As organisations navigate the waves of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, most have had to adapt their working practices and strategies accordingly. Technology has been vital to keeping employees working effectively and allowing organisations to continue to offer their services and products over several lockdowns and changes to restrictions.
As a result, IT decision-makers have had to constantly review how their teams work and how best to adapt to changes, with many organisations choosing to accelerate their digital transformation in 2020 and beyond. A valuable part of this for many organisations has been extending their software development teams to be distributed in offshore locations – giving businesses flexibility and staff in core teams the support they need to keep things running efficiently.
Keeping agile with digital skills
Not only does it require significant tech resource to remain agile, but organisations may find they need different skill sets to those of their current workforce. New product builds or adaptations to existing products, for example, may require an expansion of development teams for the duration of the project, while implementing new applications and technologies may need to be done with an urgency and efficiency beyond the capacity and capabilities of current internal IT teams. A 2020 report by Microsoft, Goldsmiths and UCL found that 69% of UK leaders think their organisation has a digital skills gap, and 44% of leaders fear the negative effects of this.
In times of uncertainty, where businesses may have to respond quickly to industry changes, it is as important to think about how to gain the skills you need as a business as well as consider which particular skills are a priority. For example, retraining current staff or hiring and onboarding new staff may not be feasible or advisable if you have to implement changes quickly or have a single project requiring very specialised skills which may then not be applicable to the roles of permanent staff once these projects are over. This is where sourcing external technology resource in the right area can be extremely valuable. And there are now many companies offering flexible services to help you meet your business goals. For example, Merit, a tech company providing bespoke data solutions and services to some of the world’s leading B2B brands, offers scalable and skilled teams which can be easily dialled up and down within short notice periods.
While having distributed teams can present some challenges, widescale remote working in 2020 has proved that teams don’t necessarily all need to be together to work effectively, dispelling some of the myths around hiring external or temporary support that’s not based on-site in your core teams. Providing support for your in-house workforce through external support is therefore more viable than ever before, and can have particular value in these uncertain times.
Supporting internal dev teams with offshore talent
Some of the concerns about external tech resourcing, especially from overseas, include whether teams have the right communication skills, whether capabilities match qualifications, and whether teams have soft skills such as the ability to work independently and proactively. Not only are some of these concerns overexaggerated, but the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have encouraged and enabled tech resourcing companies to iron out any issues. Now that most organisations are having to navigate the challenges of a distributed workforce, many might benefit from enlisting the support of tech resourcing companies who have already been working with this setup for some time.
For example, Merit recently worked on a project for a global B2B media business facing resourcing challenges of this nature. The client owns a wide portfolio of market-leading brands and products, and uses a diverse range of technology across its products and platforms. They needed frequent product updates, and sometimes rebuilds, to keep up with industry changes, customer needs and emerging technologies. Not only did these projects have tight timelines with products needing to be scaled up and down at short notice, but the client’s own delivery teams were finding it difficult working together seamlessly when geographically separate.
Merit offered a flexible resourcing solution and a team with a wide range of skills to meet the demands of the client and fill in any gaps in skills and knowledge, helping to create unified teams that worked as a well-oiled machine. You can read the full case study and the results of this project here.
With the right combination of internal skills and complementary external tech support, businesses can feel confident to ride the waves of disruption caused by the pandemic, remaining agile and resilient to industry changes.
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