Category: Software

Centers for Excellence in Software Development

We’re seeing a boost in the adoption of CoEs as a new software development and efficiency strategy. But, is it right for your organization?

Rooted in academic and medical environments, centers of excellence — also called competency or capability centers — are hubs of creativity and innovation. They are, for all intents and purposes, a collection of experienced professionals that develop improvement strategies for optimizing processes and value across an organization.

They’ve existed for some time, but we’ve seen a boost in their adoption thanks to an emphasis on distributed development and offshore opportunities. Corporate and organizational outsourcing strategies are becoming more prevalent, and at the same time, there’s a need to accommodate some of the more productive remote processes that are flowing back into a business.

In software development specifically, CoE’s can help organize and streamline various production processes between outsourced and local tasks. Alternate uses include the rollout of new technologies, improving organizational capacities, tending to client needs, or even specialized services — such as generating internal training reports or conducting R&D for new tech projects.

The combined expertise and experience helps assure more efficient operations and the use of industry best practices.

How to assemble a center of excellence for it outsourcing companies

The idea behind a center of excellence — at least in software development — is to build a team whose primary task is to enforce and streamline sound development practices. The center helps a business eliminate mistakes and development failures by merely exploring alternate solutions and more efficient methods. They may also be deployed to implement new technologies and systems, manage outsourced client relationships, or kickstart collaborative environments. Ultimately, it depends on why you’re creating the CoE and what you hope to achieve.

Like DevOps, the adoption of a CoE is more of a cultural change. It’s not technology or tool-driven but instead influenced by people.

You start by choosing the most skilled professionals and experts within your organization and providing them a full-time role in the CoE. Naturally, they will work together to find improvements, which you should then leverage or prioritize across your organization.

offshore software development

What benefits can a CoE provide?

The most significant benefit is, of course, a major overhaul in operational efficiency. Typically, the team stationed within a CoE works to streamline various processes and tasks, reduce costs, achieve goals in less time after expending fewer resources, and boost customer satisfaction. They also achieve this by training or coaching their peers.

It also provides a decrease in risk, particularly when it comes to software and development failures. Even more so in an outsourcing or external development environment. This is because a brand’s standards and processes are honored across the entirety of a task, even when handled by a third-party. Ultimately, the CoE team ensures proper communication between departments and teams throughout the scope of a project.

Risk is also mitigated because the CoE is constantly measuring the success of various tasks, processes, and projects. If something is not going appropriately, the team will explore new methods which can effectively replace the old one(s). Except that this is done alongside normal development. Nothing has to stop or be delayed unless of course, the problem will pose significant issues later on.

Finally, the CoE team has access to the necessary resources to define and measure ROI and organizational impact. They can see right away when something is not working or needs to be handled differently. This extends to their own strategies, allowing them to gauge performance even for new methods or frameworks they deploy.

Centers of Excellence create a persistent environment of improvement within a company, generating frequent efficiency changes without hurting the larger operation. They will, however, require executive buy-in and support as well as a reliable source of funding, so plan accordingly. https://www.pslcorp.com/it-outsourcing-services-companies/

The Value of Nearshore Software Development Opportunities: Innovation & Performance

The typical mindset when considering IT outsourcing partners is to look far away, but it may be more beneficial to find a neighboring team through nearshore opportunities and not just because of the usual benefits.

There’s no debating the value of outsourcing as it pertains to software development. In the NextGen Global Outsourcing Survey conducted by Deloitte, 78 percent of respondents indicated that they feel positive about their outsourcing relationship and the advantages it offers.

There are many different types of IT outsourcing services, some of which are more common than others and provide greater value, depending on your goals for outsourcing. Nearshore software development, for example, is an extension of the outsourcing industry that does have its differences from conventional applications like offshoring.

What is nearshore development and how is it different?

Conventional outsource website development involves a direct relationship with a third-party or “provider” outside of your company or team. Outsourcing is a general term that encompasses varying degrees of third-party engagement.

For instance, inshore and offshore are two separate forms of outsourcing. Inshore means you’re working with a third-party located in the same country as your business or organization, while offshore means exactly the opposite. Then there’s dualshore, which is a hybrid of the two — teams are often split between separate locations.

Comparably, nearshore is a similar concept where you’re still working with a third-party; only they’re are located in a neighboring country or region. For instance, a U.S. based company working with another party in North or South America would be a nearshore engagement.

It may seem similar, and by all rights it is, but there are some exclusive benefits of adopting a nearshore relationship as opposed to offshore or even inshore.

nearshore company

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Traditional benefits of nearshore software development

For North American based companies, nearshore development relationships with Latin America partners are particularly attractive.

For starters, time zones remain relatively similar. This is a direct improvement over conventional offshore outsourcing because there are considerable challenges whenworking with a partner or company that operates under a separate time zone. This can also hinder direct relationships and communication when you have a 12 hour difference or more, especially when collaboration hinges on prompt or immediate responses, like it outsourcing.

As PSL Corp says, “we are in the Americas, [so] we can be agile because we are awake when you are awake.” That’s exactly true when it comes to nearshore partners.

[ENTERPRISE NEARSHORING SOLUTIONS | Don’t sacrifice performance when outsourcing, let’s talk]

Also, because the region is similar, there are fewer language and cultural barriers to work through. You may be working with a partner in Colombia, as is common with nearshore relationships, with workers who use proper English, and live in a near identical time zone.

In fact, working with companies located in Colombia is a good move for any company considering outsourcing. According to the Global Location Services Index, which measures the suitability for outsourcing services by looking at metrics that indicate which countries display the, “strongest underlying fundamentals.” Colombia ranks 10th on the list, up 10 slots from 2016.

Then, of course, there are much lower rates or costs associated with outsourced development. In fact, lower operating costs are one of the major reasons any organization or business decides to outsource IT and software development. A whopping 59 percent of businesses cite that “cost-cutting” is the primary reason for outsourcing projects.

In Latin and South America, highly skilled programmers or developers work at much cheaper hourly rates. In these countries the average wage is already lower because the cost of living is lower, but often the local currency is weaker than the American dollar. Essentially, this means you get much more for a lot less when you choose a suitable outsourcing partner. This also happens to be what provides nearshore IT development a leg over inshore or local outsourcing and development opportunities.

But, there’s more to it than that

The benefits of outsourcing, and developing a long-term partnership with the right provider, go a long way in allowing companies to innovate and maximize performance. One way this becomes possible is by investing the money saved into R&D, making it possible to innovate faster. The other possibility is by outsourcing the non-essential items and allowing your skilled teams to focus on what they do best.

Then, there’s another way, evidenced by the responses in the Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing survey. “Some companies, [35%] for instance, look to their service providers to help them capture and integrate marketplace advances, such as tapping creative methods for improving quality and enhancing the user experience, to propel competitive advantage at a velocity they could not otherwise achieve by themselves. The savviest organizations use their providers to help them find, filter, and manage the many transformative products and services the marketplace invents to improve business performance.”

Your nearshoring partner is not just another vendor, but rather a valued partner committed to innovation and anticipating and working towards achieving shared goals. It makes sense, what’s good for you is good for them. More and more, these relationships are becoming crucial to the success of organizations. Find the right partner and start innovating, the success of your organization depends on it.

Say “yes” to those nearshore outsourcing opportunities

Despite its many benefits, many companies or teams overlook the idea of nearshore IT outsourcing. The typical mindset dictates that “outsourcing” means shipping the work far away, such as to a completely different continent in the far East.

Just be aware that’s not necessarily the case, and you can definitely find a suitable partner or collaborator in a neighboring country.

About PSL: With 30 years of experience and 500+ engineers, we focus on open and transparent long term relationships, embracing your goals as our own. Let us help you face your most complex software engineering challenges by deploying high performance outsourcing teams in your same time-zone. https://www.pslcorp.com/outsource-web-development/

Demystifying The DevOps Role: Consider These Solutions Before Beginning The Transitioning Period

Call it the buzzword of the decade, but DevOps has perpetually shifted the way development teams and organizations approach their work. DevOps adoption rose from 66 percent in 2015 to 74 percent in 2016 and when something is popular, there’s always a tendency to ride the rapids and hastily jump on board.

Consequently, many larger companies are incorrectly rushing to adopt the practice for the wrong reasons. They’re searching for ‘experienced DevOps’ or ‘senior DevOps’ partners to join their software teams, and software companies are cashing in on the opportunity by offering tons of DevOps positions to these organizations.

But the thing is, implementing DevOps isn’t as simple as hiring one person or a team of experts. DevOps is a culture that needs to be embraced by the entire organization. It’s a comprehensive, collaborative, and cross-team approach to managing the software development processes that relies heavily on automation and sharing – something smaller startups typically do well at. Once implemented, the culture removes silos and focuses on delivering real value.

So how can you correctly help your team to embrace DevOps if you haven’t implemented it off the bat? Consider these things before beginning the transition:

DevOps is not a role, nor a set of technologies

IT outsourcing - psl corpWe often receive calls from companies, looking to hire DevOps experts to join their teams. But to those of us who work within a DevOps environment, this doesn’t make sense. While companies probably do need their teams to produce within a DevOps culture, it’s clear they don’t understand how the process functions as part of an organization. Because simply put, DevOps is not a role.

It’s almost impossible to hire an outside DevOps team and expect them to magically implement a functioning DevOps environment. Rather, the transition requires a strong cultural shift – with each team member becoming aligned with DevOps collaborative practices and philosophies, and working together to integrate long-separated systems and activities within an organization. So while many seek to hire new DevOps experts, it isn’t actually necessary: companies need to implement the change from within.

There’s no diving into DevOps head first – rather we need to become acclimatized to it inch-by-inch. Just like hiring one expert and expecting the rest of the team to match their level of expertise isn’t realistic, deploying DevOps technologies – or DevOps related tasks – doesn’t mean you’ve implemented DevOps, either. Practices like Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery (CD), and configuring Docker won’t do your team any good if they don’t truly understand how they function and how they correlate to DevOps processes. You’ll end up with software full of bugs in production or with unstable software and infrastructure, resulting in broken builds. A team needs to first embody the culture before rolling out new technologies.

You can train DevOps champions to oversee adoption

While hiring an outside expert won’t wondrously make an organization value DevOps philosophies, you can train DevOps Champions within your team to help everyone embrace the shift.

Since DevOps advocates a care for software – from conception to production – DevOps Champions thus need to be motivated by customer and business objectives, to help promote a sense of ownership inside the team. They need to be a strong and respected leader – but most of all, be well versed in DevOps culture and understand how it benefits the organization.

So how can DevOps Champions approach the transition? They need to coach the team to understand and implement the core DevOps values: Culture, Automation, Measurement and Sharing (CAMS).

They must work to foster an environment that encourages people to ask questions, cooperate with and learn from each other, and innovate and try new things. They need to teach the team the importance of automation, in order to save time and build consistency, and then measure improvement through data that’s accessible to everyone on the team – that way, there’s a clear understanding of why certain processes need to be changed. And finally, they need to encourage sharing tools to increase efficiency and create a higher level of engagement amongst employees.

Overall, DevOps Champions should encourage developers, quality analysts, business analysts, system administrators, among many other roles, to share a collaborative, iterative and committed approach to their work.

And for added DevOps support, it’s also a great idea to turn to experts or partners in the industry who’ve already made the shift. This allows for transitioning teams to understand the best practices, but also learn from other organizations’ mistakes.

DevOps experts can provide guidance and more specialized skills for larger companies

While everyone needs to understand DevOps processes and value the collaborative approach, not everyone on the team needs to be an expert in DevOps technologies. With complex problems, it’s fine for DevOps Champions to configure the tasks and lead the way. While startups might require less specialized team members – everyone needs to help out with every part of the process as the team is usually more interconnected – bigger teams may require multiple DevOps Champions for complex technical execution and to keep the scope of each project clean.

And here’s the great thing: once the entire team understands the culture, practices and collaboration-based work, the DevOps Champions can move to help other areas of your organization, or they can turn their focus to implementing sophisticated techniques, including ones like autoscaling, complex monitoring and high availability.

While it’s tempting to hire a team of DevOps experts and quickly deploy the technologies, there’s really no cutting corners when it comes to transitioning to DevOps. Implementing cultural change at an organization is no easy feat. But in taking the time to correctly help your team embrace the DevOps culture, one day you’ll turn around and realize that everyone at your organization is in fact, a DevOps Champion.

For more info, please visit https://www.pslcorp.com/it-outsourcing-services-companies/

All Hands on Deck: When to Bring on Extra Help for Your Digital Transformation Makeover

AirBnB recently earned the top spot on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list, and was estimated to be worth as much as traditional hotel giants Hilton and Hyatt combined. Nowadays, not moving fast enough to embrace a digital transformation can cost even the most well established incumbents a large chunk of their business.

offshore software development - psl corpHowever, the threat of digital disruption is not new. Most Fortune 500 CEOs will publicly affirm their urgency on setting sail on a digital voyage. Yet internally, management often finds itself at odds on how exactly to leverage technology to transform their current business model.

There is no “cookie cutter” checklist to jumpstart a digital transformation. It is a complex journey that requires: 1) a strong managerial commitment to change; 2) a radical cultural shift that allows an organization to gravitate away from rewarding risk-aversion and responsible asset management, towards rewarding innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking 3) upgrading the talent pool within a company to acquire cutting-edge digital abilities.

So once a company has embraced a digital transformation with the full support of management, and has explored specific business ideas they would like to “digitize”, how can they actually get the ball rolling and execute?

Work out exactly what your users want, and what that will entail

The digital world is built with software — an engineering feat that coordinates creativity, design, and hard engineering to make thousands of lines of code transform into a useful tool. But with the advent of the mobile digital age and “apps”, users demand that software be more than practical —they want it to be intuitive, simple, ergonomic, easy to learn, and yes, also beautiful.

Let’s suppose that the company ACME —a traditionally successful mid-market incumbent player with 30+ years in the industry—wants to start a digital transformation journey. Let’s suppose, also, that ACME has clear management support and has arrived at a promising new idea for leveraging technology to open a new line of business. Should ACME tackle the digital initiative alone? We suggest not, and here’s why.

This frontier is mired with obstacles and setbacks, that will require a particular way of building software to overcome them. For example, the new software application must be:

●      Highly scalable and flexible, requiring engineering know-how to make it cloud-ready, elastic, and easily to integrate with other cloud-services

●      The application must be “easily refreshable” —it should allow new features to be pumped into production several times a week without salient hitches or bugs, which requires technical skills in building “infrastructure as code”, automatic testing, and DevOps to guarantee a constant “stream” of quality code offshore software development

●      The application should embody modern design tenets both in usability and graphic attractiveness (which requires skills in design thinking, customer journey ideation, and modern user interfaces, among others).

Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your existing team

ACME’s current software engineering and design departments might not be up-to-date on the technologies that will allow them to successfully navigate the frontier of creativity that defines a new product. For many companies, there’s often a mismatch between the talent in its ranks, and what is required to solve the technical challenges at hand.

Established players in many industries are often quite old-fashioned in the way they manage the creative process. It is common, then, that internal marketing, customer service, or IT departments of traditional organizations are seldom prepared to collectively deploy innovation mechanisms that allow them to experiment effectively. That is, processes that allow them to think out of the box and find new ways to serve customers who are frustrated with the status quo and long for a better digital way to consume their services and products.

Companies must know when they need a helping hand

It’s hard to know what to look for if you have not lived through a digital innovation process. The quickest way to kickstart change is to learn by doing. Companies should hire not simply a “theoretical consultant or a coach” in digital innovation, but an outsourcing partner that can provide a real-life example of how to operationalize digital innovation within the company, in the form of a real product.

An outsourcing partner can help ACME’s technology department use the agile approach to software development – which focuses on being as ‘lean as possible’ and developing a minimum viable product (MVP). An initial test market will use ACME’s software and react to it, generating valuable user feedback. ACME can then take this back to the drawing board and quickly iterate on a Version 2 of the product, to be once more presented to the market. This cycle continues until ACME achieves what is called “Product-Market-Fit”.

Working with an outsourcing partner to develop a product is important for many other reasons, too. Firstly, it’s critical that an organization’s first projects in which they ‘go out on a limb’ in the digital age are successful. Early wins will generate a positive dynamic, and provide the confidence that allows management to further accelerate digital change.

And although agile requires technical skills, it also requires a change in behavior and company culture. An outsourcing partner that understands agile development behavior is a great way to cross-pollinate an agile culture to the existing organization.

And lastly, an incumbent without agile expertise will take a long time learning the ropes, potentially endangering the success of the project because of delays or loss of credibility within an organization afraid to change. Working with an experienced software outsourcing partner, on the other hand, provides a “guided laboratory” that allows both the incumbent to learn how to deploy effective software engineering practices for digital innovation, while ensuring an effective time-to-market for the particular initiative.

Undertaking an agile transformation can be daunting. But learning from an experienced outsourcing company will help an organization to quickly internalize agile engineering methodologies —and the undergirding culture of innovation that comes with them—under a learn-by-doing model. This will help them to evade the common “rookie” mistakes, and shorten the journey to a successful digital innovation.

For more info, please visit https://www.pslcorp.com/