"We no longer have to worry about capacity constraints or technology capability, which freed us up to focus on expanding our business, and serving our customers well"
- Dr. Martin Verwijmeren, CEO and co-founder MP Objects
I have outlined in my previous blog (http://blog.comakeit.com/agile-distributed-development-is-a-great-fit-for-software-driven-businesses) how distributed development with agile processes can be a great fit for software driven businesses, and the opportunity for companies to forge strategic partnerships with innovative service providers.
Traditional IT outsourcing is not the answer
Over the past two decades IT outsourcing has become an integral part of the global economy, and as companies seek to overcome capacity constraints and talent shortage in mature western economies, engaging offshore service providers is the first option on the table. The relative cost advantages, and competitive pressures make outsourcing an indispensable and strategic option that can’t be ignored by executive management.
While the advantages of having a ‘follow the sun approach’, with a 24x7 service capability and ease of scaling make outsourcing an obviously attractive proposition, companies should also be aware of the limitations with this traditional model, as outlined below:
- People outsourcing and/or project outsourcing will not result in any sustainable business or IT transformation
- Resources, and processes are driven and controlled by the service provider resulting in low level of integration
- Task based reactive output, with little incentive for innovation
- Basic, hands off engagement
- Rigid in scope, deliverables dictated and controlled by the nature of contract
The above cited limitations make traditional outsourcing an unviable option, especially for ISVs and software driven businesses, which need a much higher level of integration and collaborative work that will only result from dedicated domain exposure and process maturity gained over a period of time.
What should enterprises look for?
If traditional IT outsourcing is not a viable option due to above cited limitations, the question that begs an answer is what kind of service providers or outsourcing framework will solve the problems of ISVs and similar software driven businesses. Before answering this question, we should look at some of the critical characteristics that an ISV should look for in a service provider:
- Developing software products and/or services (i.e. software IP), needs dedicated teams for knowledge continuity
- Need partners who can extend their capacity
- As the domain experts, the business owner must be in the drivers’ seat and not the service providers
- A higher level partnership that can facilitate a seamless integration of native and offshore teams ensuring that the ISV or enterprise is in complete control at all times
- Partners who offer a mature and collaborative engagement framework
Strategic partners in Innovation
As ISVs and software driven businesses look beyond traditional IT outsourcing and explore innovative and strategic partnership models, they can use some of the following factors to evaluate the relative competencies of service providers:
- Service providers who excel in product development and with proven capabilities in agile processes and methodologies such as Scrum
- Partners who can provide dedicated teams customized with appropriate roles tailored for the IP development needs of the customer
- Partners with proven solution design and product road mapping competencies, and who have much more than mere technology expertise
- Partners who can work with native teams and help in automation of end-to-end processes
- Above all a partner with a proven ability in building high performance teams
There are a few OPD (outsourced product development) service providers in the traditional IT offshoring jurisdictions with some of these competencies, but not the complete bouquet needed by an ISV type of busness
For the past 10 years, I and my colleagues with decades of experience in enterprise class product development are proud to have built coMakeIT, an innovative service provider with a very niche focus on partnering exclusively with ISVs and software driven businesses. With our unique insights and product development DNA, we have developed a well honed approach to help alleviate the capacity constraints of ISVs. Over the past decade we have forged strategic partnerships with numerous ISVs and helped them scale their development capacity and execute product road maps. Our process excellence helped many ISVs achieve automation and Devops capability that was absent in their native development environment, and ensured a seamless integration between the distributed teams.
Our unique service delivery model and strategic partnership enabled numerous ISVs to focus on expanding their core business and serving their customers better, without having to worry about capacity constraints or technology bottlenecks.
Steven ten Napel
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