Jaco van der Merwe, CEO, DVT
Dear Clients and Partners,
Greetings and my very best wishes to you for 2024. This year, just as last, seems to be on fast-forward. That fast pace along with the complexity and challenges of 2023 will no doubt make this a year requiring continued ingenuity, resilience and fresh perspectives. In this, our first communication of the year, I would like to share with you a few of the insights gained from last year and the work we see delivering value in 2024.
The Trends That Matter
At DVT, we have found that AI, as-a-service platforms and workforce are key factors prevalent in the impactful themes of the last year. Those themes may be summarised as:
- Business Value comes first: Economic constraints tie IT requirements to business imperatives (more than ever before)
- Innovation: high expectations from business based on perceptions of new technologies such as generative AI
- Scarce Skills: The war for talent on an international basis
- Returning to the office: The (once again) changing model for work
Given the global markets (UK, Middle East, Europe and Africa), diverse sectors and size of organisations with whom DVT work, we are able to share some of the prioritised strategies and actions we have seen making a material difference to businesses:
Business Value First
IT functions are re-examining the expected sources and actual ROI from core initiatives. The objective is to capture savings or income generation that were motivators for the investment but have not been fully realised. A few specific areas for this review have delivered material results:
Cloud adoption. Motivated to enable a scalable, secure, managed platform that would deliver infrastructure savings. This is really delivering value when paired with:
- review and modernisation of applications to ensure they are cloud ready / native
- review, optimisation and management of the cloud implementation itself. Often default settings and lack of fine tuning the setup is resulting in unnecessary cost
Technology Business case reviews at a technical implementation level to address:
- Investments in automation (RPA) projects may not be leveraging the licensing fully or have progressed to address the expected processes and consequently not delivering the expected ROI
- Applications with quality issues that are consuming critical resources in maintenance and repair activities
- Business process reviews and reengineering to identify and address cost inefficiencies in service and technology development functions.
Innovation and Moderating Expectations
IT functions are consistently challenged to “Innovate”. Comparisons are made to global technology firms and the constant stream of media coverage for AI. Practically, IT functions are needing to find efficient mechanisms to “prove” the applicability and business case value for new technologies. As a result:
"By 2026, generative AI will significantly alter 70% of the design and development effort for new web applications and mobile apps."
- Doing more with “the same” might just be the primary use case for Generative AI implementations. We are seeing practical and effective use cases in respect to customer service, application development, digital marketing and employee support. Generative AI though is right at the peak of inflated expectations and IT functions need to moderate and educate as to what is realistic versus commercial hype.
- The elusive self-funding business case projects that deliver against key metrics (such as online sales conversion ratios) AND check the innovation box, do exist! Implementations of specialised technology services such as Algolia’s Search-as-A-Service, can show demonstrable ROI while bringing AI into the business in a meaningful way.
- Adopting “smaller” technical POC’s to validate technology projects allows the IT function to:
- mitigate risk by identifying technical challenges and requirements ahead of a full implementation
- lower the cost of possible tech failures
- provide more accurate input to business cases before finalization of the required budget
Scarce Skills: Winning in The War for Talent
With 75% of employers globally struggling to fill roles, talent scarcity is a reality across industries. Talent acquisition and retention particularly in the IT sector, has become increasingly competitive in a global context.
As a result, more enterprises are looking further afield of their home countries and using various strategies:
"71% of millennial workers say the pandemic made them “rethink the place that work should have in their lives."
- leveraging skills in remote locations but with a preference for time-zone alignment, common shared language, economic viability, social and political stability
- recruiting remotely with intent to relocate the talent to the home country (a significant trend especially in the Benelux region)
- establishing their own development centres in remote locations in collaboration with skilled service providers in the region.
The Changing Model for Work
Work norms are once again shifting post-pandemic. Consequently, we at DVT along with our clients are focused on developing adaptable strategies that enable hybrid and in-office work models.
For DVT and others with a global footprint, we see this trend driving federated models of operation with local resourcing and associated business function services. A “close to source” operation has advantages in local cultural and language norms, agility and still the ability to leverage global resource pools for augmentation. The challenge though remains the availability of talent to meet demand in regions. A challenge that might best be met with a blend of direct engagement local resources, augmented with remote technical resourcing, and facilitated by co-ordination roles that bridge the gap between local and remote.
While the notes shared here might be helpful in suggesting certain tactics or activities for consideration, I fundamentally believe that a real enabler in this year will be the nature of partnerships established between organisations. The traditional client and service provider roles need to evolve to expect and rely on trusted relationships, shared goals and a constant drive to deliver value to all stakeholders. To this end I am committing DVT to enhancing our direct engagement with our partner customers through our complementary advisory services, ability to co-create shared models of operation, shared POC’s to drive innovation, implement custom services, engage locally and leverage global scale.
As we look ahead, our unwavering focus is on your success. We are dedicated to providing solutions that not only address current challenges but also unlock future opportunities. Your trust and our collaboration are the keystones of our shared journey. Together, let’s embrace the potential of 2024 and turn it into a year of achievement.
I'm looking forward to what we will accomplish together.
Jaco van der Merwe