A flat world for software development
Software development is a people and knowledge-centric business. The process of setting up and operating a distributed innovation involves aligning people, their knowledge and the overall business ambition of the company. Offshoring endeavours thrive in the atmosphere of trust and transparency. It is crucial that trust is established mutually and there is no better way to accomplish this than by being honest and transparent from the very beginning. Irrespective of your location, when you create a collective ambition, people will be at their best in contribution.
Thomas L. Friedman, in his book ‘The World is Flat’, has rightly emphasized that the world has now become flat and virtual due to advancement in communication technology. The flat world concept has opened new opportunities for software companies to scale up by overcoming challenges mainly related to talent crunch. Software companies are able to split service and manufacturing activities into components, with each component performed in most efficient and cost-effective way.
Historically, independent software vendors (ISVs) used to undertake product development through small, dedicated groups of developers working in a single location. But nowadays, ISVs are shifting towards distributed development as an effective approach to meet customers’ demands fast enough and develop high-quality software applications at the same time. As the distributed team embarks on its journey and takes the first steps, it needs continuous support in shaping up its vision.
Key factors for setting up a distributed development environment
• Build an organizational structure that supports distributed development.
• Recruit and retain highly skilled people.
• Start with face-to-face meetings to build relations.
Among the various alternates to scale, if the option is setting up a distributed team to prepare an organization to handle the expected growth, a decision to establish one is a good starting point. However establishing a distributed team requires some ground work and preparation to realize the vision. Starting from inception to embedding it requires an organization culture that enables participation (openness, transparency, trust). As the team embarks on its journey and makes the first steps, it needs continuous support in shaping up to its vision.
Main reasons for opting for distributed software development
Shortage of talent: Software companies with a vision to expand are always in need of qualified talent with relevant industry experience. However, ISVs sometime find it hard to get the right talent in their own country. While setting up an R&D team, it is not always easy to find a software engineer, a developer, an architect or a senior manager who can lead the development team with ease. Nowadays, quite a large number of software companies are also collaborating with an experienced offshore partner to set up a distributed team.
Reducing development cost: The distributed development model provides a lucrative cost proposition to ISVs that are looking to launch new products. It also provides flexibility in service delivery in a way that partners can scale up or down operations based on client requirements. Delivering projects for a client from a large number of globally distributed locations allows ISVs to de-risk operations and utilize the benefits of a skilled regional labour pool.
Leveraging offshore market: Locating development centres in multiple locations around the globe enables companies to leverage a 24/7 development cycle. Globalization of development also helps to diversify the talent pool and reduces the risk associated with relying on a single talent market. Additionally, proximity to target markets such as Asia and Europe facilitates the localization of software in those markets. It may be surprising, but over 80% of the world’s largest software vendors are already offshoring.