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January 23, 2024

From Copilots to Accelerators - AI is Spurring Outsourcing Firms to Reimagine Software Development

We’ve heard a lot in recent years about the tech talent shortage and how it can lead to delays in software projects and force businesses to pay top dollar to secure skilled engineers.

If there’s a release valve for the problem, it could come in the form of generative AI (GenAI) and the way it is automating aspects of software development. In the vanguard of this transformation are tools like Github Copilot, AWS CodeWhisperer, and Amazon Q, which are now integral to the arsenal of product development teams. 

These tools have transcended mere utilities. They function as personalized assistants that understand the context and adeptly handle mundane and repetitive coding tasks. They expedite the coding process and empower developers to navigate and leverage optimal resources for task completion swiftly.

Product development teams now have dynamic assistants that streamline the software development lifecycle. From ideation to execution, GenAI is offering a potent remedy to the challenges posed by talent shortages and its not confined to software development alone.


In part 1 of this series, Roopa looked at the disruptive potential of generative AI and the need for organizations in any industry to examine how use of AI can align with their business strategy.


Democratizing Tools of the Trade

When I was a junior software developer, it required a continuous process of educating and upskilling myself to stay current with the latest technologies, coding languages and methodologies. It can take years to gain enough knowledge and experience to progress to senior developer status.

GenAI won’t magically fast-track the process, but the way it is democratizing the tools of the trade and access to information and skills in the software industry. Those who find themselves in software development, whether they have a computer science degree or have mainly on the job training, are often systems thinkers. They take a holistic approach to analyzing systems, interested in how everything works together. 

People with this mindset are more important than ever as GenAI disrupts software development. They can see the big picture while executing on the shorter cycles. If you can hire these people, they will be useful to you, no matter how much the roles and processes within software development change.

For software development companies around the world, a well thought out process of change management is required to embrace AI. It involves cross-skilling, upskilling, defining roles and responsibilities, adjusting agile and lean methodologies, and redefining the operating model. Those development firms that embrace AI to allow new ways of working will have a competitive edge.

They will free up engineers’ time to pay attention to areas of software development that are too often overlooked, such as cybersecurity, compliance, reliability and performance, which have always been hard to get business leaders to invest in sufficiently. The time that AI gives back to developers will allow them to spend more time thinking about what’s needed to keep the customer’s platforms, applications, networks and data safe.

There will be more time to invest in research and development, as well as in nurturing development teams to get the best from them. For the same cost, good software development firms will get more done. 

The smart ones have already developed AI accelerators streamlining the processes and increasing speed to market for clients wanting to build AI into their product offerings. A recent survey of Accelerance’s outsourcing partners around the world found that virtually all of them are developing GenAI offerings and training their teams in AI toolsets. 

That’s crucial, because AI is accelerating the software development lifecycle. It is allowing faster development projects, and more rapid version releases and high quality upgrades. That has numerous benefits. But in the world of AI it also has the potential for things to go wrong if the right governance and policies aren’t in place. 


Ethical AI to the Fore

Software development firms need to work closely with their clients to validate the quality of results from LLMs (large language models), using review committees and advisory boards to ensure ethical AI is practiced. 

The daily stand up meeting of a development team will begin to look different when AI is infused into a growing range of platforms and applications.

As long as these firms hire systems thinkers, and design thinkers, and focus on a culture of being customer centric, use of AI will only boost the value of their work and the rates they are able to charge for their services. 

In 2024, development firms that draw on AI in their processes will have more of an opportunity to come up with ideas that the customer has not thought of. The time freed up by automating processes will result in more impact being delivered to the customer. That’s the opportunity that now presents itself to the software development industry. The firms that make best use of AI internally, and in their customers’ offerings, will reap the rewards in the years to come.


Roopa Sudheendra is a Chicago-based executive technology leader, with decades of experience in building digital innovation and enablement functions at leading US organizations. She has worked closely with Accelerance and its software outsourcing partners.



Roopa Sudheendra

Roopa Sudheendra is a seasoned CTO skilled in navigating the complexities of modern business. Expert in crafting visionary technology strategies and roadmaps that drive innovation, modernization, and growth.

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