Remote Tech Teams – A Better Way to Run Your Ecommerce Business
Posted on 18.02.2022 /
A 12 min. read
According to the report by Strategy Analytics, the Global Mobile Workforce is set to Increase to 1.87 Billion People by 2022, accounting for 42.5% of the Global Workforce. And, these numbers are just pre-pandemic! If anything, Covid-19 and its aftermath has only fast-tracked this process, making remote work a vision of the future. During the course of 2020, we’ve all moved from workstations to kitchen counters, and yet, the world didn’t come to a stop. We embraced new work models overnight and continued our collaboration through video and cloud technologies.
eCommerce: The dawn of a New Era
For eCommerce business especially, this has been a key turning phase. Little surprise then that, today, many successful online platforms, eCommerce or otherwise, have been poster examples of distributed organisations. Stark examples are:
- Nearly 50% of Shopify’s workforce is distributed
- The Software development platform, Github, has a nearly 60% remote workforce.
Simply put, the advantages that accrue to your business when you have remote techies are far too many to pass up. In fact, as an e-commerce business, if you haven’t considered having a strategic relationship with a remote development team, the time is now.
The simple riding principle is:
You have built a brand where customers are able to trust you and your delivery of high-quality products without the traditional face-to-face contact with the brand. It’s no different with remote tech teams.
6 Reasons a Remote Tech Team is a Win
From a management standpoint, hiring a remote tech team seems to put you at a decision-making crossroads. But, some of the biggest companies out there are growing and thriving with remote teams, and we have definitely entered an era of change.
1. Access to a Global Talent Pool
Online businesses are not competing just in small geographies, naturally, it’s only fair that your talent pool isn’t limited to the local area. It’s possible that your business is headquartered in a developed city/country. But, when you choose your team, you are already competing with large brands for talented hires. In fact, with astronomical salaries being a hallmark of tech hubs, even established e-commerce platforms are looking at remote tech partners as a solution. The big advantage with remote working is that you have access to quality talent from around the world. As an additional lure, a global talent pool also promotes diversity, which is increasingly being seen as an important innovation driver.
Choosing between remote hires & remote tech partners
We don’t mean to bypass the many challenges that accrue from hiring remote employees, in-house. Right from identifying people with the right competencies, the logistics and cost of hiring them to supervise their work and tracking performance, there are a whole lot of challenges. Add to this, aspects of assimilating them into the company culture and keeping their morale high can add to the human resource nightmare.
Areas where a remote partner outshines
Outlined above are the very areas that a remote partner, with proven experience in delivering tech solutions, frees you from. A successful eCommerce operation requires a wide range of competencies. In fact, evolving technologies demand skill sets that fall outside the scope and knowledge of limited eCommerce development teams.
Leveraging an array of emerging technologies such as Mobile, IoT, Social, and Cloud, the remote tech partner can offer agile development services tailored to meet your bespoke eCommerce development requirements. Besides there are various other complex and specialized requirements such as ensuring website security, mobile compatibility, payment gateway optimization, having a robust internal recommendation engine, ensuring conversion optimization, seamless third-party integrations and more. You also need strong competencies when it comes to data engineering and analytics that allow you to build custom performance reports, which in turn aid informed decision making. Hiring each of these competencies in-house can be a big drain on your time and resources.
With an engagement model with a remote tech partner, you aren’t just controlling costs but also ensuring that your business stays relevant to today’s digital consumers. All of this while leaving you with enough time to focus on your core business areas. Clearly what you are doing, therefore, is accelerating innovation!
2. Diverse Culture Can Bring Different Perspectives
When you recruit and retain a diverse pool of talent, it brings in a whole bunch of different benefits to the organization as well as its employees. A diverse group of employees accrue their varied experiences, mindsets, talents, and different skill sets to come up with innovative and creative solutions to specific problems. Also, the benefits of language diversity can be reaped in order to be a part of global business opportunities. So while building a remote eCommerce development team, keep in mind the benefits of having a diverse workforce.
3. Keeping costs in check
In today’s milieu, agile companies with flat hierarchies thrive, while traditional top-heavy giants are likely to come under pressure. Naturally, an advantage of a remote working structure is the reduced overhead costs. Not only are you reducing the need for large office spaces and sizable real estate costs, but also other operating expenses. While partnering with tech providers, you are also taking away the logistics and the cost involved in hiring specialized people on your payrolls. Not to mention the fact that, despite the many tech tools available, you still would need to provide adequate supervision to ensure tasks get done on time. Massive savings and the reduction of tedious tasks are bound to have a positive impact on your bottom line. And, isn’t that the basic point?
With a remote tech partner what you also have is the ability to level the playing field with other players who may have been in the business far longer or have a stronger financial muscle.
4. Protection against disruption
The recent pandemic has been proof that any unforeseen disruption can cause havoc to businesses, and how! With remote tech teams, you are that much less vulnerable to challenges, especially the ones that impact certain geography.
5. A Huge Competitive Advantage
Clearly, better talent at a lower cost with improved productivity is a great formula for improved competitive advantage and for your business to stand out. eCommerce businesses grow at an exponential pace, making the need for talent overwhelming. This is specially taken care of when you hire a remote tech partner, you never need to worry about scale, of course, you’ll need to give your partner agency a heads up!
6. Better Efficiency
By going beyond geographical boundaries to fulfil your tech requirements, you have access to a world-class team with the necessary experience and expertise to drive your business. When collaborating with tech partners, you also do not have to worry about the aspects of social isolation and lack of motivation that can come in the way of efficiency. Also, when you move away from the 9-5 working model, you realize that your team has a lot more to offer in terms of productivity. When you factor in the different time zones your remote tech team members would be working in, a 24 hours working model can benefit your company. A lot of techies are night owls and choose to work with fluid timelines. As long as you set expectations clearly and have the communication lines open, you are setting yourself up for success with your remote tech partner.
Remote Tech Team Management Tools
Efficiently managing remote teams has become the need of the hour. In this scenario, using the right websites, apps and productivity tools to effectively communicate and get work done is important.
Project Management tools:
Some useful project management tools are Instagantt, ProofHub, Pintask, Basecamp and Trello.
The productivity of your eCommerce development team is obviously a crucial part of the remote work culture. Todoist, Blink, Krisp and PukkaTeam are some tools that can help you with it.
Google Docs, Troop Messenger, GitHub, Jira and Slack are a few of the tools that’ll come in handy while managing a remote team.
Cloud Storage tools:
The most popular cloud storage platform out there is Google Drive. Another efficient platform for storage is Dropbox.
Tips For Managing Remote Tech Teams
If done right, managing remote teams can be a piece of the cake! Here are a few pointers you need to remember to manage your team efficiently:
- Communication is the key. Right from setting clear project goals and objectives to evaluating progress and appreciating individual contributors, being in contact with your team members is crucial for a remote team.
- Incorporating a flexible work culture goes a long way in showing that you believe in your employees and their work methodologies.
- Using team management tools to share data and resources relevant to the project benefit everyone, from you to your team members to ultimately, the organization.
- Since the pandemic, many people have already adapted to the remote work culture. But there are a few out there that are still struggling with the concept. Don’t forget to give extra attention to these new-to-remote employees as they might need your help.
- A remote work setup might not be for everyone. Some employees might feel isolated and depressed, some might be going through tough times. Being understanding and showing empathy is always the right thing to do, no matter what the situation.
Our two cents is that, in addition to remote techies, a distributed operations team could go that much forward in ensuring a cohesive brand experience for your customers. With the business growing, odds are that this is something that a single operations office working the traditional 9 to 5 hours will not be able to sustain. Examples of product catalogues, which require publishing of hundreds and thousands of SKUs or providing customer support around the clock, are only some of the examples where an eCommerce company can benefit from a distributed team.
A study by CB Insights has shown the lack of the right teams as being one of the top 3 reasons for start-ups failing. With the right collaboration tools, cloud-based systems, project management systems, and more, it’s about time to cut the cord to the physical office and welcome the innovation of a remote working structure. The future will, in fact, increasingly see the implementation of contract terms and strategic relationships with tech services to minimize the cash outflow of businesses. With teams of tech experts who are not tied down by the location criterion and who can be hired quickly, greater efficiency and cost savings are a given!