As software solutions have become increasingly complex, innovation teams need specific technical expertise. Partnering with a leading software development company is a popular strategy that offers many benefits for high-tech companies.
The mckinsey.com article Improving the management of complex business partnerships states, “Companies regularly seek partners with complementary capabilities to gain access to new markets and channels, share intellectual property or infrastructure, or reduce risk. The more complex the business environment becomes—for instance, as new technologies emerge or as innovation cycles get faster—the more such relationships make sense.”
In this article, we’ll explore how a top software development partnership offers these 6 benefits:
Speed to market and return on investment are the key ways that partnerships make financial sense. Missing the window of opportunity to launch a new solution on the market or not being able to produce a working demo in a specified timeframe can mean failure for a once-promising idea. The time and cost investment needed to hire and train people to be proficient in a new technology often does not make financial sense when compared with using a strategic partnership.
The hbr.org article, Joint Ventures and Partnerships in a Downturn says, “Companies will need every tool they’ve got to survive the downturn and rev up their businesses as the economy rights itself…At many firms, joint ventures and partnerships will play an outsize role in those efforts, both as a vehicle for sharing costs and reducing capital needs during the crisis and as a way to position themselves for growth once it ends.”
Companies working in transformation industries often don’t have all the expertise they need to stay competitive. This is normal, and common. In some cases, it wouldn’t be possible to develop all the required expertise internally from scratch.
Acquiring new expertise and staying current with the latest technologies takes time, and shouldn’t be rushed. By working with partners that already have the required expertise, companies can quickly access expertise/technology for use in the design of new products and other purposes. At the same time, the company can assimilate the expertise/technology internally at a reasonable pace.
In our article Find the Technical Expertise Needed to Drive Innovation in Software Product Development we cover a range of industries fueling demand for high-tech solutions, and the 8 essential areas of technical expertise. The article states that, “With so much cross-fertilization among technologies used in different industries, many high-tech companies are joining forces with leading partners.”
Technical teams at software development companies work on a range of projects for multiple companies in different industries, inspiring creative thinking. As well, software development companies excel at recognizing and implementing best practices across projects to improve communication, teamwork, and achieve the best results.
In a partnership, the teams work together, so even if a technology is new for your internal team, they’ll be exposed to it with guidance from more experienced personnel. Teaching and knowledge transfer can also be purposefully built in to the schedule.
Keeping an in in-house technical team up-to-date with the latest technology required to drive innovation can be an overwhelming undertaking for human resources as well as management. Recruiting and retaining technical talent is a serious challenge for companies of all sizes.
Turnover is also a serious risk, particularly for people with technical expertise. By relying on partnerships to acquire additional technical expertise, your internal teams can take on big projects and meet tight deadlines without draining company resources.
Even the best, most innovative in-house teams can develop tunnel vision. Bringing in a team of outside experts helps to stimulate creativity and open up new possibilities for finding solutions.
Not only does an outside team bring new ideas to the table, they offer different perspectives, experiences, and even ways of thinking or “cognitive” diversity. According to the article Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams from gartner.com, “In addition to a mixture of age, gender, and cultural backgrounds, CIOs need to also look for ‘cognitive’ diversity, which is mixing people together with different thinking styles, habits and perspectives... Having diversity of thought can be what saves a team from groupthink and allows it to achieve better outcomes.”
Working with an outside team is an excellent opportunity to combine the strengths of each party. A partnership can refine and improve development processes, introduce and strengthen best practices, and increase coding and quality standards.
When working with a partner, the project must be well-defined, with agreed-upon roles, responsibilities, deadlines, and deliverables. Input from the partner can help identify areas of the project plan that need strengthening, and point out opportunities for improvement early in the process.
Partnership reduces the dangerous risk of rigidity, and allows design and development teams to stay flexible, which is crucial for successful results. When developing innovative solutions, adding people in-house can make it more difficult to pivot when needed. The hbr.org article Start Stopping Faster recommends, “Avoid premature scaling — hiring too many people, building too much capacity, doing too much marketing — before key assumptions have been validated.”
By partnering with an outside team of developers, you can explore innovative ideas and make needed changes faster without investing in in-house technical talent up front.
A critical decision that must be made by technology leaders is defining what technology is and is not part of their core business. For example, an automotive company may be comfortable outsourcing entertainment system technology to allow in-house teams to develop other areas of innovation that give the company its competitive edge.
For new and evolving technologies, partnerships may make sense for core areas of innovation when the technology is so new that finding experts is difficult, and when a product or solution is still in the experimental stage. Forming a long-term partnership with a respected, reputable software development company can be an ideal solution for companies that frequently need specialized expertise for innovation.