Steve Rake shares his opinion on WFH and BCP for outsourcing suppliers

April 24, 2020

Bridge at night with the lights on across river

Our Group Portfolio Director shares his take on the current situation with COVID-19 and how CIOS are currently working with technology outsourcing partners.

“Over recent weeks many CIO’s will be calling on their outsourcing suppliers to maintain service, some with a shift in focus, some will be reducing spend and some will require their suppliers to quickly and effectively take on additional work – some of it transformational during this critical time. The agility, flexibility, capability and capacity of their suppliers’ service and that of their supplier relationships will be put to the test.

BCPs (Business Continuity Plans) of your technology partners, including the connectivity of its people and their infrastructure to deliver service, are vital. Underpinning this, there will be a powerful dynamic at play – organisation value statements, proclaimed “partnership approaches” and the people responsible for the relationships are being put to the test.

It’s when people are under pressure that you realise what they’re made of. As people working in the tech sector grapple with an immense amount of change, those relationships forged between partners and suppliers are immensely important.

How CIOs can work with outsourcing providers to navigate the Coronavirus crisis

A comprehensive report and perspective on “How CIOs can work with outsourcing providers to navigate the Coronavirus crisis” can be found in this article, by McKinsey and I’d suggest it is well worth a read. CIOs must consider whether to manage their outsourced services to ensure business continuity in the light of global lockdowns or to better manage IT costs in anticipation of potentially challenging economic times. This article is a great insight into this issue.

I’d also like to share just a little from my own experience of delivering services during the COVID-19 pandemic so far…..

A significant proportion of Harvey Nash Group’s business is Technology Outsourcing. NashTech is the division of Harvey Nash Group that delivers technology solutions globally. At NashTech we deliver extended enterprise solutions for software development, testing and BPO. Over the last 20 years we’ve grown and developed world-class twin delivery centres based out of Vietnam, and, just as many across the globe are doing, we are also implementing WFH as part of our BCP plan.

No downturn in productivity after implementing WFH

On an internal call last week, our Global Delivery Director proudly (and rightly so given the scale of the task) confirmed that across the board, we’ve so far seen no downside in productivity after implementing a WFH scenario, and in some cases, we’ve actually seen some upside. We’ve mobilised our people with laptops, dual screens, fast internet and correct security protocols etc. Years of experience delivering projects using agile delivery tools and techniques have enabled team members to work effectively in distributed Agile squads.

Of course, there has also been a huge focus on information and data security. What was most comforting to hear is how focused our leadership team are on the engagement and well-being of each team member as they WFH. This is a top priority – and rightly so. We’ve always had a people-first focus and this has been of incredible benefit during this disruptive time.

Good culture is key to a successful shift to working from home (WFH)

As an aside, (and not taking anything away from the BCP planning and execution) I can’t help but feel that a large factor to the successful shift to WFH (nearly 2000 “Nashers” across Hanoi and Hoi Chi Minh) has been down to the Vietnamese culture which is impossible to bring to life in words! But I’ll have a stab…..loyal, caring, ambitious, tenacious, honest and proud are just a few words I’d use.

Over the last 12 years I’ve taken many CIO’s out to see our technology development centres in Vietnam first hand and I know those who have joined me will understand where I’m coming from when describing their unique and special culture.

What are we seeing in the market?

For sure we’re seeing some clients (just as the Mckinsey article refers to) needing to cut back on investment, however, we are also seeing positive investment decisions, a good example being a household name DIY product manufacturer building a direct B2C channel. It’s a mixed bag. Importantly, we are maintaining a bench of talent enabling us to spin up Agile teams quickly.

Onboarding clients remotely

Necessity has required us to evolve in order to overcome the challenge of onboarding new clients and projects without the traditional period of co-location for knowledge transfer. We’ve onboarded clients remotely in the past and again, this past experience is really helping at the moment.

We achieve successful onboarding via some clever use of collaboration tools, combined with some switched-on local onshore Engagement Managers (hugely experienced software development PM’s with war scars and experience in Agile Offshore development) who’ve created detailed planning schedules and can help coach clients through the transition. So far so good.

We are very likely to see a new and more efficient way of working beyond COVID-19 as a result.

I live by my values

In my role at Harvey Nash Group, one of my key focuses is introducing Harvey Nash clients to our Offshore Technology Development Centres in Vietnam. I’m responsible for many NashTech clients, and what’s been important to me, personally, is that I’m part of an organisation that enables me to live my values, and work in a true partnership approach.

That partnership approach could be about scaling up quickly or working with clients who need to scale back. In some cases, I have clients who’ve needed to scale back yet still find a way to deliver on some pretty business-critical systems and tech.

Together we have found a way forward.”

E: steve.rake@nashtechglobal.com
M: +44 (0)79 66 33 52 57

Steve has a 20-year career history across Harvey Nash Group, much of which operating as the Regional Director across the Group’s northern UK recruitment offices. Today he operates in a group role, a key member of the NashTech UK sales team in tandem to supporting the UK recruitment business.

Steve’s background provides a unique perspective on the key challenges and opportunities faced by CIO’s and a focus on delivering value-enhancing technology solutions through our NashTech Portfolio of Services.  In his spare time, Steve is Co-Chair for Byte Night, a division of Action for Children.

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