Integrating An Outsourced Software Development Partner To Overcome In-House Skill Gaps

TECH TEAMS | 16 Dec 2019

Sourcing technical talent has never been more difficult, and the problem is growing. As demand rises for highly niche technical skill sets and supply fails to meet market needs, companies are looking to outsourced software development teams as a solution. The challenge is only being compounded further by the evolution and fragmentation of development languages which has made finding specialists that much more difficult and expensive.

These skills gaps are preventing businesses from fulfilling their commercial potential and as a result, a solution is required, sooner rather than later. This is why so many businesses are prepared to try the outsourced software development model. However, in order to tap into the true benefits, they need to be prepared to adapt the way they work to effectively integrate and accommodate for an external partner. Unfortunately, this is where many businesses fall down.

Why Technical Skills Gaps Are Growing

Skills gaps in the technical sector are growing at an alarming rate, and it’s easy to see why. Technology is becoming increasingly dominant in startups and large corporations alike, across all sectors (banking, insurance, automotive, etc.), they all need more technical talent to fulfilou their market ambitions. As a result, the demand is heavily outweighing the supply, and at this moment in time, the infrastructures in place aren’t going to develop the necessary skills to meet the needs of tomorrow’s market.

While there is admittedly an increase in the number of students graduating with computer science and engineering degrees on a global scale, it’s just not enough, the talent is just not there to support the demands of today, let alone the future.

Sweden’s banking sector is a great example of a skills gap majorly impacting the capabilities and potential of an industry. With many financial organisations aiming to achieve digital transformation across their business, the need for IT skills is extremely high, with a prediction 63,000 additional professionals will be needed by 2022. Yet the country does not have the expertise coming through to cover these positions. This will pose major problems and force financial institutions to look at external development teams as an alternative solution to fill the gap.

How Outsourced Software Development Can Overcome the Technical Skills Gaps

To combat the technical skills gap, companies are embracing cross border collaboration, building distributed teams and hiring remote workers as a way of sourcing the key skills they need. Companies like Github have fully embraced this approach, with more than 60% of their overall workforce operating remotely. Other companies have completely embraced the remote philosophy, creating entire hubs of remote experts to access the talent at source.

This approach is particularly valuable for businesses located in highly commercial areas where the cost of living is expensive and the competition for talent is high. Having access to a remote workforce helps urban companies avoid these challenges and access a larger market of more diverse talent.

An External Development Team Provides a Reactive and Flexible Resource

When it comes to using external development talent, the flexibility they can offer is perhaps one of its greatest strengths. Development requirements often change and evolve over time, but internal resources are typically fixed and this is problematic when the need is immediate. However, with access to external development resources, it’s easy to strategically pivot and quickly find the skills and knowledge required to pursue new technologies and projects.

Rather than have an internal generalist building niche projects out of their comfort zone, companies can instead hire a team of experts in the field to build and optimise the project, maximising its chance of success. Beyond access to key capabilities, the opportunity to quickly scale is also a major benefit for companies who need to grow quickly to take advantage of changing market conditions.

How to Integrate an Elite Outsourced Software Development Partner

After choosing to work with an outsourced software development partner, it’s important efforts are made to integrate them into the company so they can deliver to the best of their capabilities. For an optimal outsourced software development initiative, it’s important to:

Develop and Work on Building a Strong Relationship With Your Partner

One of the most common challenges companies face when they choose to engage an outsourced software development partner centers around relationship building. In many instances there is a failure to effectively onboard an external agency and this can lay a shaky foundation for the future working dynamic. If an external team doesn’t genuinely doesn’t feel like an important part of the organisation, it’s likely motivation will be low.

The most successful development partnerships typically involve both sides showing mutual respect at all times and making efforts to ensure all parties involved are satisfied with the working dynamics. Weak relationships often lead to communication challenges, regular errors and difficulties collaborating, and these challenges can cause total project failure if left unchecked.

Keep External Partners up to Date on All the Details Around the Project

Good communication lies at the heart of all good working relationships, and the same applies in the development of technical projects. External partners need to be kept in the loop at all times on the details around project development, with any changes regularly communicated and explained to ensure all involved understand what’s going on and why.

Regular and detailed communication helps external partners to produce their very best output as they have the information they need to make educated decisions. However, communication goes beyond explicit conversation, it also extends to the systems being used to convey information. It’s important external teams can access the software that is used to communicate and that they’re not locked out of crucial areas, causing them to miss information.

Ensure Communication Is Clear and Processes Are in Place to Manage the Relationship

To optimise communication between internal teams and external partners it’s essential the right infrastructures and processes are in place to ensure everyone involved understands where information needs to be delivered, when and how. These systems should work both ways, enabling feedback and simple communication between parties, and ensuring all involved have an opportunity to share their view and contribute.

The most successful projects often involve an individual managing and maintaining the working relationship at every level, this ensures all stakeholders are satisfied and problems are sorted sooner rather than later. In many cases, this is the difference between success and failure.

Why Building a Good Relationship With an External Partner Is Critical

It should go without saying, but a happy external development team is an effective team. The very best outsourced software development initiatives are synergistic at the base level, with all sides benefitting from the relationship. However, to achieve this level of alignment, efforts need to be made to build, maintain and respect the relationship across stakeholders, business units and individuals.

This only comes about through regular and effective communication, with the right processes and systems in place to empower all involved to contribute and discuss opportunities and challenges.

The Positive Business Impact of Filling Technical Skills Gaps

With a high quality external development partner and a strong working relationship, companies can fulfil their growth ambitions and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by new technologies. Armed with a fully integrated development partner, they can develop technical projects safe in the knowledge that they will be delivered to an optimal level, maximizing the potential of the tools and languages at their disposal. This will add value across the business and ensure market opportunities are fully embraced when it matters most.

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