Despite all the number crunching that’s involved in planning the development of new app, the actual roadmap – in terms of hours and resources involved – is rather unpredictable. With numerous variables, such as maintenance and integration of legacy applications, sourcing talent, addressing issues in legacy and new apps, and the evolving sentiments of employees and customers, it can be hard to provide value to all the stakeholders involved and run a profitable business at the same time. Clearly, businesses that are agile – whether in sourcing resources on-demand or addressing customer issues – get ahead and stay ahead of their competition. However, this is easier said than done. Raise your hand if any of the following scenarios seem familiar:
First: You are forced to maintain legacy versions of Apps while customers migrate over
You have developed a new version of your app from the ground up, excitedly announced the release, and are all set to help your customers migrate over. However, they are taking their own sweet time. You had envisioned weeks, maybe months, but now it has been years, and the migration is still in progress.
You are stuck maintaining the legacy application because you obviously cannot abandon your customers. You understand that they have their own constraints and are committed to providing them with value irrespective of the version of the app they are using. However, this involves maintenance of the older app for which you must retain resources.
The challenge becomes bigger as your team members lose interest working with the older version. Most of them have migrated over to the newer platform. Some have left. Those that are remaining, are dissatisfied. You are finding it increasingly difficult to find resources to maintain a dying product.
Second: You are torn between ‘hardening’ your new release and working on your next idea
It hasn’t been long since you released your latest product and you are already toying with the idea of developing the next. However, the only challenge is that you will have to move your developers to the new project even while the latest release is ‘hardening’.
It is a difficult choice. Should you move your team to work on the next idea with no dedicated resources allocated to address newly emerging issues in the new product? Or should you wait for your new product to optimize over months or years before moving on to the next idea? In the former, you risk damaging your reputation. In the latter, you risk losing an idea to the competition, or the idea itself becoming irrelevant over the course of time. Irrespective of the choice you make your business suffers one way or the other.
Third: You are unable to get developers excited about data transformation maintenance
Working with consuming customer or vendor data that frequently changes or has inconsistencies require constant data / schema mapping during and post implementation. This requires some technical capabilities but isn’t exactly a fulfilling role for many developers. Moreover, this isn’t really about a new app or legacy app – generally this is ALWAYS an ongoing need. For instance, a new vendor may share data in a new format. Or something may break with certain data sets. The mapping of that new data isn’t really all that difficult, but the needs for it can often fluctuate. It’s hard to scale up quickly and get a contractor or get an existing employee to do these tasks.
A 2016 McKinsey report reiterates this point: “Most companies face a big talent gap when it comes to data management. There is typically limited expertise within IT and business groups about newer data-migration technologies, capabilities, and architectures, as well as approaches to data delivery. And the relevant subject-matter experts, who could help define best practices in data migration and transformation, tend to be as siloed as the data flows they oversee.”
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Fourth: You are facing a resource crunch
The volume of work during software development isn’t always consistent and predictable. You can’t always foresee phases of hectic coding, testing, and heated discussions. Your team may get stretched too thin during such phases.
Many times this is due to business requirements not being ready or having to rush to implement a new release. In extreme cases developers could be working around 80 hours a week. Such phases are interspersed with periods of relative calm when they don’t have to do anything much and feel bored. Such circumstances lead to unfair work-life balance leading to career frustration and even health issues.
Configuring your team to balance the extremes of both phases can be rather tricky because these phases are unpredictable. However, not addressing this can lead to either tired and dissatisfied workers (when few individuals need to cover too much work) or revenue loss (when there are too many individuals to do a certain quantum of work).
The solution: finding the right technical support partner
Imagine not having to go the distance all alone – having a resource who can bear the extra workload when required, get help on demand, and even do all the boring work for you while you focus on your passion project. That’s what having a valuable technical support service is like.
A technical support partner can provide you with extra bandwidth in the various aspects of software development that are not really your cup of tea. Whether it is maintaining legacy applications, optimizing a new release while you focus on your next product, conducting ETL/data transformation for you, or procuring talent on demand – a technical support partner like Aptude can provide you with the requisite agility to grow your business even while cementing your reputation as a customer centric business.
Migrating customers from legacy applications is indeed a priority, and you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the challenge. Susan Moore explain in a Gartner blog: “Between 2016 and 2020, IT organizations will decommission more than three times the number of applications they have decommissioned since 2000. After 40 years of continuous acquisition of applications, with a very low rate of decommissioning, most large organizations have application portfolios that are bloated, expensive and slow to change.” Outsourcing the support for legacy applications is probably the simplest solution.
Resource crunch, another challenge that plagues IT, can also be effectively addressed by having a technical partner. A 2011 Gartner report states: “When facing unplanned increases in demand, effective IT leaders get optimum performance from their people using a strategy of supplementing existing resources. This approach expands IT’s capacity and capability to adapt to inevitable change.” The report further adds that organizations that are successful in tackling this aspect, “build an integrated workforce of full-time employees and contractors to mitigate the most damaging effects of unplanned demand.” They also, “Tap into external multisourcing of talent and services, coupled with internal skills development.”
What is your opinion? Are you able to balance the requirements of various stages of software development internally without compromising growth? Join the conversation by commenting below.
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