How this pandemic shapes the future of business relationships will depend on whether we end up viewing it as a one-off event, an exception to the rule, or as a painful learning experience, the likes of which we cannot afford to go through again. The predicted losses in lives, jobs, markets and revenue is sure to settle it on the latter.
So, what can companies that rely on bespoke technology solutions do to make sure that they weather events like this without much damage? There is a very broad discussion to be had here, but, in any scenario imaginable, organizational agility is the key component.
Organizational agility here means digital agility – the ability to resume operations without disturbance, even when unable to have all/majority of employees and teams sharing the same physical space, by tapping into digital tools. Remote work and collaboration among distributed teams, asynchronous communication, online education and professional development, even remote socializing; in full-remote scenarios, these and other digitally powered adaptive practices suddenly turn from nice-to-haves to key tools for success.
It is a challenge that comes in two forms: your organizational ability to execute sophisticated technology development processes without in-person communication, and the pliability of the vendor’s management structure and infrastructure for remote work.
Obviously, digital agility does not mean just having access to the tools of async communication. If the way the work is done hides operational inefficiencies that can only be handled through in-person meetings, hallway conversations and other on-site remedies, your digital tools won’t be of much use.
Furthermore, if vendor’s teams are in locations with infrastructural deficiencies, their productivity will suffer. Many such locales have been attractive from the cost arbitration point, but local infrastructure will not allow for a seamless transition into full-remote. In some regions, power outages are rampant, and every IT business relies on diesel generators to provide backup power at a home office. What do you do when the vendor’s team is experiencing crippling power losses every day (i.e. home internet keeps going down) while working full remote?
As businesses will be preparing to handle future disruptions few will want to take chances on vendors that are not fully remote capable. Providers unable to adapt quickly, or without the operational maturity to thrive in a limited-contact environment, will see the loss of market share.
However we look at it, being able to execute complex technology development processes in a much more dynamic supply chain will stress both your and your vendor’s organization.
Information Technology & Services