First Line Software is a premier provider of software engineering, software enablement, and digital transformation services. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the global staff of 400 technical experts serve clients across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
It’s a readily known fact that companies are experiencing a great sense of urgency – or in some cases panic – to be recognized as innovative and as market leaders in the face of digital transformation.
Creating new products that address market demands and delight customers, and time-to-market is critical, as is optimizing the customer experience. In fact, digital transformation was cited as an issue of survival by 27% of top executives according to research by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting.
The Right Mix of Internal Innovation and External Implementation
What’s the answer? Add more dedicated internal resources? Hire consultants? Increase the initiative budget? Build up executive team buy-in and support? What must absolutely be managed internally vs. what can be outsourced?
The creative process of innovation is core to companies and what distinguishes them from their competitors, as is their vision for digital transformation. But does that mean they must own the entire process – from concept ideation to launch? Maybe not. What can potentially be outsourced is the execution or realization of that innovation in the form of new products, services, and solutions.
Unlike several years ago, outsourcing is now a mainstream choice for companies and has outgrown its reputation for loss of control by clients, working with strangers, pricing challenges, and the lack of post-development support. Outsourcing has evolved to be considered an acceptable option that adds value by providing highly qualified resources and working together with clients as partners.
Forward-thinking outsourcing companies have expanded their portfolio of services to include Intellectual Integration. Incorporating Intellectual Integration facilitates out-of-the-box thinking by tapping into the providers:
- broad experience and horizontal engineering expertise across multiple industries
- extensive knowledge of existing and emerging technologies
- abilities for laser-focused analysis and objective critical thinking
This approach opens up the opportunity to adapt and incorporate technologies, processes, and best practices used in other industries to enable disruption within the client’s specific industry.
Moving beyond Outsourcing Development Work to Form an Outsourcing Partnership
Establishing a partnership with an outsourcing company experienced in actualizing innovation and digital transformation can add value from the start. Especially with a one-stop-shop that can provide the full complement of services beginning with framing out the concepts, and continuing with technology selection, development of the software and systems, testing, support, and maintenance. This type of operation is also likely to be more flexible in performing all aspects of the development process or a subset, based on client preference.
Once the right outsourcing partner is selected, it’s valuable to engage them as participants in the initial discussions as they can be a sounding board and also share insights from their experiences with clients across multiple industries. It’s amazing how often elements of industry-specific solutions and technologies can be the source of innovation and transformation for companies in other industries.
Once the outsourcing partner has heard and understood the company’s vision for innovation or digital transformation, their collaborative work begins immediately. Whether it’s sharing insights or knowledge, making process and technology recommendations, collecting requirements, creating a plan, executing the development work, or testing, the outsourcing partner will be in constant communication to ensure continuous alignment with the client’s vision.
Additionally, the information and knowledge that is shared during the engagement remain with the client. This gives them a sense of control knowing that once the product has been launched into production, they are equipped with the knowledge and expertise they require to maintain and support the product. This can include training on technology or best practices and methodologies such as Agile or DevOps.
Must-Haves for Successful Outsourcing Partnerships
To be able to meet the challenges of driving the digital transformation strategy or realizing innovation with an effective and qualitative software production approach there are 4 very important areas to consider:
- The business strategies and business plans must provide the key metrics that will govern the development efforts – to enable frequent releases of high value software.
- Use of agile-lean practices throughout the organization and by outsourcing partners, to facilitate early delivery of business value and to effectively integrate business and IT.
- An outsourcing strategy for long-term business partnerships to align business goals, organizational culture and development
- Partner selection driven by domain knowledge along with investment in the development teams’ understanding and knowledge of the business model and its challenges.
A Full-Service Outsourcing Partner
First Line Software operates as a one-stop-shop for its clients and has experience with a range of innovative products and delivering on digital transformation initiatives focused on: IoT and IIoT, mobile, manufacturing, devices with embedded technologies, legacy system modernization, customizing off-the-shelf software systems, and integrating multiple systems.
It’s quite common for companies to engage First Line Software on failed projects that require specific expertise in analysis, problem-solving, ideation, and the ability to visualize, document, and execute the steps for achieving the desired end result for our clients – with a sense of urgency.
Our expertise in Intellectual Integration positions us for adding value beyond basic outsourcing by collaborating with clients on their business initiatives to build innovative products and solutions or transform their businesses with disruptive products and solutions, amazing customer experiences, and highly efficient workforces.
We’re always in the market for interesting clients and projects and invite you to Contact Us to start the conversation about how First Line can partner with your company to achieve your innovation and digital transformation business initiatives.