Three trends evident when organisations need to acquire tech skills and capabilities in today’s digital landscape.
Whether it is an individual, or outsourcing work to a third party operation, the approach being employed to secure digital/tech expertise has been changing. Frequently, the need to secure such expertise tends to be related to an organisation’s core business or to allow it to optimise its systems and realise improved efficiency and effectiveness.
The trends that have been emerging in relation to securing digital (or IT-related) expertise have been receiving some attention in the last few years, e.g. from popular IT analysis firm, Gartner, to lesser known publications on outsourcing. However, a recent McKinsey article, Acquiring the capabilities you need to go digital, highlighted five ways sourcing in this digital age differs from what would have been obtained historically. Below, we discuss the three most critical and/or evident in the Caribbean tech landscape.
1. Talent is key
Though cost containment continues to be an important consideration across both public and private sector organisations, generally, it is no longer as extreme as it used to be. Increasingly, organisations are taking into account other factors that are of strategic importance, but which might be at odds with (ruthless) cost cutting.
This posture is also being seen in how organisations recruit tech talent. Though it is still important to get value for money, firms are realising that it is even more critical to have truly capable individuals on their payroll, or on contract, which frequently are more efficient and effective than the average techie. Hence although they might have to pay more for those skills, ultimately, organisations are better positioned to tackle their challenges when there they have supported by a talented and resourceful team.
2. Projects are dynamic
Traditionally, and from a project specifications and implementation standpoint, it was crucial to have well detailed Terms of References and Scope of Work, which would be the blueprint for how the project was executed and the outputs delivered. However, today’s tech space is more dynamic. Product development and release cycles have also shortened considerably; hence how projects are implemented has also had to change.
Currently, work is not necessarily being done sequentially under rigid schedules. Parallel processes have been embraced, but more importantly, latitude to adjust projects during implementation, to better address emerging needs or imperatives, is also becoming increasingly evident. However, it does mean that projects still require proper management, for which there are numerous digital tools to assist on that front.
3. Considerable scope for small niche players
Historically, when an organisation needed specialist tech services, they needed to contract those services from big players, typically large multinational firms that had operations locally. However, as we have seen with the procuring computers, the supply market is no longer as homogenous. Small, niche players are emerging that are offering quality, yet competitively-priced, products and services that cater to their clients’ needs.
Frequently, these small firms are more agile and can be more responsive to client demands. They tend to follow business models that allow them to keep their core teams small, and recruit additional local and international expertise as and when needed, and on a short-term or project basis. However, the challenge these firms tend to face is their lack of visibility. Clients might not know they exist, and understandably might be sceptical about their competence based on their size, and also the age of those firms. However, for the firms that have established a decent track record, and the clients that are prepared to take a chance on them, the results can be mutually beneficial to all parties.
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