Johannesburg, 06 Jul 2023
The rise of remote workers is opening international borders, creating business opportunities across the globe, and breaking down previous geographical barriers like never before. But is this a golden age, or are tech companies in particular heading for implosion as company culture and internal communications and interpersonal connections fall by the wayside?
Will local workers get priced out of the market by international competitors, or is this a chance to elevate the tech industry and collaborate at a global level like never before?
With a growing global footprint, Dynamic Technologies group companies DVT, Inspired Testing, xSMTHS and Sincera have a combined physical or remote presence in 22 cities and 10 countries across the world and regularly use remote workers to service international clients.
Inspired Testing COO Lucas Scheepers, xSMTHS Head of Operations Kristina Gransee, Sincera CEO Ashish Choudhary, and DVT CMO Karl Fischer weigh in on the importance of having a global footprint, the benefits of a remote workforce and offshoring, and the benefits and challenges of this business model.
With a global footprint comes international quality
Scheepers says: “Quality software knows no boundaries and our global footprint reflects that. The globalisation of tech and remote-first opportunities allows us as an organisation to embrace diversity through innovation. Each team member brings a unique blend of culture, skills and experience which we embrace as a global company.”
Gransee agrees. “The remote revolution has the big advantage in that it provides opportunities for talent everywhere. Especially in countries where there were less opportunities before.”
xSMTHS provides services in South Africa, the UK and Europe. Gransee has first-hand knowledge of the challenges and benefits of remote as she commutes regularly between Germany and South Africa.
She says: “There will naturally always be roles and functions that require more face-to-face client contact than others, hence there will always be a need for some local feet on the ground. Not every role needs face-to-face contact or must even be necessarily in a specific time zone.” She states, however, that: “Having local knowledge of preferences and etiquette and being able to relate to certain local behaviours does help when working with local clients.”
The importance of an international presence for growing tech companies
According to Choudhary: “Organisations worldwide are struggling with labour shortages. At the same time, the demand for skills is at a record high. This makes it more difficult to recruit and retain talent. As a result, organisations are now adopting new talent hiring practices, including remote employment, and offshoring. Notably, visa limitations don’t apply to remote work and offshoring.”
For Choudhary, offshoring is an absolute necessity as business races to keep pace with global innovation, development and growth, particularly in the tech space.
Sincera has employees based in Cleveland, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Tampa, San Francisco, Dallas, Johannesburg, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mexico. “We follow a hybrid model, so we have remote workers as well as local feet on the ground.”
For xSMTHS, making sure its clients can get the best out of both worlds is vital. “They can have an account manager who sees them face-to-face on a regular basis for reviews and strategy meetings, while also benefiting from a cost-effective near-shore delivery team," says Gransee.
“xSMTHS hires staff where we find talent with the right skills. Having a mix of different cultures supports our ambition to grow into different markets. We currently service clients in South Africa, the UK and the EU, and we want to be able to service them with the best possible delivery team. For example, sometimes we need to facilitate an onsite workshop. We are able to plan the structure of the delivery team with the most important factors in mind. That includes location, cost-effectiveness and technical skills, as well as the required industry experience.”
Is offshoring merely inviting a low-cost foreign invasion?
“A global footprint is important to growing revenue and increasing bottom-line profitability for an organisation. It also empowers the company to get access to cost-effective talent across the globe,” explains Choudhary.
He adds: “Globalisation promotes global economic growth, creates jobs, makes companies more competitive, and lowers prices for consumers. In more developed countries, this can result in local jobs that are lost as they are transferred to lower-cost countries.”
However, the benefits, Choudhary believes, outweigh the cons. “Remote working models, if optimised correctly, can create real benefits such as an increase in productivity, reduction in absenteeism, reduction in staff turnover, higher employee satisfaction, and potential cost reduction in real estate.”
Business without borders
When businesses offer access to an international pool of top tier resources, the advantages are clear. Their clients benefit from new ideas, different perspectives, strong skill sets and cost-efficiencies. They also benefit from more diversity in their hiring and have access to larger pools of employees with specific or niche skill sets.
Fischer sums it up: “Remote work is a reality. The pandemic has normalised a workforce that is both distributed and connected. Their physical location is less important than their ability to deliver value, collaborate and communicate effectively. That affords opportunity both for people with skills that are in demand and for businesses to find those same team members they need from a greater pool of talent.
"Does this ramp up the competition? Of course, but that will also mean that professionally managed, high-performing, and high-quality services that serve remote requirements will be the distinguishing factors that enterprise organisations will use to determine their partners in the new fluid skills market.
"Fearing the new dynamic equates to being a modern-day Luddite. Facilitating the new requirement and performing beyond expectations by consciously addressing language, time-zone and cultural differences will mean distinction. That’s the aim at DVT: service of distinction in remote technology skills provision.”