Software Development Staffing and the Sixth Man Principle

With college basketball season heating up and March Madness right around the corner, I’m reminded of the sixth man concept that Rural Sourcing has used since its early days. As in basketball, the sixth man concept is all about having a ”non-starter” prepped, practiced, ready to enter the game and immediately start contributing to the team. This concept is core to Rural Sourcing’s sixth man principle. For many of our strategic accounts we deploy an extra colleague to participate in the upfront strategy and design sessions, kickoff meetings and daily stand ups so that when their time comes they’ll be prepared to hit the court at full speed. Their time may come due to an injury, an illness, paternity or maternity leave, or maybe just a packed sprint that needs the extra help. Whatever the cause, we know that this sixth man will be able to step in, run the offense and execute the game plan because they’ve been to all the practices. But wait, why would an enterprising, software development firm place a non-billable colleague onto a team? Our rationale is that it’s good for the client, good for the colleague, and in the long run, it’s good for us. For the client, it’s the assurance that they know there’s a backup waiting to get in the game in case something happens. For the colleague, it’s a better use of “bench time,” and it keeps them fully engaged in the project at hand. That’s why, as the season progresses and March Madness arrives, pay special attention to the sixth man players. I bet you’ll find that even though they have less time on the court, they still make a big impact on the final score.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.


The development of innovative software requires an Agile mindset, and the ability to change course and flex on scope when necessary, in a way that minimizes cost and maximizes innovation.Accordingly, a core principle of Agile software development is the emphasis on embracing changing requirements throughout the process. Many companies have adopted Agile for this very reason – to get faster, more innovative outcomes through real-time market and user feedback.This requires resource flexibility, scalability, and speed in order to adjust to constantly changing specifications. This combats the key challenge many companies face of finding and scaling necessary software development teams for effective Agile development.Scrum-as-a-Service is a unique engagement framework for Agile software development that helps clients develop mission critical software with speed, flexibility, and efficiency. This approach gives clients easy access to cross-functional teams of experts (also known as Scrum teams) who develop high-quality working software in a way that encourages innovation and maximizes time-to-market.What does Scrum-as-a-Service provide?Proven Agile ExpertiseAssembling Agile software development teams from scratch is daunting, to say the least.  Sourcing experienced Scrum Masters and Agile professionals familiar with the practice’s many nuances (Kanban, Scrum, Lean Agile, Scaled Agile, etc.) can be a challenge. With Scrum-as-a-Service, each team has the necessary Agile skills, experience, and best-practice knowledge required for success. This means that you can bypass the grueling process of spending weeks or months trying to find and assemble the right people and skillsets for the job.Rapid ScalingInitially assembling a qualified Scrum team is just the first piece of the puzzle. You need to be able to adjust your approach and flex on scope as work progresses. This means resources and skillsets need to be accommodated as well. A Scrum-as-a-Service approach allows you to easily scale up or scale down teams as required, using just the right mix of technical skillsets and capabilities.In addition, Scrum-as-a-Service teams are capable of scaling to providing end-to-end life cycle services. These include development, testing, integration, deployment, and support. And whole teams can easily be moved to new projects as company needs arise.Multidisciplinary Skills On-tapOf course, Agile development projects require the general expertise of scrum masters, developers, and designers. But that’s just half the battle. Varying demands often require the know-how of highly-specialized experts. The Scrum-as-a-Service model provides you with a customized team based on your specific project requirements. Whether its high-powered UI/UX, data, cloud, AppSec, QA or DevOps, you can assemble the ideal team that’ll drive innovation and speed to market.Team Chemistry and ContinuityEffective teams must know and trust each other. They also need to figure out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This generally takes time. A lot of time. Scrum-as-a-Service has the advantage of providing you with experienced Scrum teams that have previously worked together, saving time, and removing friction. As multidisciplinary teams scale and new challenges are tackled, a virtuous cycle of innovative delivery and team engagement is created.Business Alignment and Ownership of OutcomesScrum-as-a-Service is an approach that puts the company and product’s success before everything else. Once hired, Scrum teams become an extension of the client’s company, and team members know they succeed only when the client succeeds. This level of commitment is one of the key differences between Scrum-as-a-Service and traditional contracting. Contractors often limit their efforts to the mere fulfillment of the contract agreement related to basic cost, scope, or service-level parameters. They can fail to see the full picture and often act more like hired mercenaries than team players.Our Unique Scrum-as-a-Service ModelRural Sourcing provides Scrum-as-a-Service through development centers exclusively located in mid-sized cities throughout Middle America.  With an average of 10 years of experience, our Agile software development experts understand U.S. consumer culture and common business practices. They operate within similar time zones as our clients for the real-time collaboration necessary for Agile development.Rural Sourcing’s ability to remotely provide Scrum-as-a-Service at high velocity is unrivaled in onshore software development. More importantly, our clients and case studies back it up. Our co-located Agile teams can deliver 2.5x – 4x the velocity of offshore teams and a 15% – 30% efficiency advantage over onsite contractors.In addition, Rural Sourcing’s Agile development services are structured to meet our clients’ needs wherever they are on their Agile journey. We’re here to help you embrace the Agile development mindset, so modernization, reinvention, and innovation always stay top of mind.INTERESTED? LET'S TALK.

DevOps: Critical for Market Speed and Innovation

In today’s digital arena, businesses must quickly react to, or even predict, customer desires and market demand.  The development and deployment of innovative technology must happen just as quickly.  Accordingly, IT leaders are abandoning the diametrically opposed goals that previously placed Development and Operations groups in conflict.Traditionally, Development set out to build and deploy the capabilities the business needed, while Operations kept the infrastructure stable and fast. Development teams bundled new functionality and system improvements into periodic updates to appease the Operations teams’ resistance to any change that could disrupt system operations.Operational Overview of IT – Before DigitalDepartment Functional Perspective Responsibility Timeframe Development Silo Build the functionality and capabilities the business needs Quarters to years Operations Silo Keep the infrastructure running smoothly with as little change as possible Ongoing This chart captures the roles and responsibilities of Development and Operations groups in a traditional IT organization.In this digital age, the diametrically opposed goals of Development and Operations are falling by the wayside. A united DevOps process and supporting culture, which requires both sides to see beyond their respective functional silos, unites IT staffers behind a single, shared goal: to enable the business to compete and win.Operational Overview of IT – After DigitalDepartment Functional Perspective Responsibility Timeframe Development Blended and collaborative Build the scalable functionality and capabilities the business needs Create, test and produce 50 to 100 microservices simultaneously Rolls out “50 deployments” a day DevOps explained: This chart shows how the newly melded DevOps model unites IT organizations in the digital environment.While definitions of DevOps’ mission and culture vary from organization to organization, Rural Sourcing aligns itself with Gartner Group’s view of DevOps in the digital age:DevOps represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture), and seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps implementations utilize technology — especially automation tools that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective.IT organizations’ move to a DevOps model and culture refocuses technologists’ view away from technical infrastructure onto the needs of the business. This sea change in the way IT approaches its work requires speed, not for speed’s sake, but for competitive advantage. Through microservices, DevOps organizations can leverage digital tools and technologies to engage IT staffers and compress the speed-to-revenue cycle.By embracing the DevOps model, it enables Rural Sourcing to deliver software in a frictionless environment. Our teams work seamlessly across the “old school” borders of development and operations to provide solutions at the right speed for your organization. In a digital world where delays result in a declining competitive position, Rural Sourcing can help set up your business for success. We’ve integrated the use of the latest technologies including development and release automation, behavior-driven development, cloud delivery and container management to continually deliver a bug-free product.LET'S CONNECT

Why Rural Sourcing is the Next Starbucks

Confession time: I’m a Starbucks fanatic. For me, the day hasn’t begun until I’ve had my triple grande nonfat cappuccino. In fact, the company's former CEO Howard Schultz is someone whose leadership and guidance I've always admired (I’m the proud owner of an autographed copy of his book: Onward.) It was Schultz’s idea to create a third place to have coffee: a place that wasn’t your home or office. This vision created a new alternative at a scale that didn’t previously exist. The Rural Sourcing business model follows the same concept. Up until recently, businesses had two options for their IT workforce strategy. Businesses could bring in the talent to their office in their city, often at expensive hourly rates, or they could offshore the work to an outsourcing firm for less expensive hourly rates and figure out how to manage the cultural, security, IP, and time zone challenges. At Rural Sourcing, we saw the need to create that third option at scale. Small cities, big opportunities Onshore domestic technology talent is abundant in smaller cities such as Albuquerque, NM; Oklahoma City, OK; or Mobile, AL. These cities, complete with large universities, low cost of living and high quality of life, represent millions of available technology talent waiting to be deployed to solve software problems for the world’s greatest companies located in much higher cost locations. Rural Sourcing selects cities like these based on our proprietary data analysis of the qualified talent pool, the quality of life and the affordability of living in these locations. We then establish software development centers complete with the look and feel of a “Google-esque” environment, where software developers and quality engineers can focus on creating applications to support our clients on their digital journeys. The beauty of this third option, unlike Starbucks, is that it actually costs less than the other available options. With a substantially reduced cost of living in these smaller cities, the dollar goes a lot further than in San Francisco, New York, or even Atlanta. Also, when measured against offshore, domestic sourcing is more cost-effective when evaluated by the total cost of ownership (TCO) of completing a successful project in today’s agile software development world. The right blend I’m not saying that businesses shouldn’t consume the available talent within their own cities or even offshore, as both have their respective roles to play in the sourcing strategy. What I am saying, however, is that there’s a new coffee shop available that serves a remarkable third alternative that may just taste better than your traditional sources. Find out more about our unique blend of services here.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.

2020 Tech Trends: New Decade, New Opportunities for CIOs

With a new year and a new decade, we’re taking a look at opportunities for our clients and the state of the technology market. As we’ve talked with our clients and studied the industry, we see two themes emerge.Expansion of Artificial Intelligence/Machine LearningA Full Transformation to Cloud TechnologiesArtificial Intelligence (AI)We’ve heard a lot about AI over the past few years, but for most enterprise companies this narrative has been about a leading-edge technology in search of good use cases. All that is set to change. AI is going from an R&D or pilot programs to the mainstream. That will have a massive impact on businesses of all types.We’re seeing a massive investment in AI. According to Gartner, 37 percent of organization have implemented AI in some form. That’s a 270 percent increase over the last four years. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, since spending on AI systems has increased drastically as well. The IDC reports a 44 percent increase from the prior year to more than $35 billion in 2019 and that number is expected to grow another 30 percent in 2020 according to Axios.There are opportunities to utilize AI through almost any technology or industry. Marketing and sales have been early adopters and believers in machine learning, but the use of AI will become ubiquitous in business operations as the decade progresses. Through AI, leaders and CIO’s can make better decisions by removing unconscious biases, allowing them to potentially find hidden truths, spot patterns and predict the future with more accuracy.Cloud TransformationCloud Transformation has also been a hot topic for a number of years in tech. In 2020, it will take a leap further.Initially, companies pursued the Cloud for server capabilities and infrastructure improvements, ie. getting rid of their own servers and data centers. In 2018, Gartner reported that the worldwide public cloud services market was $182.4 billion. In 2019, that number was up 17.5 percent.In mid-2019, Gartner had this to say:“Cloud services are definitely shaking up the industry,” said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “At Gartner, we know of no vendor or service provider today whose business model offerings and revenue growth are not influenced by the increasing adoption of cloud-first strategies in organizations. What we see now is only the beginning, though. Through 2022, Gartner projects the market size and growth of the cloud services industry at nearly three time the growth of overall IT services.”That puts things into perspective and shows the scope of what is to come.We are seeing our clients utilize the Cloud to replatform and modernize their business applications to take advantage of the advanced technical development capabilities of the cloud platforms. Through the cloud, clients are embracing containerization, microservices, machine learning and natural language processing skills.2020 will continue to move the Cloud Transformation forward. We will see innovation and increased adoption as CIOs position their companies to succeed today and in the future.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.

Onshoring Software Development – Good for Budgets, Good for the Economy

As the tech industry continues to boom, the demand for developers, IT staff and tech professionals isn't slowing down any time soon. For decades, businesses tried to lower costs by offshoring their technology needs to other countries, however, they soon learned the unique challenges of offshoring such as time zone difference, language barriers, and cultural misunderstandings. These seemingly minor annoyances can cause some major problems: project 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 not to offshore and instead look for a better alternative. Rural Sourcing understood these challenges and helped introduce a new way to outsource development that not only helped companies achieve their IT goals, but also helped local economies capitalize on and retain their best tech talent. Onshoring Software Development 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 cities 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 it also does so in a way that supports small to mid-size local economies and creates opportunities for the tech professionals who call these places 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, and New Mexico, where the cost of living is less expensive and there's 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, including 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 thousands of jobs are created that can have an enormously positive ripple effect on local economies. It's a win-win-win for tech professionals, companies, and the cities our development centers call home. Measuring the Economic Impact of Rural Sourcing on Communities To figure out Rural Sourcing's true economic impact, we reached out to the James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta University in Georgia. The team measured our economic impact by using an input-output model in 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 how much our development centers helped boost the economies where they're located. As a result, the team was able to provide a comprehensive assessment of our local economic impact, 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's Positive Economic Impact The impact of Rural Sourcing on its communities is far more than just the number of jobs created. With more jobs in local communities, people have more disposable income to spend, which trickles into the economy and supports local businesses. When it comes to measuring Rural Sourcing's total economic impact in just one community, the results are astounding. The study found that Rural Sourcing 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 six development centers across the U.S., Rural Sourcing is responsible for contributing $100 million-$150 million annually to the surrounding local communities. Typically, Rural Sourcing agrees to ten year commitments for job creation so extrapolating today’s level of investment in these communities across the ten year commitment means we have a $1 billion-$1.5 billion impact on our selected communities. Our Commitment to Creating High Quality Jobs in the United States Rural Sourcing is taking huge steps to support the American dream. While other conglomerates have favored larger metro areas, Rural Sourcing has fostered innovation and growth in small cities across the United States. And we’re incredibly proud of the impact we’ve made: by stimulating job growth in America, we've helped local economies grow by more than $100 million. NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.

Gartner: Geopolitical Uncertainty Brings Risk to Offshoring

There has always been risk associated with outsourcing software development. The question of which outsourcing option (offshore, near shore, onshore) is right for a CIO depends on an equation that addresses price, speed and risk.That equation keeps changing as the risks of offshore rise.A recent Gartner report outlines major geopolitical concerns that are impacting both offshore and near shore development.“Political and economic stability is an important factor in offshore outsourcing arrangements,” said Jim Longwood, research vice president at Gartner.The outsourcing market has been relatively stable for the past few years, according to Gartner. But that may be the quiet before the storm. Recently, we’ve seen terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, a trade dispute between the US and China and political tensions in Hong Kong. These global incidents demonstrate the potential dangers of relying on offshore development.“Gartner has started fielding more questions from clients about how to address these scenarios. This includes whether to stop sourcing services from a particular country, move services to another country or bring them back onshore. Each option is quite costly and can disrupt service delivery in the short-to-medium term.”For example, Gartner estimates that China exports around $10 billion of IT application and business process services. Indian outsourcing firms generated more than $45 billion in global services in 2018.“Concerns include potential disruption to or cessation of services, increased tax added to export labor rates and reduced quality of service due to ‘patriotic’ backlashes by local staff,” said Longwood. “However, instability is not limited to the U.S./China situation. All organizations should review their offshoring and nearshoring arrangements.”With so much instability with offshore development, it is critical for companies to proactively mitigate risk to ensure the stability of their systems. According to Gartner, that is leading companies to develop a multi-country sourcing strategy. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 65 percent of large companies will switch to a multi-country sourcing strategy.The relatively new category that has been added to the procurement strategy for many companies is the low-cost, onshore development.We’re seeing more and more companies add the category as a strategic sourcing bucket to meet ever growing digital demand. Onshore outsourcing can be competitive while bringing the added benefits of speed, improved communication and lower risk. By finding tech talent in Middle America, where there is a lower cost of living, companies can lower costs while maintaining the high level of quality and security that CIOs, CISOs, and CTOs demand.Organizations cannot control geopolitical unrest, but they can control their exposure to risk. Onshore software development is the solution needed to manage risk, lower costs and ensure development work meets goals of speed to market and quality.DISCOVER MORE

Where Are the Cost Savings and Advantages through Cloud Transformation?

As technology evolves, CIOs are looking to the Cloud. Embracing the Cloud Transformation is about more than just keeping up with the competition. It offers significant advantages that can be a game changer for innovative companies.Cloud technologies are great for enterprises looking to offload the overhead of server and hardware maintenance, which allows them to focus on building solutions for customers. One of the key benefits of the Cloud is the ability to prototype complex architectures in minutes. Additionally, if something doesn’t work, then it can be reworked quickly foregoing the approval process and money required for capital expenditures, yielding significant cost savings.Cloud Transformation was center stage at this year’s Cloud Summit in Albuquerque, N.M. A panel moderated by Rural Sourcing Chief Operating Officer Ingrid Miller looked at the options and benefits for companies moving to the Cloud in today’s tech climate.“When building out a Cloud architecture, services like AWS Cloud Formation and Azure Resource Manager enable businesses to create templates for their environments,” said Brandon Avant, principal consultant, Rural Sourcing. “This allows architects to quickly script out the resources that their business will need and make necessary modifications along the way. By doing this, they can mitigate the tedious process of manually creating and linking resources, which allows businesses to focus on more important endeavors, such as developing their enterprises’ applications.”With multiple Cloud-based options, there are some key considerations when making a decision between Azure, AWS and Google.“Spend time thinking about compliance and security requirements prior to investing in a Cloud-based solution for your enterprise,” said Mathew Zannoni, senior consultant, Rural Sourcing. “Sometimes the best solution to adhere to regulatory constraints is to take a hybrid approach. Azure now offers many different connectors that make it much simpler to create complex hybrid solutions to connect on-premise resources to Cloud-based resources.”As with any development or digital transformation, cost is a consideration. The panel experts say there are cost savings to be had, if you know where to look.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.“As you get started using the Azure platform it is a good idea to pay close attention to the various costs involved,” said Zannoni. “There are many ways to optimize spend and reduce the overall cost of cloud solutions. I recommend spending some time examining different pricing scenarios using Azure’s cost calculators. This is one area where planning ahead can realize thousands of dollars in savings each month.”In addition to cost savings, the cloud offers businesses access a variety of managed service at massive quantities of scale, giving access to cutting edge solutions and new efficiencies.“Almost any cloud provider you will find presents their offerings as metered services,” said Jarred Kozlick, senior consultant, Rural Sourcing. “This allows business to convert IT expenditures that were conventionally capital costs into operating costs, only paying for the resources consumed. This model allows business to pay for only what they use, and always have the resources they need, leading to reduced costs while still being able to scale applications based on usage.”Cloud providers also offer numerous managed services, such as databases and messaging queues. As Kozlick notes, using these services allows developers to focus on solving business problems instead of managing infrastructure.The move to the Cloud represents an opportunity for CIOs looking for cost savings, efficiency and flexibility. Companies that have already embraced Cloud Transformation are reporting impressive results. It takes a forward-thinking CIO to put an organization on this path, but with the right vision, team and partners, a successful Cloud integration will impact more than just a company’s backend. Cloud Transformation can positively impact the customer experience and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Thinking Security First: How to Lower Cost and Mitigate Risk with DevSecOps

Success today is about more than just delivering a product. In a world inundated with threats, securing our products and networks is paramount. As a result, DevSecOps plays an ever-expanding role in the digital economy.This topic was at the forefront of Rural Sourcing’s 2019 Cloud Summit in Albuquerque. In a discussion led by Rural Sourcing VP of Innovation & Sales Engineering Derek Perry, a panel of experts shared insights on how product-centric organizations are positioned in today’s marketplace and how DevSecOps can shape their security practices.“DevOps can best be described as a pipeline to package and ship production-ready code to the world,” said Kris Wall, principal consultant, Rural Sourcing. “Often times, security is an afterthought, and now security has been finally integrated into the DevOps lifecycle by building in security checkpoints throughout the lifecycle. Most importantly, this has shifted the industry's attention towards secure coding and testing services, a shift that should have occurred a long time ago.”For Brian Self, solutions architect at WhiteHat Security, putting DevSecOps at the front of the plan is critical. He notes data from a Ponemon Institute study conducted with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrating that the average cost to repair a defect in production is 100x more expensive than if it had been caught and fixed during development. The takeaway—the earlier a vulnerability is found the cheaper it is to remediate.LEARN ABOUT OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH WHITEHAT“DevSecOps has required a far tighter and closer integration of security into all stages of the software development lifecycle (SDLC),” said Self. “This close and early integration of security is a very different approach and a change for many organizations. Traditionally security has been bolted on at the end of the SDLC, if at all. The sooner we integrate security, the better. It lowers cost of remediation and significantly lowers the risk/threat profile.”Bill Rose, who leads Rural Sourcing’s Fort Wayne Development Center and previously served as Head of IT and interim CIO for MGM Resorts International, says it’s an imperative to pull security forward into the design and development process. At deployment, it may be too late."In today's high threat/high risk environment, security can't be an afterthought, it should be closer to a first thought,” said Rose. "My advice would be to avoid over-analyzing and resist seeking the full answer first.  Dive in, utilize the principles and spirit of continuous improvement, and build toward the right process for your organization."“DevSecOps isn't a destination,” said Wall. “You can't add a new process and call it done. The security landscape is constantly changing, and the DevOps pipeline must continue to evolve with new threats as they're uncovered.”NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.

The Goldilocks Syndrome: Finding Balance in Software Development

“Goldilocks and the Three Bears” has an important message about software development in today’s landscape.If you look at the story, you see that there are ultimately three options when it comes to porridge for Goldilocks. One is too hot. One is too cold. And one is just right.It’s the same when companies make decisions about software development. One is too hot (expensive). One is too cold (poor quality). And one is just right.When analyzing companies, we continually see the same three problems when it comes to software development—money, quality and talent. There is limited budget which forces CIOs to look for low cost development options and/or there are challenges with finding adequate development talent to handle the work. That conundrum leads us to what we’ll call the Goldilocks Syndrome.Finding success in the Goldilocks Syndrome requires the right balance.In-house resourcesBuilding an in-house software development team is a response to quality concerns. Logic dictates that by building internal resources, you will receive better quality.That may be true, but there are a myriad of challenges when it comes to in-house software development.It’s expensiveTough to scale Hard to find talentEven if you find good talent, the industry is seeing a high turnover rate. Searching for talent takes time and cuts into the advantages you see from in-house development. There is a place for in-house software development but like Goldilocks’s porridge, it’s too hot.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.Offshore resourcesOffshore software development is the direct result of one concern—cost. There is an unmistakable allure to offshore. To keep with the children’s story metaphor, it’s like the witch luring Hansel and Gretel to her candy house. It’s a temptation too great to resist. But at some point, you get burned and you see the cost savings for what they truly are.So the question is—are the upfront cost savings worth it? Are you willing to sacrifice quality and speed?As anyone who has spent much time managing software development projects will know—if you don’t have speed and quality cost savings don’t mean anything because you end up with expensive rework and delayed timelines. Soon the perceived cost savings evaporate.In the world of Goldilocks, it’s just too cold.OnshoreOnshore outsourcing is known to be less expensive than in-house development but more expensive than offshore alternatives. But initial costs don’t tell the full story.When you look at the full picture, onshore outsourcing can be competitive on all fronts. Innovative outsourcing models help companies find balance and meet their needs. By finding tech talent in Middle America, where there is a lower cost of living, we can mitigate costs while maintaining the high level of quality that CIOs demand. Think about that—controlled cost while maintaining the speed and scalability you need. Plus, you don’t have to recruit and retain talent. Onshore outsourcing can be the best of both worlds.To find success, find balance. With companies concerned about cost, quality and talent, onshore outsourcing has proven to be “just right.”Goldilocks had to try all three bowls of porridge before deciding which one was just right. But you’ve done your research ahead of time. You already know which one is too hot, too cold and just right. So, which bowl of porridge are you going to try?SEE WHAT RURAL SOURCING CAN DO FOR YOU

Five keys to rebuilding apps with microservices

The cloud offers IT organizations an opportunity to break down applications into reusable pieces of functionality called microservices that can be combined and recombined in almost endless variations. This rapid build-and-deploy approach, however, does not "play well" with monolithic existing applications that are wrapped into a single executable file. Making even the smallest tweak to those kinds of applications requires a whole new version of the application be built, tested and deployed – a counter to the improved productivity and efficiency that are hallmarks of microservices-based applications. To move existing applications to the cloud mandates a full rewrite with functionality being broken down into a cloud-native form, such as microservices, event-driven architectures and serverless technologies (such as AWS’s Lambda).During this rebuild effort, IT organizations need to follow four key principles to leverage the cloud’s benefits:Use domain-driven designCreate guidelines for code librariesResist the urge to share databases between microservices Measure performance when scalingAdditionally, IT organizations just starting their cloud migration efforts can learn much from those who have gone before them. A quick Google search reveals comprehensive migration white papers and use cases that can jump-start the effort, such as a step-by-step guide from AWS.READ OUR MICROSERVICES WHITE PAPER‘Yellow light’ microservices’ first stepsWhen IT organizations elect to adopt this new microservices architecture, it is wise to proceed with caution. This advice is particularly relevant when selecting the first microservice container to build from scratch. Even experienced IT professionals will find it challenging to learn how to develop and deploy in the microservices environment as they build new containers. Our advice is to decide whether to build either the microservices environment OR the container as a first step – trying to do both will make the task more challenging than it needs to be. It is also recommended that IT leaders work with their teams to select a low-value application as the place to start the microservices-based effort. Customer-facing or business-critical applications contain too much visibility and too much risk to be a first effort.IT leaders should be confident that their DevOps teams have mastered the basics before assigning them to a complex project that can be overwhelming in its scope and depth. Remember that proficiency with the automated tools that are part of microservices is a table-stakes requirement. Finally, constantly measure the applications’ performances and keep a vigilant eye out if microservices seem to be “thickening” over time.Taking a deliberate approach in moving to microservices helps ensure that IT professionals can grow into their digital roles with confidence. In addition, a phased approach can help to lessen unrealistic expectations coming from the company’s executive team who may be pressuring this critically important, yet brand new, digital effort to move at a faster-than-normal pace.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.

Managing through digital talent scarcity

An ongoing global lack of digital talent continues to be the number one limiting factor that constrains enterprise-level adoption of microservices-based development. This shortage creates particular pain for the U.S. where estimates place the number of unfilled computer science positions at 1.4 million by 2020. Only 400,000 computer science graduates will have the skills needed to apply for those openings. Technology giants, such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, are taking a "grow your own" approach to the shortage, making billion-dollar investments in local campuses across America to build the digital talent they need.To complicate matters further, the digital technologist that tops today’s talent list possess not only outstanding digital expertise but a wide range of "soft skills" as well. Collaborative, team-driven IT organizations need technologists who can problem solve and communicate. In the digital environment, advancing projects toward completion is as much about collaboration and communication as it is about individual skill sets.However, there are specific cultural and organizational integration strategies that can help level the playing field. For example, helping digital talent understand, during the hiring process, the IT organization’s mission, vision, values and culture goes a long way to assuring a candidate’s "good fit." Digital talent that learns the ins and outs of the competitive landscape will appreciate the business advantages available to companies with IT organizations that embrace change and pivot accordingly. Valuable digital talent seeks a professional home that takes risks, has an entrepreneurial approach to its work, and supports a "safe-to-fail" environment. Those qualities can do more to cement the digital talent’s loyalty to the company than compensation alone. In addition, "mainstreaming" digital talent into the IT organization, rather than keeping these individuals isolated in a skunk works operation, helps to build loyalty and a sense of belonging.LEARN MORE ABOUT MICROSERVICESOne effective way to manage through this persistent shortage, is to seek out talent from trusted partners with a deep inventory of digitally prepared individuals. For example, a relatively new concept called Partnering with Intent™ centers on a purposeful approach to digital talent sourcing. As companies’ digital transformation rapidly shifts business priorities, the kinds of digital talent needed evolve as well. Partnering with Intent helps ensure that a few key partners who are aligned with their clients’ mission, vision and culture, as well as their talent requirements, deliver "employee-like" individuals who are culturally additive and possess the required digital skills. Partnering with Intent also enables IT organizations to quickly and easily 'restack the deck" with different combinations of digital assets as needs change. (For more information about how Partnering with Intent can transform digital talent building and retention, download the white paper.)Today’s digital talent seeks out IT organizations that encourage risk-taking, constantly strive for innovation and have a "safe-to-fail" culture. The majority of digitally skilled employees (72%) prefer entrepreneurial cultures with agility and flexibility.Competition for digital talent is high and few IT organizations can afford, from a productivity standpoint, to have this precious commodity walk out the door. That’s why so many IT organizations are adopting a more flexible approach to work responsibilities – a collaborative approach that empowers IT professionals to push the boundaries of what can be accomplished with technology. Entrepreneurial organizations often become "destinations of choice" for digital talent, which can leave competitors struggling.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.To learn more about how microservices-led innovation can improve staff productivity and application quality, download the newest executive white paper from Rural Sourcing, "Microservices: Fast Path to Digitally Required Innovation."