Technological Change: A Death Sentence or A Competitive Advantage?

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September 4, 2013

Technology changes quickly—will it be the key to your company’s success, or its downfall?

Technology hosts some of the fastest changing industries in business today; keep up and you can rule the market, fall behind however and you can go the way of the dinosaur, but with less public interest. Nobody is safe. Being a market pioneer won’t shield you from extinction anymore. Blackberry may have been the mastermind behind the first smartphone –they even had a catchy market nick name: “crackberry”—but they couldn’t keep a hold of that train once it left the station. Kodak and Polaroid were once rulers of photography, but they fell from industry leader to filing for bankruptcy protection as digital photography swept classic film photography into cultish obscurity.
Software development firms are even more vulnerable since their outdated software and development team won’t be revered as vintage. You may think your killer WordPress site is amazing, and your client may agree, but in five short years eight-year-olds will make that site look like child’s play.

How can you turn a potential death-sentence into a competitive advantage for you software development firm? Simple: be on the cutting edge of every trend in your industry. At this point you’re almost certainly rolling your eyes. Who has time to run a business and spend the time it takes constantly studying and working to stay up to date? Or better yet,
ahead of the curve?
Nobody. That was a trick question. That’s why you hire people. But even individuals who program full-time and nerd-out on software development part-time can’t keep up with a sudden shift that necessitates total re-education. And that’s only if you see the change coming in time to act—specialists rarely take the broad look at technology necessary to see those changes coming or can overcome the bias they have formed for their own specialization (and value as an employee) to see the full value of a new technology. What programmer in their right mind recommends a technology in which they aren’t proficient for a new contract? Another trick question. To make matters more difficult, it is not only your future at risk, but also your present. There are so many technologies available and so many languages in which to code, that unless you employ an army of developers, you limit yourself to only those clients who want software built in the few ways your staff can manage. So how can a small firm manage to keep up?

As promised, there is a simple solution to staying on the cutting edge of every trend in your industry that will allow you to appeal to a broader client-base: outsource your custom software development to a staffing firm. Outsourcing is classically associated with short-term projects you drop off and cross your fingers hoping for the best, but staffing firms offer a long-term solution that allow development firms to turn that aforementioned death sentence into a staunch competitive advantage, and here’s how: Ideal capacity, in number and in substance.

Companies that spend too much time reacting instead of acting can lose contracts to a company that’s ready now, so be ready now! Keep up with changing technologies in an instant by merely contacting your service provider and telling them what you need. If you have three clients wanting something developed in Joomla, two wanting sites in Dot Net Nuke, and one wanting a massive piece of custom software built in C++, no problem!

You aren’t committing to long-term hires or having to jump through the usual hoops to hire, so you can take on new projects without fear knowing you’ll have the developers you need for only as long as you need them.

Don’t worry about staying ahead of the curve, a dedicated custom software staffing firm will do that for you—it’s their livelihood. So you can focus on running your business while they keep their noses to the grind making sure they have what you need so you don’t have to worry about having what your clients need. This broader view (and broader value) also means they can give you an unbiased opinion how best to proceed with a project.
Price varies depending on which firm you choose and whether they are offshore or onshore. The hourly rate is not the only point of savings though, utilizing virtual employees saves you big in the end on things like office space, equipment, training, vacation, benefits, FICA, and of course time you pay your developers when there isn’t work to be done. Fewer resources invested at the development stage means more resources that can be invested in the business side of your company bringing you closer to success.

Competitive advantage is the fruit of marketing and innovation and lies at the heart of success; harness yours. Business theory will tell you that classic forms of competitive advantage include industry analysis and unique resources: choosing the right staffing firm to partner with you and your business can allow you harness both, all while simplifying your business and your life.