As the digital era paves the way for new economic platforms and opportunities, it also leverages the role of cross-industry collaboration, especially in technology. Historically, the technology partner relationship used to be a body count per dollar efficiency ratio, which focuses on getting work done while best optimising the budget. However, this partnership model cannot keep pace with an always-changing technology landscape in which the skill gaps and lack of resources are increasing. The new models recognise this, drawing tech vendors to shift toward innovation-focused roles and become partners in the client’s success.
Under the new paradigms, the right partners, with their solid foundation of domain know-how, will enable organisations to access specialized expertise and knowledge to navigate today’s complex business world. Often, tech vendors act as an extended workforce, providing manpower and technological expertise for their client’s digital transformation journey. When taking this to the next level, vendor partners act as co-innovators, helping businesses craft winning strategies based on innovation. In fact, up to 94% of technology executives now consider innovation partnerships a strategic component for success.
TECH VENDORS AS EXTENDED WORKFORCE
Going digital has never been a solo act as rare indeed would be an organisation that is not resource-constrained, even for the largest companies. An IDC report estimated the global IT developer shortage will reach four million by 2025, leaving businesses struggling to accelerate digital transformation without the needed workforce. To mitigate this challenge, organisations are now starting to look outside, leveraging third-party tech vendors’ resourceful manpower, expertise, and industrial experience to drive their digital transformation initiatives.
Organisations also face the same challenges: balancing the allocation of limited resources between what is important—long-term strategic priorities like digital transformation—and what is urgent. This is where the role of the right partners is highlighted, as they can deal with the immediate priorities, freeing in-house teams to focus on other important areas.
Notably, a partner with global reach can be particularly valuable to an organisation with operations with a global presence; since the structure of most multinational organisations is optimised to support their core business rather than initiatives like digital transformation. Meanwhile, a global vendor with resources deployed around the world, FPT Software’s ‘best shore’ model for example, can provide services to its clients optimally wherever they are.
A global automotive technology company that partnered with FPT Software is a great example of how leveraging a resourceful third-party provider can enable breakthrough results. Despite logistics challenges caused by the global pandemic, the company managed to rapidly scale up its team to over 1,000 people in a period of only 11 months. It leveraged FPT Software’s “Best Shore” global delivery model, which combines different delivery locations—on-shore, near-shore, and offshore, for full lifecycle development and management – including greenfield, brownfield, and sunsetting – of over 100 revenue-generating and operational software products. With assistance from FPT Software, the company also managed to accelerate product innovations by setting up a joint product Center of Excellence (CoE) to research best practices on product roadmaps, implementation, and maintenance.
TECH VENDORS AS CO-INNOVATORS
Nevertheless, the benefits of tech vendors are more than just infusing organizations with standard tech skills; they are becoming an integral source of the organization’s journey to long-term success and innovation. Technology vendors are moving into co-innovation and strategic partnerships with their clients: sharing the same problems and helping them effectively scale up and address specific challenges through emerging technologies. As a result, companies are more likely to look for tech partners that excel in IT services while being able to join hands to drive innovative strategies and future technologies.
The relationship between the global aircraft manufacturer Airbus and FPT Software can epitomise this model. Airbus was conceiving an ambitious plan to develop an open aviation data platform, Skywise, as a single platform of reference for all major aviation players that would enable them to improve their operational performance and business results and support Airbus’ own digital transformation.
Becoming Airbus’ strategic partner in big data engineering, advanced analytics, data ingestion, data transformation, data pipelines, and data quality management services, FPT Software successfully built workflows to improve airlines’ operational efficiency, prevent delays, provide predictive maintenance, and reduce the time aircraft must spend on the ground.
The IT firm also onboarded more than 140+ airlines onto Skywise, which is now used by more than half the world’s airlines, with between them more than 10,000 aircraft. Since then, this has been an ongoing fruitful collaboration, as FPT Software continues to provide technical support to Skywise users and supports the development of new use cases and other innovations for Skywise.
In today’s digital-first world, the old tech partner model focusing on cost efficiency and narrowed simple technology domains is outdated as innovation becomes the driving force for organisations to stay at the forefront. The time is ripe for new paradigms in which tech vendors are more closely integrated with clients’ businesses, sharing the same priorities and propelling innovation together, either as an extended workforce or co-innovators.
Finding the right approach is the key component for organisations to stay agile, innovative, and competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace. A partner with a global presence, co-innovation paradigms, and tailored solutions will certainly get your business future-fit. Explore more here.