The panelists of the GSA SourcingTech Panel shared their knowledge and ideas on several burning tech topics in 2022. Let’s discover key insights from the industry leaders.
1. When Businesses Are Reluctant to Share Their Achievements and Best Practices, It Acts as a Key Barrier to Industry Development
Partnership and collaboration are key industry drivers. However, businesses keep behaving like children during an exam — covering their paper, so nearby students can’t see their answers. Although it’s an innate human desire to keep things to yourself, this reluctance toward sharing achievements is a barrier that disrupts tech adoption and digital transformation. We are seeing some change after the pandemic, as businesses are reevaluating the need to share outcomes — but it isn’t enough. The biggest opponents are often client organizations. For example, 90% of published Intetics case studies are about anonymous clients.
Such an attitude disrupts the industry’s development. A good example is India, which has made itself a massive IT industry. Its big service providers shared their achievements and how they managed to do so, which boosted the smaller players and fostered general industry growth across the country.
To maintain proper intellectual property protection, whether it’s a unique selling point that gives you a competitive edge, data, or your strategy, GSA has launched standard terms of contracting. Moreover, they have announced an approach to standardized questionnaires for those looking for sustainability service providers. These are supposed to level the playing field between enterprise buyers and smaller service providers.
Another initiative is the GSA automation repository, which contains valuable insights and best practices on what processes can be automated. It’s based on the experience of GSA members and shows the industry’s automation possibilities, thereby fostering a broader-scale adoption of automation. The repository allows industry leaders to share their knowledge whenever it’s convenient, thus eliminating another barrier — the reluctance to spend a lot of time answering many questions.
2. Agile Approach or Strict Specifications: Which Is a Winning Approach to Deliver the Desired Outcome?
While both approaches may take place, today’s Agile-dominant world introduces new rules. For example, Boris Kontsevoi shared that the time of specifications for software was back in the 90s. It has no place in the modern world, and for a good reason — they prevent you from achieving success when you probe a product but realize that some changes are required to reach the desired outcome. Specifications don’t allow you to do so. That’s why it’s better to implement a stage-by-stage approach that allows for more flexibility.
The pitfall: outsourcers may discover that the process bears no resemblance to what they were told. Therefore, they need to fix it, which implies several variations and extra costs. To avoid this, companies build process and application mining software to mine the process, identify the steps, and document them. Yet, it requires the client’s consent to run the software on their premises.
Another solution is a so-called balancing act. The agreement between a software developer and a client should be rather flexible with defined stages and exit ramps at specific timeframes. This allows a client to get out if the deliverables aren’t sufficient without extra expenditure.
3. The Digital Transformation Corporate Culture: How to Tactically Implement Initiatives Business-Wide
The highest-performing companies have a strategic sourcing function, which they work collaboratively across the business to deliver. The full-scale transformation mustn’t be siloed. That’s why all the departments, including procurement, legal, financial, operations, and technological, should work collaboratively to deliver the desired outcome. This implies a new approach to corporate culture and sourcing.
Intetics, for example, is hiring across the globe. We currently employ specialists from 20+ countries. Dealing with younger generations allowed us to spot an emerging strategic hiring trend — impact goes first. Zoomers aren’t going to work for just anyone; it’s the bigger goal that matters. That’s why businesses are going to rethink their culture to remain competitive, especially during the global talent shortage.
Global sourcing implies another legal challenge. You need to look after local tax compliance and employment laws while ensuring intellectual property is looked after the way your clients want it to be.
4. Some Tech-Related Issues: The Move to a Citizen-Developer Landscape, Ethical AI, and the Next Big Wave of Innovation
The panelists discussed several tech-related issues that have recently been on the surface:
Low-Code Instead of Software Development
Low-code platforms are still not good enough to suffice without a professional touch. Still, they will relieve some of the pressure on resources that arises from a talent shortage. Nonetheless, no specialist is smart enough to automate a software development solution to the extent that no professional help is required.
The Approach to Ethical AI Deployment
The matter of ethical AI development is bound to the humans that build the software. Unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of unethical AI deployment, especially in Western countries; China is a good example. The country produces powerful applications without considering any ethical issues.
While the industry can’t take specific measures to prevent this, its conscious participants can whistleblow once unethical tech is spotted. What is more, it’s in the industry’s best interest to develop ethical solutions, educate the developers on the consequences of unethical tech, ensure data quality, and continue to provide training.
The Next Big Wave of Innovation
So far, a number of technologies have disrupted the world. Some vivid examples are geospatial tech, which has enabled enhanced navigation systems, as well as autonomous driving and drones. As for the future, experts believe that the biggest impact will be caused by adopted robotics, AR/VR, and microservices — for example, automated crop collection.