The COVID-19 outbreak has brought about new risks, challenges, and rules to play by. And every business, from a global enterprise to a local start-up is struggling to address them in their own way. Many companies were forced to ramp down their operations and cut costs, others - to shut down their offices altogether. While at the same time some are overwhelmed by the growing demand and are unable to withstand the high-load on their own.
Another challenge businesses face is a massive shift to the Work From Home mode. Some companies, such as IT outsourcing vendors, are not only accustomed to this work mode but have developed time-tested best practices, whereas, for others, it is entirely new and challenging.
What’s more, there is no clear distinction between remote and onsite development teams anymore. Offshore is closer than before. And many businesses are starting to rethink its value.
Amid this new reality, finding a reliable IT outsourcing partner can help you gain a few strong competitive advantages both in term of short-term and long-term strategies:
Offshore development can help businesses both to survive the coronavirus crisis and emerge stronger in the post-crisis time.
''While containing costs must be a crucial element of the second-wave response, CIOs have an opportunity to accelerate programs and push priorities that can help position the business to succeed when the downturn ends. There’s no point in winning the battle but losing the war.'' - McKinsey
Now let’s take a more detailed look at how IT outsourcing can help businesses survive in a time of coronavirus crisis, and how to find a reliable software development partner.
How IT outsourcing can help you weather the storm
Outsourcing software development in a time of coronavirus offers a wide range of benefits: from cost-effectiveness and access to an extensive talent pool to increased scalability.
The cost-efficiency of IT outsourcing during coronavirus is one of the overriding factors. It’s true, companies can save up to 30% on operating costs by offshore outsourcing, according to the Telegraph. And now the figure is estimated to be even bigger as the current situation is driving IT outsourcing vendors to make their rates even more attractive.
Access to a global talent pool
IT outsourcing has been widely known for providing access to an extensive talent pool. And it has been often used as a remedy to the talent shortage, especially in terms of rare specialists.
Now, companies can tap into even a larger talent pool as many tech startups suspended or slowed down their operations, and many highly qualified and experienced specialists, including rare ones (e.g., data scientists, machine learning engineers) are open to new job opportunities. Therefore, it is now much easier to find the best software engineers within a short time frame. What’s more, businesses can now easily find the brightest minds from across the globe for the most attractive rates. Companies are not limited to their local specialists anymore and don’t need to overpay for their services.
Extensive remote development expertise
As this massive shift to WFH mode showed, remote development and remote cooperation are rather challenging to those who are not used to it. According to Mckinsey, high demand for collaborative tools, guides, training, and operating norms for working from home at scale was highlighted as the top concern for chief information officers. Infrastructure scaling and cybersecurity threats were also rated rather high among the challenges in a time of coronavirus crisis.
That’s why IT outsourcing vendors, who are accustomed to remote development and working in distributed engineering teams can share their best practices and help companies to make their remote development effective, scalable, and highly secure.
For instance, N-iX, an offshore outsourcing provider from Eastern Europe, has been successfully building remote development teams for businesses based in the USA, the UK, Western Europe, Australia, Middle East, and Asia for more than 18 years.
In a time of coronavirus, IT outsourcing vendors can help businesses, such as streaming services, communication tools, telecoms, etc., to scale up infrastructure and withstand high-load. To achieve this goal, businesses need a reliable offshore outsourcing partner that has solid expertise in cloud and DevOps to help them scale infrastructure, migrate their solutions to the cloud, and more. Besides, outsourcing during coronavirus crisis helps to easily scale up or scale down your team depending on the current needs and the ongoing changes. And it allows doing it without any risks and HR overhead costs.
Where to find a reliable outsourcing partner in the time of coronavirus?
We used to have two globally known outsourcing destinations, which offered a large talent pool and cost-efficient services: Eastern Europe and Asia. However, the massive lockdown as a result of coronavirus crisis and shift to WFH (Work From Home) mode have shown that not all outsourcing countries are ready to face the challenge and some of them are less prepared for work-from-home arrangements than the others.
For instance, the BPM sector is hit by travel restrictions in India and the Philippines, two major delivery locations.
India, as an offshore outsourcing destination, in a time of coronavirus is almost paralyzed: up to 50% of work is not being performed on some projects. The country was not ready for such a turnaround due to a range of factors—for instance, the state of logistics and cultural mindset of Indian engineers as they are more accustomed to working under supervision and monitoring. What’s more, the president of the software association Nasscom highlighted that the country still struggles to catch up with the US and European countries in terms of digital technology adoption. Simply put - not all Indian developers have computers at home, thus cannot perform tasks when working remotely. Also, slow Internet speed in India is a challenge as well.
''That raises questions about whether one of India’s showpiece industries can function smoothly amid the coronavirus crisis. '' - Reuters
On the contrary, Eastern Europe has appeared to be much more prepared for responding to the coronavirus crisis. And the shift to the WHM has been rather smooth. In fact, the pandemic hasn’t impacted the continuity and quality of services most IT companies provide. And now the region is seen as the most optimum destination for IT outsourcing:
- Eastern Europe offers a great price-quality ratio, the constant growth of the IT industry, and strong technological expertise. This region has excellent STEM and computer science education.
- Eastern Europe has a large tech talent pool of 1M professional developers. Ukraine, Poland, and Romania are leading the Eastern European software development market,
- The region has a high level of digital adoption and was well -prepared for the Work-From-Home mode
- It is an excellent destination in terms of cost-saving without compromising quality. Eastern Europe was often chosen as an outsourcing destination because of the cost/value ratio. Now, in the face of the current situation, IT outsourcing vendors offer even more attractive conditions of cooperation both to their existing and potential partners and clients.
How to find a reliable IT outsourcing partner?
Here are aspects you have to pay special attention to when choosing a nearshore/offshore development partner in a time of coronavirus crisis.
1. The company took effective measures to respond to the coronavirus impact to both ensure the security of the employees and business operations.
For example, we at N-iX started revising our office work and travel policies right after the first confirmed case in Ukraine, where our big development centres are located. We started by informing our employees about virus threats, increased office safety, optimized our online working tools, restricted travel, and so on. With the next communications, we gradually switched to the work-from-home format and cancelled all business trips
2. It has a business continuity plan.
Nowadays, the success of the company highly depends on the speed and effectiveness of the measures to prevent a crisis. According to recent study by Deloitte and the American Chamber of Commerce, 63% of Ukrainian companies have established a specific body that monitors the situation and adjusts the company's business strategy to meet the new challenges. They work on a backup plan of actions that will help to fight emergencies - a business continuity plan. This helps the smooth recovery from the crisis. Thus, if your potential offshore development vendor does not have one - it is in the vulnerable position itself and cannot be called a reliable partner.
3. The IT outsourcing vendor has streamlined Agile processes in place.
Agile is the new stable. Choosing a partner that uses Agile methodology is a must these times, as Agile ceremonies such as sprint planning, daily stand-ups, demo sessions, retrospectives, backlog grooming make managing an outsourced development team way easier and its work more efficient. Not only do they need to have streamlined and time-tested Agile practices in place but also adjust these practices to make them more effective in time of remote. For example:
- change the structure of teams to create smaller agile ones of around five people,
- put even a larger focus on prioritizing than before,
- delegate decisions, with clear accountability, to individual team members,
- expand the use of technology that promotes effective collaboration.
4. The company is flexible and offers different cooperation and pricing models.
Businesses must be agile in the current situation. Therefore, finding a reliable and flexible outsourcing provider is a competitive advantage. Make sure your potential IT services provider offers different cooperation models (e.g., extended team, managed team, outsourced team) and different pricing models (e.g., fixed cost, Time&Material, and a dedicated team) and can help you choose the best ones to fit your specific demands and adjust the models to your current needs.
5. The IT outsourcing company is compliant with international security standards such as ISO, PCI, HIPAA, and has an effective security policy.
Reliable outsourcing companies pay special attention to security aspects at all levels. And, now, in the time of remote, their security policy must be even more reinforced.
6. The company shows a high level of communication, enthusiasm, and transparency.
Choose the vendor that takes effort to understand your business needs, sets up extra calls with you and sends you follow-ups. The eagerness of a vendor to clarify with you all the aspects and nuances ensures the success of your partnership in the long run.
7. Opt for the vendor that has a powerful employer brand and provides opportunities for professional growth.
This way, the company will be able to find experts for the project promptly and scale up teams quickly. Also, consider the size of the vendors and their recruitment capabilities, as mid-size and large providers are more likely to have resources you need internally than smaller companies.
How to manage an outsourced development team in a time of remote?
We have partially covered the remote development team management from the security perspective. Although there are some more challenges that companies face in case of remote work, such as communication, productivity, and morale.
To learn more about ways to tackle these difficulties - read the article on how to set up and manage distributed teams.
Why choose N-iX as your IT outsourcing partner?
- We have over 18 years of experience in remote work and management of distributed teams and have built long-term partnerships ( 5+ years) with companies such as Gogo, Lebara, Anoto, CurrencyCloud, and others;
- We are trusted in the global tech market: the company was listed among the top software development providers by Clutch, in the Global Outsourcing 100 by IAOP, recognized by GSA UK 2019 Awards, included in top software development companies by GoodFirms.co, and others;
- We use the agile approach in our work that ensures efficiency and flexibility. Also, we adapt to changes and strive to find the best solution to each problem;
- N-iX specialists develop secure and scalable solutions and IT infrastructures in a wide range of industries, such as telecom, healthcare, logistics, and others.