If you’ve worked in IT or any other industry, you’ll know how important is to have our own Research and Development team, whether it’s on-site or remote Research and Development crew. Without it, you’d be limited to growing someone else’s products with your services, using your knowledge and skills. And while there isn’t anything particularly bad about this model, investing in the remote Research and Development will give the ultimate competitive advantage that’s crucial for evolving as a company.
What is Research and Development?
Just as a reminder: Research and Development is a broad term that describes any activity related to the process of obtaining expertise and competences necessary for creating a new technology, product, system or service.
It may not be obvious but these activities are crucial for company of any size across all sectors. It is how any innovation and invention happens these days and it is the very step of the development process.
What’s important, for this step to be successful, it has to be scientifically organised, reviewed and managed.
Not everyone is aware of this fact, so it’s important to reiterate it as often as possible: building an R&D department is a complex task. There are certain technology challenges that you need to overcome: hardware, embedded software, backend development, AI, Big Data and product design. Hiring a team of well-versed experts with a vast experience in a domain your company operates in may sound like an easiest of these tasks, but it’s costly and time-consuming.
This is where the idea of running an outsourced and remote Research and development team comes in.
What is remote Research and Development?
Remote Research and Development allows you to build a team of specialists anywhere in the world, preferably with an outsourcing company, so you wouldn’t have to recruit them entirely on your own. If you don’t have a R&D team just yet and you’re building one from scratch, having a business partner also means that you’re likely to be working with someone who’s far more experienced in this area.
It will be perfect for any application, manufacturing and embedded products/services.
Remote Research and Development has become significantly more popular in the pandemic with all online communication tools and processes being easily accessible and available to virtually anyone in the world. The increasing digitalisation of previously unexplored sectors such as heavy industry also makes the whole production process more visible and easier to track.
What are the benefits of remote Research and Development?
Firstly, you don’t have to recruit an onsite Research and Development team. At Spyrosoft, we can organise it in a location where it’s more cost-effective to hire new people and where there’s a larger pool of specialists available.
Working with a business partner also can mean that they have an extensive experience collaborating with companies from different sectors, at different stages of growth. Their portfolio may also be broader than the services they supply to you. At Spyrosoft, we employ experts in various technologies who have been involved in projects from a variety of industries before. This means that if you’d like to switch to manufacturing or focus on another sector, we’re ready to help.
Once you outsource your R&D tasks, your provider will be responsible for the quality of the services. You can focus on the core of your business and the issues that need to be addressed within your market.
What are the challenges of R&D and how does remote Research and Development address these?
A limited pool of specialists to hire
I’ve mentioned this one before and as you may know, it can be solved quite easily by adapting the remote collaboration model. This will be especially important if you don’t have resources and access to a vast pool of researchers in your region or country, but you need to deliver certain products or services on time. Working with an external near/offshore team of R&D staff can help you keep the deadline or quickly expand your team whenever it’s necessary.
A lack of sync between delivery and R&D
I’ll address it one more time below – this is one of the major issues faced by R&D departments. How can it be resolved? Make sure that your delivery and R&D teams are always aligned and that they’re involved in all company and product roadmaps. They should work as closely as possible, with some of the areas overlapping rather than working in parallel or even worse, forging forward in two different directions.
Limited market demand
While it’s not obvious at first glance, limited market demand may also be a consequence of a lack of communication between a delivery centre and a Research and Development team. The communication between these two departments should be also tied in with the business and strategy goals for the company. While direct insights from customers can’t be the only source of R&D decisions, these should be included in the overall direction of this department.
As pessimistic as it sounds, for many companies, research and development isn’t essential. They do not efficiently fund their R&D departments. The prevailing reason for that is the fact that the aim for most R&D projects is to be monetised in 5 – 10 years.
One of the ways to prevent that is increasing the visibility of the R&D team and showing how the projects completed by this team will bring revenue in 2 – 3 years.
When should you consider offshoring/nearshoring your R&D?
So, what are the main indications that you should look for an offshore/nearshore Research and Development team to support your company?
- The scope of the research projects you want to work on is outside of your company’s main operational area.
- Your company is lacking the processes necessary for completing the project.
- You already have a product, but you’re lacking the resources to put it through the digital transformation process.
- If your R&D and software development teams have a slow-moving release cycle, and you need to speed up your efforts in order to deliver new features, products and services to your customers.
I’ve described some of the most obvious examples of a situation when you may consider offshoring your R&D team above, but I’ll restate it: if your company is lacking the skills, time and resources to tackle research and development tasks and you don’t want to build a new team from scratch, then this may be a good option for you.
This is one example. Another is a situation where you already have some kind of delivery centre set up abroad. More likely than not, it will benefit from having a Research and Development facility located nearby.
How does Spyrosoft approach remote R&D?
We’ve been working on several collaborations for a few years now, so we already have a set of practical tools and practices available for immediate use. This set includes things such as a framework for requesting and processing tasks, a module for cost estimation, a time tracker, a business analysis scheme, all taking industry standards such as Functional Safety, ASPICE, ISO and SIL into consideration.
We’re also ready to become a supplier of maintenance and version control services as well as manage a software product.
One of the recent remote Research and Development project we have been working on is related to developing an autonomous car. Our client is working on a full-independent vehicle that will be able to move around using lidars and other sensors. With our help, they can now move towards introducing an innovative product onto the market, equipped with the latest technologies and the features where each of them is an invention on its own. One of these features is a HD maps processing tool that can collect and use data from a sensor set placed on a car.
About the author
Meet Spyrosoft People: an interview with Denisa Andriescu, People Partner in Spyrosoft Romania