Software development outsourcing in the 4th industrial revolution
The rapid technological advancements of the 4IR will see new technical skills continue to emerge, resulting in more jobs and outsourcing opportunities.
Much like a rollercoaster, the information technology (IT) industry has experienced the twists and turns of tremendous growth and disruption in a relatively short period of time, with software development outsourcing in particular experiencing a turbulent growth trend over the past few years. According to database company Statista, the global market size of IT outsourcing reached $85.6 billion in 2018, compared to a peak of $104 billion in 2014 and a decade low of $76.9 billion in 2016.
Major driving forces for the increase in demand for outsourcing services come from companies looking to lower costs, increase their capacity and focus on their core strategic objectives. The demand comes particularly from companies in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
One outsourcing destination that continues to be a top choice for countries across the globe is SA. In 2018, the Global Sourcing Association presented SA with the Global Destination of the Year award.
Some of the reasons SA has become a preferred destination for outsourcing are the central time zone, the common business language and the specialised technical skills available. Beyond this, SA is also ambitiously looking to play a leading role in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
At the inaugural Fourth Industrial Revolution SA Digital Economy Summit, which took place in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: "Given what we know today about the potential beneficial impacts of the fourth industrial revolution, we must embrace this historic confluence of human insights and engagement, artificial intelligence and technology, to rise to the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.”
To this end, Ramaphosa established a 30-member Presidential Commission on the 4IR to deliver a plan on how SA will deal with the 4IR and to determine key areas of development for the country.
The 4IR continues to usher in transformational change throughout society as technology blends with the physical and biological worlds, as seen through technological advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, the Internet of things and augmented reality. This, paired with governmental and policy support, bodes well for the growth prospects of software development outsourcing in SA. With the country's large and diverse workforce pool, and the potential changes in the make-up of the workforce thanks to the 4IR, we have the opportunity to build specialised technical skills to cater for a greater range of outsourcing opportunities.
The continued rapid technological advancements of the 4IR will see the need for new technical skills continue to emerge. Technical skills such as computer programming will become more prevalent in our primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions, leading to an increase in a technically skilled workforce that will ultimately service our growing outsourcing capability.
These new technical skills will hopefully result in a growth in employment in industries where AI, machine learning, robotics, 3D printing and manufacturing are being implemented.
As Saratoga partners with global organisations across a range of industries, the company is already seeing some of its clients incorporate these new technologies into their organisations to create real benefits for both the organisation and its customers. Among Saratoga’s clients in financial services, logistics management, media, retail and health services, technologies such as blockchain, chatbots, automation and facial recognition are being explored and incorporated.
In order to make these technical advancements a reality, applications need to be developed by skilled technology professionals. Organisations looking to realise the true value of these new technologies need a trusted, strategic technology partner. Saratoga has over two decades of experience in delivering innovative and sustainable technology solutions. This is why its global clients have found Saratoga to be the solution delivery and outsource partner that their organisation needs to lead them through key technology and business changes.
“Working with clients that are utilising and embracing the next generation of technologies to keep their organisations ahead of the game provides Saratoga with a win-win situation,” says Shabier Cassim, Head of Development Outsource at Saratoga.
“While enabling our clients to realise the value of these technologies by creating and delivering creative technology solutions, our consultants also have the opportunity to learn and work with innovative technologies in order to continually build on their knowledge and skills.”
As technologies advance and develop, so the skill sets and knowledge of technology professionals and developers need to continually evolve. Saratoga prides itself on providing the necessary mentorship and training to its staff to ensure that their skills growth enables them to lead and advise clients’ organisations through the changing technology landscape.
To augment the technology skills base among Saratoga staff, the company also has access to premier graduates from leading universities situated in SA who are well positioned to provide the technology skills needed for the 4IR.
“At Saratoga, we aim to create the best possible home for technology consultants to form and grow their careers,” says Mark Gebhardt, CEO of Saratoga. “We achieve this by providing support frameworks; a collaborative, learning-focused environment; and appropriate leadership and mentorship from experienced professionals. In doing so, we will continue to create a pool of exceptional individuals, supported by industry best practice and flexible delivery models. This allows us to offer innovative, delivery-focused teams who provide stand-out solutions, on time and at a competitive price-point. These capabilities will continue to position Saratoga as a solution delivery and outsourcing partner of choice.”
From the benefits SA provides as a leading outsource destination to Saratoga's partnerships with its global client base, and its skilled technology professionals who continually work to improve and advance their skill sets, Saratoga is positioned as the ideal software development outsourcing partner to help global organisations navigate the 4IR.