The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the world of software development were pivotal, especially for companies that had had no framework for fully remote work. Even those software development teams that were already dispersed experienced a sudden shift in client mindsets and a surge of new projects, as businesses rushed to adjust to the new normal. Now, years later, the situation seems to be stabilizing. Let’s take a look at which consequences of the pandemic are here to stay, and what it means for the future of digital business.
An influx of online interactions
As the spread of the virus forced people to stay at home, the number of daily tasks they had to complete online, from shopping to doctor’s appointments, grew rapidly. This meant that companies had to adjust to interacting with customers online-first, which forced them to seek out additional engineering capacity. On the flipside, the digital environment allows for a data-driven approach, empowering informed strategic decisions. In the long term, businesses may find that expanding their activities to the online sphere induces growth and allows them to reach new customers.
Some changes in customer behavior are unlikely to reverse even after the threat of Covid has passed for good. Software has become the core of many companies’ everyday operations, and building attractive software products set up in well-functioning digital ecosystems is a requirement for business growth. Among crucial considerations, 24/7 availability, the right channels of engagement, and intuitive experiences are moving to the forefront. As such, creating an online platform cannot be an afterthought, and software apps must be built to match top quality standards in terms of functionality, performance and design.
Company resilience and innovation
Although the immediate effects of the pandemic were in many cases dire, in the long-term, Covid-19 created opportunities for innovation. One such area is operational efficiency and automation, achieved through limiting manual work and streamlining processes. Another is data-driven decision making and mining existing sources of information. Data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) can be applied to prepare companies for future crises. According to Evgeniy Altynpara, “renovating existing corporate systems, apps and IT infrastructure helps companies adapt to changes faster, ride the turbulent wave of a volatile market and win the competition”.
Despite this focus on systems, automation and data, companies should not move too far away from human-centric design. A large part of it is understanding the changing needs of customers, then putting key behavioral insights into practice through streamlined interactions in the digital space. Anticipating rather than answering stated needs is a big advantage, one that can elevate a software product above its rivals and help secure a leading position on the market.
Covid opened up many companies to approaching the problem of accessing top software development talent in a new way. Remote-first, dispersed teams have quickly become the norm. Though some believe that an in-house team ensures higher efficiency and better control over a project, this is not necessarily the case. In a report prepared by ASG, the majority of respondents saw an overall increase in productivity within software teams after the pandemic hit. Forty-two percent found that completing tasks in a timely manner became easier.
Notably, these results represented developers’ mindsets immediately after a major change in their lives and during a global crisis. Now that the virus is mostly under control, people have more choices (e.g. due to hybrid offices) and fewer worries. According to more recent research, 70% of remote workers experience less stress and are, on average, 47% more productive.
To prepare for future events with impact comparable to a global pandemic, companies should consider embracing flexibility in their digitization processes. In addition, access to experienced software engineers is becoming ever more limited. The IT industry is largely an employee’s market, with more job openings than available experts. Developers can now take advantage of remote job offers from all around the world. With such broad options, attracting them to your company will be a difficult challenge.
These problems can be easily solved through a well-known cooperation model used by software agencies. Staff augmentation (also known as team extension) guarantees access to top experts through a reliable hiring process, much faster and cheaper than regular recruitment. Vetted developers add their expertise to existing teams without increasing the company’s administrative workload, as their compensation, leave, benefits, and all other employee considerations are handled by the agency.
Team augmentation is a highly flexible model, allowing for scaling projects up or down on fairly short notice. It easily supports organizations undergoing rapid changes, but is equally well suited for long-term cooperation. If you’d like to learn more about it, let’s get in touch!