Can Your Digital Capabilities Be Bought or Rented?

Assessing current systems and platforms against desired future versions is a routine task for technology pioneers. At our company, Works, performing a gap analysis is a fundamental aspect of most of our projects and programmes. This evaluation offers an all-inclusive assessment of the range and size of the current systems or the long-term technological plan.

At Works, we understand the importance of considering resources in their entirety, including not only the technology we develop, deploy, and manage but also our employees’ skills, expertise, and interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, many CTOs tend to spend a considerable amount of time evaluating their systems without extending the same efforts to their employees. However, without the right personnel and capabilities, even the most well-thought-out and meticulously planned technology strategy spanning several years will not result in success.

Performing a People Capability Analysis

To assess your human resources as thoroughly as you evaluate your technical ones, use the same set of criteria. Your portfolio should align with your technology strategy, project portfolio, or any other long-term plan that outlines the technologies, systems, and activities under your supervision.

Before assembling the individuals and teams that will bring your vision to life, it is critical to determine your list of initiatives, just as a chef must decide on the cuisine and create the menu prior to purchasing the necessary ingredients.

Evaluating the skills necessary to accomplish the essential components of your desired outcome is crucial. This can be a challenging undertaking, particularly in rapidly evolving areas such as digital technology, and you may need to seek external assistance.

When including mobile applications in your strategy, it’s crucial to remember that creating the product necessitates UX/UI designers, front-end and back-end developers, as well as potentially even cybersecurity and platform capabilities. It’s vital to grasp these prerequisites to ensure a successful result.

Evaluate the internal expertise and external resources (suppliers, partners) at your disposal. It’s conceivable that your IT company may have exceptional in-house corporate app development capabilities or remarkable project management skills. This process is akin to mapping the present status of a process or technology, and you should be familiar with it.

At this point, you must possess a distinct comprehension of your current capabilities, future direction, and the information required to begin identifying any skill deficiencies.

Establishing Long-lasting Capabilities

By now, any skill deficiencies should be apparent. While the immediate response may be to contact HR to initiate the recruitment process or send a message to Procurement to begin drafting requests for external assistance, it’s crucial to pause and assess the team’s capabilities by posing the following questions:

  • Despite the high cost, is this something we must retain internally for strategic reasons?
  • Could you elaborate on the difficulty involved in assembling a group with this particular skill set?
  • What is the timeframe to achieve full operational capability for this functionality?

These inquiries can aid in developing a sourcing plan. Below are three methods of acquisition that may be utilized to address any capability gaps.

  1. Establish

    the competence in-house through either full-time hires, internal training and transitions, or training and education sourced externally
  2. Lease

    Availability of external capabilities may allow a vendor or partner to quickly address any deficiency in internal resources, such as personnel, processes, and infrastructure.
  3. Acquire

    by acquiring a company that already possesses the technology.

In most cases, the ability to acquire a skill or competence stems from a fortuitous or strategic acquisition, as many technology leaders have little say in their company’s M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) procedure. Since this is beyond our control, it’s useful to reassess and revise your capability evaluation to include any new personnel who may be joining the company as a result of an acquisition.

The Digital Era: Establish or Lease?

IT industry C-level executives often believe that acquiring a needed skill, rather than leasing it, is the most efficient course of action. In the present digital age, utilizing a team of young designers or app developers could seem appealing as a means to modernize IT. Hiring them may be a desirable option.

When evaluating capability requirements and gaps, it is crucial to be open about the potential acquisition expenses and trade-offs. To fully implement digital capabilities, a team with specific skills and expertise is often required. Failure to complete the digital capacity due to any missing elements can prevent achieving the expected outcomes.

Identify any potential capacity shortcomings and inquire about how your teams can bridge these gaps with the assistance of a dependable partner that has the necessary skills. Some of these skills may be an extension of the ones you already possess, or they can be learned by training your current personnel. In certain situations, the requirements may be more demanding than initially anticipated; therefore, it may be better to outsource these tasks instead of undertaking them in-house.

To create consumer-grade front-end applications, it is crucial to have a team of six individuals with specialized knowledge and a specific approach to design and delivery. Rather than hiring a few graphic designers, who may not be able to transform their mock-ups into front-end code, it might be more advantageous to employ a backend API developer.

When contemplating the characteristics and digital competences required, take into account how often they will be used. While it may seem attractive to have the ability to conduct ethnographic research, route mapping, app testing, and technological architecture in-house; it will necessitate a substantial financial commitment without necessarily having a steady demand for the resources involved.

The hourly cost should not be the key consideration when deciding. It is not feasible to purchase a costly resource that will not be fully utilized, or to lease a less expensive resource without the required supporting competences.

To be successful in the digital age, evaluate the required competences, appraise their long-term worth to your strategy, and base decisions on those evaluations.

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