“People don’t wanna commute back to the office! And why would they?” - Dave, VP of Product of one clients was telling me in 2022. Their HR was arguing with department leaders about getting people back to their offices. People rebelled. They eventually settled on just Friday. One day a week! Their Tribeca office has now become an even bigger liability.
The world of perfect office attendance changed drastically with the pandemic. Many businesses were forced to make unprecedented changes, especially with regard to how they operated. Companies that were previously resistant to remote working had to adapt to the new norm to survive. One of the most significant changes that came with the pandemic was the automatic erasure of the fear of using remote consulting companies for a lot of corporate executives.
I remember how some short-sighted pre-pandemic executives liked to use “we only hire internally” card to say no to us. No amount of persuasion and logical arguments could shift their position.
Well, now that we are all remote, perhaps it’s time to revisit some of the main benefits of expanding with a software vendor rather than a newly-hired internal team of engineers.
Hiring an internal team of engineers is expensive. Apart from the salaries, you also have to worry about the costs of equipment, office space, and benefits. And don’t even get me started on how difficult and expensive it is to fire an FTE. However, when you hire an outside software vendor, you only pay for the services you receive. This cost-saving is more important now than ever since most companies are still recovering from the financial impact of the pandemic.
2 Access to Expertise
It’s hard to have a team of internal engineers who are experts in every area of software development. More so, if you are a non-tech company outside San Francisco Bay Area, Austin or New York City - you automatically find yourself in a very rough candidate market. I’m hearing it takes 3 to 4 months to close one position for one of our clients in Arizona. And no wonder, if you want to learn how to bake croissants, you don’t go work for Starbucks where you’ll be reheating them over and over. You find a french baker who would teach you. Same goes for software engineers. You don’t go work for a non-tech company if you want to excel at tech. I’m not saying non-tech companies don’t have good engineers. They do. But finding, convincing and hiring them is extremely laborious and expensive.
When you build a relationship with a software vendor, you have access to a team of professionals who have expertise in different areas. This means that you can get your projects completed faster, and with higher quality since the work is being done by experts in the niche field.
The pandemic showed us that businesses need to be scalable to survive. When you have an internal team of engineers, scaling up can be a challenge. You have to worry about hiring new employees, providing them with equipment, and training them. However, with an outside software vendor, scaling up is a lot easier. You scale up and down as you progress. This scalability is vital for businesses to remain competitive.
4 You are not a tech company
My personal opinion is that non-technical companies should strive to limit their internal IT to only a few really knowledgeable and professional people. Those people will be able to drive tech for the entire company using vendors who are tech companies by design. By trying to build a tech company inside a non-tech company, one is asking for trouble. Building and managing a full-blown tech department inside a non-technical enterprise is a complex and costly endeavor that requires expertise, time, and resources. But most importantly, it’s almost always inefficient. Just ask any Enterprise employee how the process of setting up an email address looks like.
5 Faster Time to Market
When you hire an outside software company, you can get your project completed faster. This is because the vendor has a team of experts who are dedicated to your project. They work on your project exclusively, which means that they can complete it faster than an internal team that has to juggle multiple projects.
When you work with a software partner, you have access to new ideas and innovative solutions. The vendor has experience working with different businesses and industries, which means that they can bring new perspectives to your projects. This can help you create innovative solutions that can set you apart from your competitors.
7 Reduced Risk
When you hire an outside software company, you reduce your risk. If you have an internal team of engineers, you run the risk of them ending up being unqualified, getting sick a lot, overestimating tasks or simply losing them to other companies. This can disrupt your projects and leave you in a difficult situation. However, when you work with a trusted software partner, you don’t have to worry about losing your team. The vendor is responsible for ensuring that the project is completed, regardless of who works on it.
Now the elephant in the room is obviously - how can you be sure that your software partner can be trusted to deliver on of all of those things above. There is no good answer to that, since there are no miracles.
Like any relationship, this one has to be built and tested in real life.
But one good way of testing the waters is to start small and scale up if you like what you’re getting. Another one is to simply trust your gut. After all, companies don’t have feelings or intelligence. So they can’t form a business relationship. Only people can.