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Could a lack of technical expertise and skills derail tech businesses?

by jcp

By, Andy Peddar is CEO and co-founder of Deazy

Such has been the rapid growth of technological innovation over the past two decades that it’s easy to take it for granted. Whether it’s the development of mobile technology, robotics, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, AI or countless others, the world is drastically different to how it once was.

Technology is at the root of that change. It’s no coincidence that eight of the 10 biggest companies in the world by market cap are technology firms. Even companies that wouldn’t identify as tech firms per se are hugely reliant on technology to drive and support their business.

But is there a blot on the horizon regarding the technology boom? For years now, there have been issues with sufficient skills and expertise. Enterprises face capability and capacity issues within technology, whether product managers, developers, scrum masters, project managers, or QA specialists. How can these shortcomings be addressed?

The rise of tech

Tech has been on an upward curve for decades, both in the innovation of approach and appetite for use. Even organisations and sectors resistant to technology have faced a choice – innovate and move with the times or fall by the wayside.

The move towards digital transformation has been in progress for a while, but the pandemic has only accelerated the shift even further, with companies pivoting rapidly to more digital offerings. Technology now informs everything most companies do.

The world has never been so reliant on developers, with every website, app, platform and more needing a development team to bring it to life or work on the roadmap. But the skills and expertise required to make this happen have never been scarcer. Whether a tech firm specifically or a business that utilises technology extensively (i.e., virtually all of them), they need to look at ways to plug the skills gap.

Action, not talk

Businesses must be proactive when addressing the tech skills gap. It requires a collective effort and will be a multi-faceted approach. But key to succeeding is to actually get on and act, rather than talking about it.

Although it is getting worse, the skills gap is not a new problem. Organisations have been aware of it for a long time, and as with many things, addressing it often appears to be more of a discussion point rather than implementing tangible change.

It’s crucial, therefore, for businesses to get their own houses in order. This includes putting in place their own training programs to ensure that employees stay current and focused on the latest technologies.

Create the right kind of place to work

But it also means providing the right kind of place to work. It’s about creating an environment that attracts and retains the best tech talent. Salary is significant, of course, but increasingly being a purpose-driven organisation is even more so. People want to feel like their employer is doing something to improve the world beyond turning over a healthy profit.

Furthermore, it means being mindful of changing working patterns. We are very much in the hybrid era of working now. This is a good thing. People have more flexibility and freedom and will be more effective. If that means working from home so they can manage work alongside family commitments, that’s fine.

For the employer, it means they can attract more diverse talent, parents that might struggle to get to the office, for example. Equally, if people want the separation between work and home, they can come to the office.

Go beyond organisational boundaries to source talent

In terms of capability, it’s hard for enterprises to support an increasingly wide range of technologies and frameworks. Trying to do so in-house requires a large team, and that’s a model that doesn’t work anymore. So, enterprises have significant gaps in their capability. Failing to plug these gaps can mean projects get delayed or even cancelled, which can have long-term implications for commercial success and customer retention.

This means that for enterprise development projects to run as intended, they need to look outside the organisation to fill the holes. It’s little wonder, then, that so many enterprises have opted to collaborate with third parties to fulfil their development requirements. This was once seen as a lesser option but is now regarded as an effective way of ensuring projects stay on track.

Deploy augmented team to stay ahead of tech trends

There are many platforms and languages for web development in use across the globe. Cross-platform mobile technologies, such as Flutter and React Native are growing in popularity, as well as new ones are emerging all the time.

These trends highlight the need for enterprises to stay on top of the latest trends in languages, platforms and technical skills. This is a challenge when most of your development is done in-house and requires a strong and ongoing investment in training.

Working with external partners, such as through team augmentation, enables in-house developers to work in conjunction with external teams. In this way, enterprises benefit from access to cutting-edge skills and experience, along with knowledge transfer to their in-house teams, without the need to continuously maintain and update such capabilities internally. Such teams are also enterprise-ready in how they work, and comfortable with Agile methodology and project management requirements.

The advances in technology are showing few signs of slowing down. But ultimately, these advances are powered by skilled human beings with the expertise to keep delivering platforms, applications and more. By embracing change and plugging the skills gap with a more agile approach to augmenting internal teams, there is no reason why the technology industry will be derailed in the slightest.

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