both sides of the partnership. One of the first steps to building this partnership-based culture is to recognize that whether the culture has been built intentionally or not, it already exists. Sometimes, it’s an LCD culture (Least Common Denominator), which forms based on the two partners’ attitude, actions and language. These haphazard relationships break easily because they are fragile and, at times, accidental. In most cases, LCD cultures leverage the interests of the dominant partner, often at the expense of the second partner resulting in suboptimal outcomes.Intentional Partnerships, such as those advocated in the PWI model, require that both partners make a daily commitment to ensuring that everyone at the table shares the organization’s values and mission – even as these essential elements change and evolve. In this environment, true partnership becomes part of each IT team’s DNA.Remember that PWI can be applied to more than your relationship with your external digital talent resources. Extend that approach to your customers and you’ll likely see more long-term relationships with them as well as a healthier contract renewal rate. One company that continually focuses on cultural alignment with its customers boasts of an average customer relationship of 17 years and a 100% renewal rate at the end of the first contractual period. If you had those kinds of intentionally built and maintained customer relationships, what would that do to your ability to deliver technology to the business and ultimately your bottom line?In our next post in the Partnering with Intent series, we will explore how a flex culture, the next step of cultural alignment, unifies a workforce made up of in-house and contingent resources.

An Introduction to Partnering with Intent

To advance the latest thinking about workforce management in the digital age, Rural Sourcing authored a breakthrough white paper entitled “Partnering with Intent: An innovation workforce model for the digital age.” A series of blog posts will highlight key takeaways from that white paper, as well as workforce management commentary from leading IT luminaries.This first post introduces the Partnering with Intent™ approach as a springboard to offering solutions to managing through today’s business transformations and the shortage of digitally prepared IT talent. Additional posts will explain how Partnering with Intent explores the importance of culture, encourages cultural alignment, and describes how transparency can help rebuild the trust lost during offshoring and why being a destination employer can offer a sustainable competitive advantage.As changing customer demands hurtle toward businesses at warp speed, companies are counting on new ways of combining people, processes and technology to enable digital adaptation. In the quest to succeed, IT leaders see a lack of digital talent at the number one obstacle to achieving their business objectives. As a result, CIOs are exploring new partnership and workforce models to meet this talent shortage head on.No company can afford to keep on staff all the digitally prepared talent needed to maintain and expand its market position. For that reason, enhancing staff capabilities with contingency labor has become a way of life for IT organizations at companies of all sizes. However, the unintended consequences of offshoring, such as the degradation of trust between IT leaders and those in their employ have soured the relationship between those in staff positions and externally sourced talent. Yet, the heightened demands of customers and the speed at which change occurs in the digitally adapted workplace demand more collaboration – not less. That’s why the three key components digital workforce management are so important:Partnering with Intent A “flex” culture TransparencyPartnering with Intent (PWI), a highly selective approach to sourcing specialized digital talent to enhance the IT staff, uses two radically different criteria to evaluate potential labor resources. Those two qualifiers – the presence of “soft skills” along with digital technology specialization and the ability of talent from partnered resources to support the company’s culture and values – have the power to redefine how IT companies choose their labor partners. “Soft skills” are defined as the ability to collaborate and communicate willingly and effectively, two capabilities that IT organizations competing in the digital age prize as much as technology prowess. Under the PWI model, labor partners earn value by being able to provide digital specialists that share their client’s mission and support the client’s culture. When these specialists from the outside blend seamlessly into the client’s organization and culture, everyone wins.In addition to PWI, today’s IT organizations need to build a “flex” culture to efficiently tackle the rapid rate of change that comes from digital. The “flex” framework enables IT organizations to source technologist specialists armed with the latest digital talents and the necessary soft skills as well. This holistic approach gives IT leaders a degree of workforce management latitude that was previously unattainable in the previous “hard-wired,” project-only orientation. With a flex approach, digital specialists can be combined with staff resources in a free-flowing, initiative-based agile team designed to accommodate shifting priorities and stimulate, not stifle, creativity. At its heart, the digitally optimized IT organization leverages teams’ cultural integration to respond to business-driven change.Transparency, the clear delineation of roles and responsibilities communicated openly, enables IT leaders to begin rebuilding the trust staff lost during offshoring. Composite teams depend on cultural integration and transparent leadership to feel more comfortable with their respective places in the IT organization and clearly understand how third-party labor resources contribute to organizational success. For IT leaders, trust and transparency have become a baseline requirement of the hyper-competitive digital age.In our next post, we will explain how to blur the delineation between internal talent and externally provided digital specialists, build high-functioning composite teams, and achieve the cultural integration necessary to digital adaptation success.

Onshoring with Rural Sourcing – Good for Budgets, Good for the Economy

As the tech industry booms, the demand for developers, IT staff and tech professionals has skyrocketed. For decades, businesses tried to lower costs by offshoring their technology needs to other countries. However, they have realized the unique challenges of offshoring such as time zone difference, language barriers, and cultural misunderstandings. These annoyances can cause delays, quality issues, headaches and higher costs.As businesses’ needs transitioned from lowest cost provider to a focus on quality and the need to develop software fast and “right the first time” (and still within budget!) – more and more businesses chose to not offshore and instead look for a better alternative.Rural Sourcing understood these challenges and developed another choice that not only helped companies achieve their IT goals, but also helped local economies capitalize on and retain their best tech talent. Rural Sourcing: Onshoring Work to Help Businesses & Local Economies Founded with the goal of connecting companies with talented, qualified IT professionals, Rural Sourcing has brought thousands of jobs back to the US in midsize metros across the country as part of its domestic sourcing model.Not only does Rural Sourcing’s model bring tech jobs back to the United States, but also does it in a way that supports small to mid-size local economies and creates opportunities for tech professionals who call them home.Instead of building development centers in large metropolitan areas like Silicon Valley and Boston, Rural Sourcing establishes centers in smaller pockets across the country such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, and New Mexico where the cost of living is less expensive and there is a wealth of tech talent from universities and other businesses in the area. The opportunity to work at a google-esque development center and with Fortune 1000 companies is incredibly enticing for tech professionals who have the skills to work in Silicon Valley or NYC – but prefer to live in a smaller area for a variety of reasons such as economic, family, or even just personal preference!As a result, companies that work with Rural Sourcing benefit from high-quality services at affordable prices and hundreds of jobs are created that can have an enormously positive ripple effect on local economies. It is a win-win-win for tech professionals, companies, and the cities where our development centers are located. Measuring the Economic Impact of Rural Sourcing Inc. on Communities To find the true economic impact of Rural Sourcing in Augusta, we reached out to the James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta University. The team at Georgia Regents University measured the economic impact of Rural Sourcing Inc. by using an input-output model using IMPLAN software.This model allowed Augusta University to examine the economic linkages within the economy that exist between businesses and other businesses, and businesses and the final consumers. In short, we wanted to know about how much our development centers helped boost the economies where they are located.As a result, the team was able to provide a comprehensive assessment of the local economic impact of Rural Sourcing Inc., which considers the number of jobs created and sustained as well as the total output, in dollars, that is contributed to the local economy. The Results: Rural Sourcing Inc.'s Positive Economic Impact The impact of Rural Sourcing Inc. on the local community is far more than just the number of jobs created. As the number of jobs increase in a local community, people have more disposable income to spend, which trickles into the economy and supports local businesses. When it comes to measuring Rural Sourcing Inc.’s total economic impact in just one community, the results are astounding.The study found that Rural Sourcing Inc. had a total economic impact multiplier of 3:1. In other words for every dollar put into the community in the form of payroll or capital expansion that dollar gets multiplied by 3 times.If we expand this economic impact to reflect each of the five-development center across the United States, Rural Sourcing Inc. is responsible for contributing $100 to $150 million annually to the surrounding local communities. Typically RSI agrees to ten year commitments for job creation so extrapolating today’s level of investment in these communities across the ten year commitment means that RSI has a $1.0 to $1.5 billion impact on our selected communities. Our Commitment to Bring Jobs Back to the United States Rural Sourcing is taking huge steps to support the American dream and smaller regions that could have the opportunity to compete nationally for tech talent – but only need the opportunity. While other conglomerates have favored larger metro areas, Rural Sourcing has fostered innovation and growth in small cities across the United States. We are directly and indirectly stimulating job growth in America helping local economies grow by more than $100m.As the leader in onshore outsourcing in the USA, Rural Sourcing is an expert in Agile Development, Cloud, DevOps, Digital Engagement, and Salesforce Integration to businesses large and small nationwide. Our strategically placed development centers are supporting productivity, which is infiltrating into the local communities. We’re incredibly proud of the impact we’ve made on areas like Mobile, AL, Jonesboro, AR, Augusta, GA, Oklahoma City, OK and Albuquerque, NM, and we look forward to expanding our efforts more in the future.If you’re interested in learning more about our capabilities and how we may be able to make a difference in your business, get in touch with us today.

The Hidden Dangers of Nearshoring

While many companies usually have an understanding of some of the more common challenges of offshoring work such as potential language barriers and time differences, there are some disadvantages that may not be so obvious – but can have a detrimental effect on your bottom line. Things like political instability, economic uncertainty, and crime can have serious consequences and these geopolitical issues can have much larger ramifications on your business.There are many unknowns nearshoring to a foreign country that are not minor annoyances but can completely derail a project or partnership, which is usually not considered when working with a company in the United States. When you outsource your work to developing countries, these things that are seen on the news can have a direct effect on your life and business.If you are considering offshoring some of your business to Central or South America, it’s important to be aware of the political and economic landscape and how it may affect your business. Discover some of the risks of outsourcing to Latin America and how Rural Sourcing can help eliminate these risks. The Effect of Political Unrest on Nearshoring If you are considering outsourcing to Latin America, it’s important to understand the potential negative impact political instability can have on productivity, quality, and relationships.Countries in Central and South America are no strangers to governmental instability and a military coup that can have serious ramifications on the people and businesses there, which can potentially affect your business if you offshore work there.Political instability can hurt everything from profits & operations to the working conditions of the employees. Political riots around elections can shut down cities and new elected officials can dramatically change the political landscape overnight.While it may seem like politics may seem detached from other economic considerations, the reality is that no business can afford to ignore political factors that often shape the external environment of the business. How Can Economic Uncertainty Affect Outsourcing? While the economy in some of these Latin American countries is developing, growing pains can quickly become more serious and put entire industries and businesses in jeopardy. A country can swing drastically in just a matter of years from a developing region, to one where people are seeking asylum and refugee status in neighboring countries. As a result, your business could be wiped out of employees.For example, the Argentinian peso continues to fall, proving to be the worst performer in 2018 among emerging market peers. Businesses and household finances in Argentina are feeling the strain, and businesses are having a hard time giving quotes or financing amid the currency disorder. Inflation has been stuck above 30 percent and is set to accelerate on a weaker peso.In Venezuela, inflation is out of control and the currency has become practically worthless. Locals – aka the people who would comprise your workforce - struggle to buy essentials, as a month’s wages will buy a loaf of bread, 2 liters of milk, and 4 cans of tuna fish.The United States, on the other hand, is not accustomed to economic swings this drastic in the modern era.There are many things to consider when working with countries whose future is unclear. For example, do you pay in local currency or USD? How will a sudden change in exchange rate affect your contract and your partnership?These types of situations only prove to be a challenge when offshoring business efforts to regions with volatile economic climates. Crime and Danger Considerations Ongoing violence and petty crime in many countries can have near and long-term impact on your business, even if it is not politically motivated. Your business may be less inclined to send employees to these areas, reducing important local training and vendor management time. This adds risk to service delivery and long-term success that can be otherwise fostered by the cross-pollination of US clients and offshore providers.Latin America has been dubbed the murder capital of the world. With just 8% of the world’s population, Latin America accounts for roughly a third of global murders, where lethal violence has grown steadily since 2000. To put that in perspective, nearly one in every four murders around the world takes place in just four countries: Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, and Columbia.This has led Latin America to a crisis, costing the countries 3% of annual economic output, on average, three times the level of developed countries.While many of the murders are gang/cartel related and less likely – but not impossible – to effect traveling business people, kidnapping is not uncommon for traveling business people or tourists perceived as “wealthy” to be held for ransom. Will it definitely happen? Of course not – but it is more likely in Rio than in Oklahoma City.Petty crime, such as having a laptop or smartphone stolen or being mugged, is a much more common threat for traveling business people. While not life-threatening, the technological security and general safety of employees is a definite concern. A Safe and Steady Alternative to Nearshoring While outsourcing to Latin American countries can seem cost-effective, there are many unique challenges. When looking to outsource your efforts, it’s important to consider these risks and how it will affect your business. That liability and uncertainty of the political and economic climates of these countries can prove to be a crippling challenge for businesses who may not have ever considered these issues. Onshoring with Rural Sourcing Inc. Fortunately, there is another alternative to offshoring that provides a more stable partnership for everyone involved. Rural Sourcing has brought jobs back to the United States by providing a wide range of software services from our strategically located development centers. From agile software development, supporting enterprise applications, the provision of cloud solutions to business intelligence, and more - Rural Sourcing conquers the unique challenges associated with offshoring, while still being an affordable option for US companies. Our development centers are in smaller regions across the United States, where the cost of living is less expensive. Not only will you receive high-quality services but will enjoy cost savings in comparison to larger metropolitan areas.To learn more about Rural Sourcing’s capabilities and how we can help your company thrive, get in touch with us today.

Amazon HQ2 is Coming – How Will You Compete for Tech Talent?

Amazon’s plans for a second headquarters will create thousands of high paying jobs at a time when unemployment is low and finding tech talent is becoming increasingly difficult. While the cities are gearing up for the economic boom, businesses are left wondering how they will compete for tech talent in this hot and competitive industry. The Amazon HQ2 Effect on Tech Hiring & Retention At first glance, the Amazon expansion is an exciting new opportunity. The competition for the new Amazon HQ2 was incredibly fierce as cities competed in hopes of growing their local economy. In fact, over 238 cities threw their hats into the ring, while that list was narrowed to 20 potential cities earlier this year. The $5 billion project will be approximately the same size as the company’s Seattle headquarters and occupy over 8.1 million square feet of space, now across these markets.With the volume of employment, Amazon adds to the community comes an influx of demand for housing, schools, hospitals, infrastructure and more. And with that, comes a demand for more workers. However, as you dive deeper below the surface, you’ll see how it affects local businesses who are competing with Amazon for talent. Initially, Amazon will be seeking to hire skilled IT and developer staff with a wide range of backgrounds from the area near its new locations. This means if your business has staff with these skill sets or you are looking to hire new talent, the competition is going to be fierce not only for new hires but you will also be competing to retain your current workforce.So, the big question is: How can businesses be expected to recruit new hires and retain tech employees when the prospect of working for Amazon is so enticing?When Amazon announced its plans to open a new headquarters, it was said that the 50,000 new hires will make an average salary of $100,000. If you plan to retain or expand your local workforce, you’re going to have to keep up with not only increasing salaries and benefits requirements – but also compete with huge name recognition and prestige. However, there is another way to staff your tech team without having to participate in this escalating war for top tech talent and it is much better for your bottom line and budgets: domestic sourcing. Winning the Competitive Race for Tech Talent Creating a strategy for recruiting and retaining talent when a mega-corporation comes to town can seem downright daunting. Instead of competing with conglomerates who can offer high salaries with attractive benefit packages, why not assess your organizational needs to see if there are skills you can distribute?Domestic sourcing is a unique business model that is ideal for companies looking for outside resources but still want to keep work close to home. Onshoring your business efforts can give you a competitive advantage, especially for small to mid-size businesses located in a super competitive local market vying for top talent. Having a strategic partner on your side, like Rural Sourcing, means that you can tap into tech talent that may not be in your immediate vicinity while accomplishing your business goals and eliminating bottlenecks and headaches.Onshoring offers businesses a variety of advantages, providing firms with a way to focus on core competencies and build those skills while relying on partners to focus on their areas of expertise. It’s also a perfect way for businesses to save money, as companies do not have to compete with increasing salaries, and still get high-quality products. Along with benefitting from real-time collaboration, another great advantage of offshoring is that your partner can adapt to your needs, working with you when you have a big project and scaling back during slower periods. How Rural Sourcing Can Help Your Business Succeed Rural Sourcing’s development centers are located strategically in mid-size cities across the United States. Instead of trying to keep up with Amazon’s increasing salaries, you can get higher quality and more affordable services outside of this market while staying within the United States. Smaller areas like New Mexico and Georgia have a lower cost of living, so you can tap into established talent while getting a great delivered product at an affordable price. Not only is this a cost-effective solution for businesses located near Amazon, but it’s also a perfect way to eliminate the headaches of recruiting and retention.To learn more on how Rural Sourcing’s capabilities can help your business success in a highly competitive market, contact us today.

5 Disadvantages of Offshoring

Offshoring and outsourcing are two popular business models that have grown in recent times as businesses look to reduce costs, streamline processes, reach organizational goals and reap the benefits of specialization. Now while there are some benefits of offshoring and outsourcing, many organizations have learned that there are several disadvantages to offshoring. If you are considering offshoring for your business, it's best to do your homework. What's the Difference between Offshoring and Outsourcing? Before diving into the disadvantages of offshoring, it's important to understand the differences between offshoring and outsourcing. In recent years, these two terms have been used interchangeably because some of the aspects of each of these processes are present in the other. Outsourcing is a practice used by companies to transfer portions of work to outside suppliers rather than completing it internally. Companies may be motivated to outsource work for a variety of reasons. The most significant factors usually relate to cutting costs and reducing internal infrastructure. Outsourcing is an "umbrella" term, and while the process has been used for years in functions like accounting and legal, it has become wildly popular in software development and support. Offshoring happens when you relocate the work to a different country and is a form of outsourcing. For example, offshoring could be when a company from within the United States may work with a company located in India or China for a specific project. So, offshoring is always outsourcing – but not all outsourcing is offshore. Get it? In many cases, these companies look to take advantage of a much cheaper labor market. However, there are several hurdles and risks involved with offshoring. Disadvantages of Offshoring Time Zone Differences One of the biggest disadvantages of offshoring is the time zone differences. Many offshoring companies operate within a 5-12-hour difference from their client. Work schedules may need to be adjusted to accommodate time zone differences when working with offshore companies. Furthermore, unless your offshore partner commits to staffing late night shifts that work with your company's time zone, you may have to wait for responses from the offshore staff. These time differences can also lead to lengthy delays in project deadlines as both companies struggle to accommodate one another. Misaligned work schedules cause internal friction as the staff must tolerate unnatural working hours that also do not provide the responsiveness and speed required in the digital economy. Communication and Language Issues When working with a company from a different country, it is usually safe to assume that most people on your team speak English as a second language. When working with someone who natively speaks another language, this can make communication and collaboration a unique challenge even if they speak English with relative proficiency. For example, some accents are difficult to understand when speaking another language (such as accents of various Indian dialects). So, even though a team can speak English very well (which is impressive in and of itself), that does not mean that communication will be as smooth as it is when communicating with someone who is a native speaker. Cultural and Social Differences Even if the language barrier can be overcome or minimized, an overseas team can have cultural and social practices that you will have to accommodate. For example, if you contract an agency from India, they can have up to sixteen public holidays a year depending on their regional location. Couple that with the US's ten public holidays, and that is twenty-six days a year that rarely coincide. While members of the team might tolerate Christmas Day conference calls, it's more "Bah, Humbug" than "Happy Holidays." So, you must consider the impact of the fragmented calendar during the project and it will affect your deadline. Work styles will exhibit social differences. For example, it is considered acceptable and expected for a North American worker to be assertive and straight-forward. However, this is not always the case in other cultures which view the employer-employee relationship very differently. These cultural variations dilute the valuable input and feedback loops expected in Western business. The discrepancies in culture and social practices can also lead to a lack of understanding of a complex business problems which in turn leads to business and personal misunderstandings and challenges that would not be the case when everyone on a team has a similar understanding of the project and overall business dynamic. Increase Domestic Unemployment Critics of offshoring note that the level of unemployment of the local economy increases. For example, if you outsource jobs to India, one of the disadvantages of offshoring to india is there is less opportunity and open positions for qualified Americans, which can hurt the national economy and livelihood of cities and towns across the country. By choosing a provider in the US, that creates more open positions for qualified local individuals and keeps more money circulating in the US as opposed to sending it overseas. Proximity Thinking about visiting your offshoring partner? This could be difficult considering the distance, costs, and time spent traveling to an overseas location. If meeting with your partner and having any face time is essential to your company, offshoring may not be the right fit for your business' needs. Geopolitical Unrest The unstable political climate in prominent outsourcing countries can causeincreasing geopolitical risks for businesses. The Philippines, one of the world's most popular outsourcing locations, is frequently a victim of political unrest which seems to flare up without warning. This is true of many developing countries that are generally go-tos when looking to outsource work. Whether the issue is a government shutdown, military coup, riots over an election, or pressure involving drug cartels – all of these "far away" issues could quickly become much more real when your project or business is directly impacted because of the fallout. An Offshoring Alternative: Onshoring within the United States Fortunately, there's no need to look overseas for quality software services. A simpler and more effective outsourcing alternative is onshoring. Onshoring is a business practice where companies source services from within their own country. Onshoring is highly effective. Onshoring offers improved communication and increased productivity between both parties, while still working to reduce costs. It also eliminates the risks of compromised IP and data, geopolitical uncertainty and contextual misalignment. For example, a company located in Los Angeles or New York City can reduce costs by contracting services from a company located in smaller cities in New Mexico or the South, where living costs and prices are much lower. The blend of finding quality talent at an affordable price point is quite advantageous for companies located within the United States. By working with a company located in the same country, both parties will benefit from more convenient time zones, faster and cheaper business travel, and easier collaboration. Rural Sourcing: The Nation's Leading Onshoring Partner If you’re looking for an offshore alternative for your organization's IT solutions, Rural Sourcing can help. As the leader in domestic sourcing, Rural Sourcing's innovative domestic model eliminates the obstacles of data security, IP protection, political concern, time zones, distance, language barriers, and more. We help bring jobs back to the United States and provide high-quality work at a fraction of the price of providers in major metro areas. With development centers strategically located throughout the United States, Rural Sourcing provides world-class solutions for organizations across various industries including pharmaceutical, healthcare, hi-tech, insurance, and consumer & retail goods. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our capabilities and to see how we can help your business outsource responsibly and economically without compromising quality.