Fall is release season for all the major tech companies, and this year, the competition will be brutal in the wearables scene. Who will you cheer for?
Does it feel like it’s becoming more difficult to hire IT resources for your company?
It turns out that this is more than a feeling – it’s a fact.
There’s a shortage of IT talent
Problem one is that there’s a shortage of skilled IT labor. Recent reports estimate in the next two years alone, there will be one million unfilled job openings in the tech sector. By 2026, this number will grow to 1.3 million. That said, only about 60,000 people per year graduate with degrees in computer science. So there’s a clear gap between the number of IT roles and the number of people with the IT knowledge to fill those roles.
Technologists are Hard to Retain
This shortage is compounded by problem two: it’s notoriously difficult to retain IT talent once hired. In fact, according to a LinkedIn study published this spring:
Technology is the industry with the highest average turnover rate – 13.2%
UX designers had extremely high turnover at 23.3%
Data analysts and embedded software engineers both have an average turnover of 21.7%
“As employers and offers get more competitive, top talent is more eager to jump on new opportunities.”
In the history of our company, this is something we’ve often seen first hand. In fact, we can count several customers where our relationship as the outsourced software development partner has outlasted as many as 3 generations of internal hires.
Outsourcing at New High
There’s no doubt about it, hiring and retaining top IT talent is difficult. So difficult, in fact, that companies are increasingly choosing to outsource more of their IT functions. For example, the IT Outsourcing Statistics 2017/2018 study from Computer Economics indicates that in 2017, the IT outsourcing percentages were the highest they’ve been in the last five years. From 2016 to 2017:
Large organizations increased the percentage of their IT budgets spent on outsourcing from 6.3% to 8.7%
Midsize companies increased the percentage of their IT budgets spent on outsourcing from 4.7% to 6.5%.
Small organizations increased the percentage of their IT budgets spent on outsourcing from 6.7% to 7.8%
Internal or Outsourced: How to Decide
Rather than take on the effort and cost to hire (and retain) IT staff, many companies are turning to outsourced providers.
But what’s the best course of action for your company? Should you hire for an internal IT position, seek outsourced help or use a combination of both? Here are three questions to help you make that decision:
1. Does the project require specialty skills?
If you need a specialist – whether it’s a UX designer, an IoT development expert or a cyber security expert – you’d probably be better off outsourcing the job. These tasks require highly skilled technicians with knowledge of a wide range of technologies. And they’re often not needed until a specific point in a project or when until an issue arises, so having them on your payroll full time is often an unnecessary expense. Specialty functions can be done much more effectively and more economically when they’re not in-house.
2. Is the role/project mission critical?
If the function you’re hiring against is a core competency or key differentiator of your company, you might want to keep the position in-house. While IT providers can become highly engaged strategic partners, the purpose and goals of IT projects need to originate within your organization.
3. Are you currently succeeding?
While it seems counterintuitive, the best time to hire and outsourced IT partner is when things are going well. This communicates to your in-house IT personnel that your company is investing in growth without grossly overburdening current staff. So if you company is doing well, but just needs more bandwidth, it might be time to consider outsourcing.
DVmobile has years of experience working as an outsourced development and IT partner for companies like the City of Boulder, Colorado, Skywriter MD, Nortek and Collective Goods. For more information about how we work, let's connect. We’d love the opportunity to help you brainstorm your needs and demonstrate our capabilities.
CEO of DVmobile, triathlete, and technology philosopher.
Between smartphones and tablets, Americans spend 57 percent of their digital media consumption time in apps. For app developers and companies building mobile apps, this statistic indicates a massive opportunity to grow their footprint and business revenues.
In fact, a well-designed mobile app not only serves to better engage customers, enhance user experiences, and improve loyalty, but can also deliver significant ROI. And it’s not just music, messaging, or video apps that are building features to better capitalize on this notion. A wide variety of B2C and B2B apps are also working to delight users and produce an impressive return on investment. For example:
Social Media Marketing Apps – Social media marketing is not a 9-5 job. Through social media marketing apps, marketers are able to keep their finger on the pulse of their online community. Apps that enable marketers to engage directly with followers anytime, anywhere can deliver a 62% increase in brand loyalty and improved rates of conversion.
Project Management Apps – Teams using project management apps are able to track deliverables and collaborate in real-time. With more than 43% of Americans working remotely, this type of on-demand cooperation is critical to productivity and performance.
Banking Apps – By increasing mobile banking adoption rates through apps and online systems, the average financial institution can generate millions in additional revenues and reduce attrition by up to 15%.
Another area where we’re seeing significant growth is hospitality. Recently in the Wall Street Journal, Marriott’s CIO talked about the change that mobile apps are bringing to the hotel guest experience, calling them one of the biggest shifts of the past decade. In fact, research shows that hotels with mobile apps consistently get higher customer satisfaction ratings from their guests. But hotel apps don’t only improve the guest experience; they also offer opportunities to generate ROI from hotel conferences and events.
DVmobile has a long history of creating ROI-generating apps across a wide range of industries. When developing a new hotel app for conferences and events, there are three app features we recommend including to improve usability, user experience, and ROI:
1. Loyalty Rewards – Giving users the option to sign up for customer loyalty/rewards programs in-app, gives hotels another way to engage with users, encourage repeat business and reward referrals, boosting YOY attendance and supporting new business.
2. Sponsorship Opportunities – Giving conference/event sponsors the opportunity to directly connect with attendees (aka: their target audience) through things like in-app banner ads, splash pages, etc., can transform hospitality apps from a cost-center into top-line impacting tools – generating additional revenue from in-app advertising.
3. Push Notifications at the Event – Enabling push notifications during an event not only provides hotels with an additional revenue stream (e.g. individual exhibitors can purchase these to drive traffic to their booth), but it also enables the facility to promote its own amenities more fully (e.g. offering coupons for the hotel restaurant or bar, promoting the hotel spa, etc.)
Ready to learn more about how DVmobile works with companies to develop unique, intuitive mobile solutions that surprise and delight users and help organizations produce greater ROI? Contact us directly for a full demo of our capabilities.
UI/UX Designer at DVmobile, Men-at-Work fan, and 3D printing guru.
The past few weeks, this blog has focused on defining and providing examples of IoT. This week, we’ll turn our attention to IoT Ecosystem Design.
What is an IoT Ecosystem?
As we discussed last week, we’re entering a new era in which once everyday, silent things (like faucets and watches) are now able to communicate and collaborate. These things are the hardware of IoT– the most visible component – but they are hardly the whole story. In fact, these things are supported by a complex, hierarchical, multi-layered ecosystem that transmits, interprets, and acts upon data that hardware gathers.
The image below provides an example of an IoT ecosystem in action:
Here you can see how IoT sensors act as a capture mechanism, collecting data and sending it to the Cloud. From there, the data can be integrated into software for aggregation and analysis, and then into a machine learning engine that can synthesize the data and output a specific action based on the data.
IoT and the Law of the Jungle
It turns out that IoT ecosystems act a lot like naturally occurring ecosystems. Members share and compete for resources, they collaborate together, and each plays a role in the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem. They’re also both subject to the law of the jungle. In IoT, as in nature, only the strong will survive.
One of the most important considerations for building strong IoT ecosystems is the User Experience (UX). Developers creating IoT ecosystems have to account for thousands of other things collaborating, communicating, and competing for user attention. That’s why, instead of a conventional approach where development is the ruling element, IoT ecosystem design needs to lead with empathic design. This puts the end user and all stakeholders first. It is the powerful driving element which determines and gives meaning to technical and project-specific objectives, and which shapes overall success. Excellent UX design will ultimately mark the difference between those that survive and those that go extinct.
If you'd like to discuss how we can design an IoT ecosystem for your business, reach out or contact us directly for more information:
Join us back here next week as we talk about the next frontier of Voice Integration Services.
UI/UX Designer at DVmobile, Men-at-Work fan, and 3D printing guru.