Is Software Development stable? Regardless of who is going to answer this question, the response probably will not be fully affirmative.
We live in a rapidly changing environment – yesterday you were tearing your hair out over lack of the project and today… you are doing the same because of the opposite reason. Sounds familiar? Of course, it does.
IT is still in the prosperity state, more and more companies are willing to be present in the digital world, it naturally implies the situation where IT firms must grow over the time if they want to keep up the market needs. The question that one may raise here is: I want to be able to meet the needs of my clients, but given the fact that the environment is changing so fast, how can I lower the risk of failure?
Well, that is, undoubtedly a fair question. Let us quickly go through the options that companies may choose to extend their staff.
What are the models currently on the market?
There are a few options on how employment growth can be achieved, starting from the most obvious one, which is hiring a new employee directly to your company, through different outsourcing models (including body and or team leasing) ending with… we will get there.
Hiring new employees
Hiring directly a new person is not an easy task. With the support of the job/recruitment agency, you will probably optimise the whole process, however, this model tightly bounds you as an employer with a potential employee. In some cases, that is perfectly fine, however, there are situations (e.g., peaks) where you would like to be more flexible. That is where the Outsourcing-like models came in to play.
There are many different variations of the Outsourcing, to mention just a few of them: (on-|near-|off-)shoring, body leasing, team leasing. There are many companies specialised in such ways of cooperation and there are many scenarios, such a model perfectly fits in.
Based on the Antologic’s experience, there are some challenges resulting from such an approach, especially considering a long-term influence on both parties. Well, I should have started with some assumptions I made. As a company, we strongly rely on the people and the organization culture we build and we do not want to lose that. Working with partners should not force us to change our culture or to cut our employees off us.
Is there another option?
Of course, there is, we call it a long-lasting partnership. In such a cooperation model, we help our partners with staff augmentation, with the assumption of a long-term partnership. Such an approach addresses a few challenges we struggled with before introducing this option.
How does it work? It is quite a simple concept, where we supply our partners with required competencies with the assumption that our employees are fully available and dedicated to them. Depending on the maturity of such cooperation, people may be managed by the partner or in-house.
How flexible is it? Based on the gathered experience of working in such a model, I can tell that it is very elastic. We successfully implemented many projects, fully in-house (a typical outsourcing model), we have been a part of many teams (a staff augmentation) and we have been managing the projects implemented by our partners as well.
Hold on a second… so how does it differ from the “regular” outsourcing and a “regular” staff augmentation? Oh, you got me! It does not, it is more something we built on the top of these.
What are the profits?
OK, fine, so what are the profits? For me as a company who would like to start such a “long-lasting partnership”?
You can react to the dynamically changing environment and still keep the real risk of failure on a low level by the cost optimisations (savings on office space, recruitment costs, equipment, benefits,…). The flexibility on the number of people assigned to the given Partner also opens a few other options, including handling the peaks.
Also, as time goes, based on our experience the level of trust goes up and we can help our partners in more and more cases.
Control over staff
The Partners do not want to lose control of their contractors and that is perfectly understandable. We guarantee that our employees focus only on the given Partner and from that perspective the Partner sees him/her as a regular employee.
Can everyone become a Partner of yours then?
If we are thinking about a long-lasting partnership, the answer is NO. That may sound controversial, but it is quite easy to justify such an opinion. Based on our experience it is quite similar to the situation where you will not force two people to become friends if there is no “chemistry” between them. We tried that and unfortunately, it did not work. Instead of the creative atmosphere, where we feel that we build something together, we ended up in a toxic relationship. On the flip side, the opposite examples shown, that where both companies share a similar organisation structure and atmosphere, the results of the cooperation can be great.
Well, one may say that this is just a business and we stepped away from considering only financial aspects. To some extent, that is right – it is a business, but isn’t it better to run your business in a stable and friendly atmosphere and keep your employees happy? The answer is yours.
How to make it work?
It is worth starting with the truism: a partnership is all about treating the other company as a partner. Surprisingly, that is not always the case, trust me. Both parties must be bringing something to the table, to build something together. Based on our experience, that is the most productive way of building trust and the partnership. It requires time, it is a kind of investment. But it pays off and we have many proofs of such cases in our company.