Industry Update
Opinion Article19 March 2020

Why Distributed Teams Make More Sense Now Than Ever

Travel and Hospitality brands turn to technology to improve business continuity strategies and resilience to disruptions

By Greg Abbott, SVP, Travel & Hospitality at DataArt

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The rate of change and the standard way of doing things, whether that's conducting business, taking care of our families, or simply getting around our cities, is being turned upside down. As the coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to spread around the world, the economic symptoms are emerging. Business continuity management is well underway at most organizations. Hospitality and travel are among the most impacted and face a unique set of challenges. For most hotel and travel organizations, there would be no resumption of normal business operations or successful recovery at all if IT operations stopped.

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In such a dynamic situation, organizations should take proactive steps now to maintain as much operational endurance as possible and make sure people have the systems they need to stay productive. In some cases, organizations may need to quickly acquire or scale their technology capabilities to respond to increased digital and emerging demands. From collaboration and communication tools to critical IT development, support, and service delivery, technology will play a critical role in delivering positive outcomes.

It is times like these that take the role of software developers and IT service delivery within organizations from being in the background to the front lines - from new initiatives to investigating and resolving service outages and fixing critical software bugs. Software development and IT management have changed in recent years as hotel and travel organizations move to more agile ways of working, increasingly looking to improve their resilience to disruptions - from economic and natural disasters to terrorism and now pandemics. Outsourcing IT and systems development ensures the quality and continuity regardless of the situation, with geographic dispersion recognized as one of the most effective risk mitigation strategies.

Despite the number of severe disruptions to the travel industry over the last couple of decades, many hospitality and travel organizations have little in the way of solid emergency planning, disaster recovery, and business continuity best practices in place. Those companies that do have effective processes and strategies set up, almost always use qualified experts to help design, implement, and manage those strategies.

When it comes to technology, there are some fundamental approaches like backing-up data and hardware redundancy that are standard operating procedures for most. In terms of local hardware and data, hotel and travel organizations should be taking advantage of cloud computing systems. However, in the case of IT support, primary and local staffing presents a challenge, as those nearby are most likely affected by the same situations impacting the rest of the organization.

For hospitality and travel brands, IT operations, software development services, and IT support have been outsourced to highly qualified global technology consultancy firms. Application development and maintenance are the most frequently outsourced functions. Functions with the greatest potential for improving service through outsourcing are IT security, disaster recovery, application maintenance, and database administration. IT solutions have become increasingly complex, and as a result, developers are becoming more and more specialized. Making and maintaining the right skills to meet these demands can be a challenge. In addition to access to specialized skills, outsourcing IT on average saves companies 10%-30%.

With a nearshore partner developing and supporting critical business systems, risk is mitigated, costs are reduced, and recovery is rapid. The key is to select a partner with relevant domain experience, and that is geographically compatible when it comes to communication, culture, and alignment. Nearshore outsourcing refers to getting work done in neighboring countries with similar time zones. The benefits of nearshore outsourcing include highly skilled talent with familiarity with local laws and regulations, language proficiency, travel proximity, and cultural affinity.

Hospitality and travel businesses can be put at risk by such things as extreme weather, geopolitical changes, and technological failures. While much can be done to minimize exposure to such things, they are ultimately inevitable. Though there is no way anyone can stop a disaster or a pandemic, having a trusted nearshore IT partner with a proven record of success will reduce the impact of any unwelcome situation.

And when it comes to uncertain times like these, that kind of peace of mind is priceless.

To give back in this turbulent time, DataArt is offering advice and support to any organization struggling with a sudden shift to remote work or other areas that have been impacted. At no cost, we are happy to share our know-how and offer access to our experts on communication and computing infrastructure, software development processes, team management, and other elements of massive-scale distributed team operation.

We invite organizations to come to us and share issues, and we will quickly assemble a team to advise. For more information, please visit dataart.com/coronavirus-update

Greg Abbott

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    About DataArt:

    DataArt is a global technology consultancy that designs, develops and supports unique software solutions, helping clients take their businesses forward. Recognized for their deep domain expertise and superior technical talent, DataArt teams create new products and modernize complex legacy systems that affect technology transformation in select industries.

    DataArt has earned the trust of some of the world's leading brands and most discerning clients, including Nasdaq, S&P, United Technologies, oneworld Alliance, Ocado, artnet, Betfair, and skyscanner. Organized as a global network of technology services firms. DataArt brings together expertise of over 2,200 professionals in 20 locations in the US, Europe, and Latin America.

    www.dataart.com
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