Like any long-term relationship, communication and honesty is key, writes Ross McLaren, chief operating officer of redPanda.
Transparency is a concept that has become increasingly important in the business world. Studies emerging globally show that in the era of fake news, post-truth and massive exposes of public and private malfeasance, customers are in search of something that quite literally forms the basis of every relationship dating back to the first-ever transaction: trust.
PwC’s 21st Annual Global CEO Survey found that two thirds of CEOs globally are worried that trust is declining in business. Similarly, a Kantar Millward Brown 2018 Top Brands in the World Study found that there is a strong correlation between trust in a brand and its value. Any solution aimed at attracting and retaining consumers simply has to speak to the new digitally savvy customer, the increasing risks of disruption, data security and business theft or fraud.
The development of comprehensive solutions require implicit trust. A software development model should be built on the two pillars of transparency and trust – that is when an agile, dynamic partnership for the long haul is created.
The single biggest benefit of a long-term development partnership is increased domain knowledge and more effective, relevant solutions. The often-repeated phrase, ́we strive to create real value for our clients´ is brought to life, and gives the enterprise software developer the opportunity – and confidence – to approach clients with new technology and concepts that are relevant. These could be embedded in mixed reality, artificial intelligence or machine learning, amongst others.
Budgeting and planning are two important challenges. From a budgeting point of view, there needs to be a very detailed and concise scope of work. This requires the developer having an in-depth understanding of the client’s business – how the processes work, the problem that needs a solution and the domain where they operate.
This is vital because in order to win board approval, the developer and enterprise need to be 100% aligned. This requires very careful and methodical planning with the right people involved from the earliest stages of engagement.
South Africa is on par with the rest of the world when it comes to the expertise involved in enterprise software development. South African enterprises face the same business challenges as their international counterparts, albeit in a different set of local economic and political conditions.
Businesses need to develop solutions to business problems fast, and push to new markets as soon as possible making use of the latest and most up-to-date technology in order to gain a competitive advantage.
How is this achieved? Through transparency and long-term engagements cemented in trust.
The world of IT is dynamic and fluid, and so long-term business, and trust in relationships between the enterprise and the developer are crucial. Besides the obvious benefits of clear and regular feedback resulting in better solution development, the business has the confidence that the developer partner is utilising the best-possible technology solutions for its business problems in innovative and effective ways – because it understands the domain and business exceptionally well.
Just like when you embark on a flight, you have implicit trust in the design of the aircraft, the crew and the pilot, your business should view software development in the same way.
Famously, the pilot of a Quantas flight whose engine exploded told the Sydney Morning Herald that instead of panicking, he had the utmost faith in the Airbus, the systems and the crew. This was unshakable trust that was built up over time and that saw him land a plane safely in Singapore with hundreds of lives aboard.
Each business will have its preferred method of developing this kind of implicit trust and building meaningful partnerships. This strategy should be driven from the c-suite down until it permeates every level of the organisation. Our approach at redPanda Software is that enterprise software development partnerships are always built on the two pillars of transparency and trust, enabling a fruitful and successful long-term engagement.
Having skin in the game long-term means that our domain knowledge and trust relationship with our partners empowers us to exploit the very best, and latest technology in the smartest way possible. The end result: a solution that has a measurable impact on a business that remains relevant in an ever-evolving consumer landscape.