It’s difficult to say exactly how long IT Outsourcing has been regularly used by businesses. Traditionally, companies grew in a certain way. When they needed more IT function they grew an in-house team, adding the skills that they needed as they went along.
Currently we see a situation where outsourcing is growing. More people work as freelancers. Working remotely is attractive to people who want to travel the world. Agencies spring up wherever there are startups, offering outsourcing options for a range of projects. Programmers and developers can work online from wherever they are in the world. As functions like this move to a more outsourced model other roles – Project/Product Manager, UX Designer – follow too.
Looking to the future, it is clear that outsourcing is here to stay. In an ever-widening market, outsourcing gives companies access to a global talent pool. So what is the future of this market? And what skills will we see outsourced in the future?
What will IT Outsourcing Look Like in the Future?
There are so many new digital buzzwords and trends around. So often, where there is hype there is also demand. Consider some of these recent trends and how they might look towards outsourcing in the future:
- Blockchain – The technology behind BitCoin is now used as the basis for many of the financial and reporting systems of the future. Innovation in industries that require robust reporting, such as the diamond industry, can be powered by using blockchain. Industries where trust is essential will look to those who specialise in Blockchain technology.
- Internet of Things (IoT) – With Google’s Home in the US (and launching in the UK this week) and Amazon’s Alexa already in homes, IoT is now a reality. Connecting your product or service to these home systems is a key market to consider. This will require specialist skills in programming and voice recognition.
- Data Scientist – So many of the interactions we have every day are now recorded. This growing amount of data is incredibly powerful. Having the skills to be able to process and analyse larger datasets is key to anticipating user needs in the future.
With the future so ripe for those with new skills, IT Outsourcing is sure to follow. Here is a deeper look at other sectors where outsourcing will be crucial in the future.
Films like iRobot might look like a strange vision of what is to come. However, automation and machine learning are here right now. We see the rise of machine learning all around us. Chatbots and personal assistants use AI to interact with users, post to social media, and show us the nearest cafe.
While many lower-skilled jobs are already being automated Bradley Shaw, a digital marketing expert, sees the trend turning. ‘
More high-end critical business functions will be outsourced in the next decade, while outsourcing of low-end services will stabilize.’
In the future jobs will be by people alongside automated roles. This increases the need for a proper working relationship between the two. Bradley sees this as one of the working relationships of the future.
‘Both parties will have to redefine roles and skills requirements for human jobs, as well as manage the touch points between automation functions and jobs performed by humans. This will present a significant challenge for outsourcing relationships as agreements will need to be flexible to accommodate these highly dynamic environments.’
As well as managing this relationship, programming machine learning agents and algorithms is a specialist skill itself. As Ben Ullrich, Professional Nerd (not just a future job title, an actual one right now!) comments:
‘This is a very time consuming and complex task. There are very few people that can understand how to implement these systems.’
Whether you build the AI of the future or oversee its work, this is a specialism that will be in high demand.
The value of so many businesses these days is in their data. Companies like Facebook derive their value from the data they have on their users. They use this to monetize their platform. In this environment cybersecurity is key. Raconteur identified cybersecurity as one of its six key trends for the future of outsourcing.
Cybersecurity is a specialist skill, making it a focus for outsourcing. As Dave McWhorter, Founder of the Homeland Security Consulting Group, suggests:
‘Rather than beef up the local system with programs and monitoring, it is easier to outsource that to a robust provider, even if you lose some capability. It is essentially security-as-a-service.’
Cybersecurity and its associated risks could affect outsourcing. Deloitte, in their Global Outsourcing Survey 2016, note that 23% of the companies that responded said that cyber risks are affecting their outsourcing decisions. However, this isn’t all bad news. As the report notes these companies are adapting their processes and ‘continue to view outsourcing as part of the solution, not the problem.’
The Deloitte report also notes that cloud services are one of the key technologies that are driving innovation in outsourcing.
How are cloud services helping? The report notes that there are a few key ways in which companies see them improving their outsourced work.
- Lowering the cost of delivery
- Speeding up the rate of change
- Speeding up implementation
- Enhancing innovation
Cloud services provide access to projects, storage, and data. They will continue to be an integral part of the future of outsourcing.
Coding is Dead, Long Live Coding
With all these new roles, and new job titles, it is hard not to feel like maybe straight-forward coding, once the most prized skill of all, is no longer the skill that guarantees employment.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Coding is a key skill needed in all the areas that we’ve talked about in this blog. InfoWorld, in their predictions for the future of programming, have the REST protocol as being the standard for IoT to begin with.
What is happening though is that coding, like these other areas, is becoming more specialised. There is a rise in the need for programmers who are specialists. Chatbots, AR, VR, Cloud Services, Data, these are all areas where coding is required. They are also all areas where specialist skills in coding are required.
It is clear that there is a bright future for IT Outsourcing. We certainly think so, we’ve built a premium marketplace for just that!