The IT talent shortage is becoming a growing problem. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the industry demand for software developers will grow 22% between 2019 and 2029. This is significantly higher than the average demand growth rate of 4% for all other occupations. As the IT talent gap grows, companies across industries are looking to nearshore partners to help fill the void.

Unlike offshoring, nearshoring relies on partners geographically located in the Americas, as opposed to Europe or Asia, for example. It is a growing segment of the market. Case in point, Brazil’s software development services exports have grown 1000% in the last 10 years, gaining an increasing foothold in the United States for innovative software development and digital transformation initiatives.

There are several advantages to outsourcing your software development needs to a nearshore partner, including access to high-quality IT talent, lower costs, faster time-to-market and, most importantly, the productivity increase that comes with full-time collaboration. With a growing list of global providers in the market, how do you go about selecting the right partner? Here are three important factors to consider.

Time Zone Proximity

There are many benefits to being in close geographic proximity and in a similar time zone to your development partner. Being able to have regular iteration reviews during your regular business hours can make or break any project. Everyone is already taxed with a full day of video meetings during the pandemic – why make it more difficult? I’ve heard horror stories from corporate leaders trying to manage partners on the other side of the world with a 12-hour time difference. Time and distance challenges can be disruptive, lower productivity and hurt team building. The importance of real-time communication, feedback and collaboration cannot be underestimated during the software development process. We are all looking forward to getting back to face-to-face meetings, and being in closer geographic proximity will make travel easier once we can gather together again.

Cultural Alignment

Teams built on collaborative partnerships are the most successful. The first step to ensuring your teams can successfully tackle your software projects is to make certain the team knows what problems you are trying to solve. That can be more difficult than it seems when working with global partners. My own experience has taught me that different cultures have different work styles and can approach projects in different ways. The culture similarities between North and South America for example, make it easy to stay culturally aligned and approach projects in a more collaborative way. Creativity, innovation and collaboration need to be guiding principles, and your partners should be recognized for their technological capabilities, results and business acumen. Strong teams offer professional support and recommendations during the co-creation process, adding value across all deployment cycles. When projects require collaboration and coordination, cultural alignment becomes more important than ever.

Ability to Scale

Most companies start out outsourcing small projects to their partners to gain confidence and trust in the relationship. As that initial project comes to a close, companies often turn to their partners for larger, more complex projects only to find out their partner does not have the right resources to handle that next project.

As a result, they are forced to restart their search and onboard a new partner. You can avoid this altogether by ensuring your nearshore partner can successfully scale their teams and capabilities based on both your current and future needs. Doing your due diligence and verifying a partner’s track record and their ability to rapidly build teams can head off any growing pains. Can they double or triple the team’s size and hire a specific type of developer or engineer? If yes, where are these professionals coming from – in-house or via an outside agency? Does the team have exceptional qualifications and the right skills? How are your partner’s retention rates? It is important to understand how and where the resources will come from when you are ready to expand your relationship. You want companies that are built as nearshoring partners and who are able to scale as you scale.

Nearshore partnerships are not a one-size-fits-all relationship. To be successful, organizations need to ensure their teams can work cohesively together. The benefits of proximity and time zone overlap, as well as cultural alignment, can ensure the partnership adds value. Collaboration and teamwork will be easier with a team whose culture is similar to yours. Partners who can meet that criteria, and who can demonstrate a similar set of work values, can help you reach your software development and digital transformation goals.