The biggest opportunity for businesses is in digital. As noted by Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to increase by 6.2 per cent in 2021, to $3.9 trillion, and most of that is being driven by digital transformation. As noted by McKinsey, events in 2020 has meant that businesses that had digital transformation mapped over a period of years needed to accelerate the transformation to weeks, and now, having completed that transformation, they are looking to accelerate it moving forward.
The deep interest in digital products and services is putting developers right at the forefront of business opportunities.
“Australian businesses are rapidly becoming aware of the value that developers bring, as they can see organisations taking advantage of apps (and other cloud-based tech) are getting further and further ahead,” Dane Eldridge, CEO of 4mation said.
Indeed, there are several ways that developers help boost business:
- They build the apps that customers interact with, and therefore often have deep insights into the customer experience.
- They leverage business data to improve user experience. Where an internal IT team might be inwardly-focused, external developers understand the needs of those that are customer-facing, such as in marketing and sales.
- They provide the platform for new products and services. Developers are the ones that build the solutions that will generate new revenue.
- They know what is possible! External developers keep their finger on the pulse and are always the first to notice emerging trends and new way of doing things.
- They turn the brand vision into that the customer sees. Developers are responsible for more of the brand perception than many business leaders are aware.
“Sometimes projects that we work on result in entire new revenue streams, like the Inspect365 platform we developed for SG Fleet (a listed fleet management and leasing company),” Eldridge said.
“Other projects we’ve delivered enable clients to scale up and break into new geographic markets rapidly (like the scalable AWS multi-site solutions we have delivered for listed fintech companies and community organisations).”
“Often the core business systems we have developed help transform business processes, improving accuracy, scalability and the client experience. The project we recently delivered for NATA comes to mind. More and more frequently the systems we build are the primary interface between our clients and their customers, so great UX is key,” Eldridge noted.
Giving a voice to the developer
Increasingly, companies engage with outsourced developers to help scale their development capacity as the project demands. According to Eldridge, it is best if the outsourced development team is brought on early into the project. The more “hands-on” they are from the conceptualisation stage, the better they will understand and interpret the vision.
“Giving developers the opportunity to ask questions can unlock tremendous opportunities,” Eldridge said.
“Sometimes the benefits of having devs involved early are obvious, like helping to create the right technical architecture from the start. Others are less obvious, like the subtle improvements developers will make throughout a project if they understand the ultimate vision of the project.”
“We had a client who wanted digital document signing integrated into their online platform. Because they involved us early, we were able to build a low-cost prototype - and in doing so discovered better user flow options, enabled better design decisions, and identified undocumented API constraints and capabilities.
“Ultimately because our developers were involved early, we delivered the client a higher quality, more user-friendly solution, and within a timeframe they were able to plan for.”
The other consideration that business leaders need to consider is just how deeply a modern developer can engage with business. Where once development was solely a task for IT to manage, increasingly, all lines of business are stakeholders in the digitalised business. A developer that is brought on to a project early can break down department silos and fully understand the needs and values of a project across the entire organisation.
Armed with that knowledge, they will be better placed to produce something that delivers to the needs and expectations of all departments.
The benefits of team augmentation
In-house development teams also benefit from the support provided by outsourced developers. In many cases, a business will engage with outsourced developers as a way of scaling operations quickly – a sudden surge in demand that is beyond the capacity of the existing development team.
Often, they subsequently discover that the outsource partner can offer ideas and a different way of looking at a solution that results in a better outcome. Particularly when the in-house development team is small, leveraging off the different experience and perspective of support from outside of the organisation can further enhance the value of the project.
Additionally, when an in-house development team is small, projects can be bottlenecked or sidelined by holidays, sick days, or the need to find a replacement (if an existing developer or developers leave). Through outsourcing, the development resourcing remains consistent and reliable.
With development resources being in great demand (and likely to accelerate further), businesses should be looking to outsourcing partners to gain access to the depth and breadth of development experience they need to deliver on their digital ambitions. A third-party development partner, brought onto the project early enough, will deliver a significant value-add in this critical area of opportunity for innovative businesses moving forwards.