The Rise of Outstaffing in a Post-Covid World and What it Means for Startups

Startups don’t happen overnight. On average, from idea to launch a startup takes 6 months to a year of planning and preparation. And that planning and preparation involves a whole lot of thought about every detail of your new venture and how it will unfold over the next 5-7 years. But if you start your business in the few years prior to a global pandemic, you can soon find that all your expectations and predictions are turned on their head. So what do you do? You do what all good entrepreneurs do – you adapt. And that’s why, post-Covid, outstaffing is becoming a key facet of startups across the world.

If we learned nothing else from Covid, we learned that the world keeps turning no matter what. And in 2020, the key to operations was the ability to leverage the best in IT. With the world in lockdown, there was no other way to trade. This may not have been the start of the digital transformation, but history will view it as a pivotal moment. A moment when the need for quick, efficient software development solutions was brought into sharp focus. A moment when those that embraced the change became success stories, while those who chose to stand still became statistics. And the way to have the top global talent in software development was to enlist the support of outstaffing agencies.

Outstaffing allows startups access to dedicated teams of remote software engineers that they simply couldn’t employ themselves. Aside from the costs of recruiting and employing staff, limiting the talent pool only to those that live within commuting distance of the workplace massively reduces the options. And, in a world where physical distance has ceased to be a barrier to business, why would any entrepreneur insist on tying their own hands behind their back?

Outsourcing was a predominantly cost-cutting exercise. Outstaffing is the future of work. It takes outsourcing to the next level. In many cases, outsourcing’s focus on saving money led to poor quality services. Why? Because it came from the wrong place. It’s main selling point was predominantly financial. Outstaffing comes with a different agenda. It’s primary focus is on providing affordable access to top talent – a small but highly significant difference.

What did Uber do so right?

One of the major tech startup success stories of recent years is the emergence of Uber. As the company swept the world with its innovative new way of getting people from A to B, others followed suit. Pretty soon there was an Uber equivalent in almost every viable business. Did all these innovators just Google how to start an on-demand app service? No, they relied on experts to turn their vision into a reality.

They found software development engineers who could take a known concept and adapt it to their vision. Those that will prove to be the most adaptable, and therefore the most successful, are those that opted to join forces with software developers who have broad tech expertise. And here we see the major difference between outsourcing and outstaffing. Entrepreneurs whose primary focus on getting their idea to market cheaply would have been inclined to choose outsourcing as their Google searches would have been something like ‘cheap software developers’. Those who focused on quality would have found outstaffing agencies for prolonged partnership. This decision at an early stage will have aligned their venture with better quality software developers which will allow them to adapt to emerging technologies and improve their product or service as times move on.

Of course, not all startups follow a tried and tested method. By nature, entrepreneurs are innovators. They seek to find gaps in a market and find solutions. Sometimes this involves a new way of looking at things. Uber itself was one such service. And it was in choosing the right software engineers in its infancy that the company positioned itself to become the global giant it is. 

Industry experts predict a steady rise in IT spending as the world recovers from the pandemic as companies seek to leverage the newfound trust in and reliance on tech that was somewhat forced upon us by Covid. This increased demand for tech solutions and innovation will provide huge opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs. But it will also inevitably lead to an excess of supply. Competition will be fierce. Ultimately, quality will win the day. Those seeking to make a quick buck and get out of the game will go for cheap software developers. Those looking for long-term success will opt for outstaffing agencies and building a flexible workplace. They will not simply ask someone else to do their bidding, they will integrate distributed teams into their existing business model. Their outstaffed teams will be a valued and important part of their operations.

What do failed startups have in common?

One of the biggest factors in startups failing is that different elements of the project are outsourced to different agencies. This leads to a lack of cohesion and, sometimes, compatibility issues. The more thinly spread the disparate arms of the project, the harder it becomes to manage it effectively. Outstaffing gives technical leaders dedicated teams made of individuals with the right balance of skills.

Outstaffing is the primary method of leveraging the best talent and has been used by a number of major corporations over the years:

- WhatsApp outstaffed its software development to Eastern Europe to allow its in-house teams to focus on CX. This provided the best of both worlds and is largely agreed to be a major factor in the success of the company that was bought by Facebook for $19bn

- Google chose to base its R&D center in Ukraine. The company wanted to cut costs but had to ensure it continued to offer the very best products and services that its users have come to expect. Outsourcing was too risky. Outstaffing to Ukraine ticked both boxes for Google and has seen them go from strength to strength.

- Ring has established itself as the world leader in home security, backed by the might of Amazon who have only positive things to say about the ‘big pool of IT talent at a high level of quality’ in Ukraine.

This trend towards outstaffing in Ukraine is expected to continue as technical leaders see the benefits of it over the coming years.

Others to choose outstaffing in Ukraine are Reddit, Oracle, Huawei, Samsung and many more.

Outstaffing is on the rise since the pandemic and is predicted to continue to be the go-to software development solution for startups and global corporations looking to leverage the best software developers at affordable rates.

How to make outstaffing a success

Focus on resilience: Covid-19 demonstrated that resilience must be high on the company agendas. Broad tech expertise is vital.

Selective partnerships: The current trend is for fewer but better business relationships that are easier to manage.

Focus on outputs not inputs: Keep the end result in focus and ensure that everything is geared towards achieving that.

Persist with the digital transformation: Decide which transformation projects require focus and investment over the next few years. Use this to guide your decision on which outstaffing agency to work with.

Bridge talent gaps: Decide which aspects of your business should remain in-house and which can be outstaffed. Avoid falling back into pre-Covid thinking and trust in outstaffing to give you access to top software development talent.

There really is no need to spend a ton of cash on building a world-class team of developers and engineers in-house. For a start, do you really think they are all just a bus ride away? In an increasingly digital world, it’s actually easier to find highly skilled professionals in remote locations. Agile Fuel removes the need for startups to source and employ engineering staff. Instead, let us know your requirements and we’ll find the software developers you need to meet your current and future needs. Get in touch!

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