Much like a rollercoaster, the Information Technology industry has experienced the twists and turns of tremendous growth and disruption in a relatively short period of time – with software development outsourcing in particular experiencing a turbulent growth trend over the past few years. According to Statista the global market size of IT outsourcing reached $85.6 billion in 2018, compared to a peak of $104 billion in 2014 and a decade low of $76.9 billion in 2016.
Major driving forces for the increase in demand for outsourcing services comes from companies looking to lower costs, to increase their capacity and enable them to focus on their core and strategic objectives – particularly from companies in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
One outsourcing destination that continues to be a top choice for countries across the globe is South Africa, and in 2018 the Global Sourcing Association awarded South Africa with the ‘Global Destination of the Year’ award. Among others, some of the reasons South Africa has become a preferred destination for outsourcing is the central time zone, common business language and the specialised technical skills available. Beyond this, South Africa is also ambitiously looking to play a leading role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
At the inaugural Fourth Industrial Revolution SA Digital Economy Summit in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “Given what we know today about the potential beneficial impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we must embrace this historic confluence of human insights and engagement, artificial intelligence and technology, to rise to the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.” To this effect, President Ramaphosa established a 30 Member Presidential Commission on the 4IR to deliver a plan on how South Africa will deal with 4IR and to determine key areas of development for the country.
The 4IR continues to usher in transformational change throughout society as technology blends with the physical and biological worlds – as seen through the technological advancements in artificial intelligence, automation, the internet of things and augmented reality amongst others. This, paired with governmental and policy support, bodes well for the growth prospects of software development outsourcing in South Africa. With South Africa’s large and diverse workforce pool, and the potential changes in the make-up of the workforce pool due to the 4IR, we have the opportunity to build specialised technical skills to cater for a greater range of outsourcing opportunities.
The continued rapid technological advancements in the 4IR will see the need for new technical skills continue to emerge. Technical skills such as computer programming will become more prevalent in our Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Educational institutions, leading to an increase in the technically skilled workforce pool that would ultimately service our growing outsourcing capability. These new technical skills will hopefully see growth in employment in industries where artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, 3D printing and manufacturing are being implemented.
As Saratoga partners with global organisations across a range of industries, we’re already seeing some of our clients incorporate these new technologies into their organisations to create real benefits for both the organisation and their customers. Among Saratoga’s clients in financial services, logistics management, media, retail and health services – technologies such as Blockchain, chatbots, automation and facial recognition are being explored and incorporated into the organisations we work with.
In order to make these kinds of technical advancements a reality, applications need to be developed by skilled technology professionals. Organisations looking to realise the true value of these new technologies need a trusted, strategic technology partner. With over two decades of experience in delivering innovative and sustainable technology solutions, our global clients have found Saratoga to be the solution delivery and outsource partner their organisation needed to lead them through key technology and business changes.
“Working with clients that are utilising and embracing the next generation of technologies to keep their organisations ahead of the game provides Saratoga with a win-win situation. While enabling our clients to realise the value of these technologies by creating and delivering creative technology solutions, our consultants also have the opportunity to learn and work with innovative technologies in order to continually build on their knowledge and skills”, Shabier Cassim, Head of Development Outsource at Saratoga.
As technologies advance and develop, so the skill sets and knowledge of technology professionals and developers need to continually evolve. At Saratoga we pride ourselves in providing the necessary mentorship and training to our staff to ensure their skills’ growth enables them to lead and advise our clients’ organisation through the changing technology landscape. To augment our technology skills base we also have access to premier graduates from leading universities situated in South Africa who are well positioned to provide the technology skills needed for the 4IR.
“At Saratoga, we aim to create the best possible home for technology consultants to form and grow their careers. We achieve this by providing support frameworks, a collaborative, learning-focused environment and appropriate leadership and mentorship from experienced professionals. In doing this, we will continue to create a pool of exceptional individuals, supported by industry best practice and flexible delivery models. This allows us to offer innovative, delivery-focused teams that provide stand-out solutions on time and at a competitive price-point. These capabilities will continue to position Saratoga as a solution delivery and outsourcing partner of choice”, Mark Gebhardt CEO of Saratoga.
From the benefits South Africa provides as a leading outsource destination, to our partnerships with our global client base, and our skilled technology professionals who continually work to improve and advance their skillset – Saratoga is positioned as the ideal software development outsourcing partner to help global organisations navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.