Three ways to extend your runway and free up your best R&D talent

4 minute read
Updated On | May 13, 2024 7:46:11 AM
Publish On | Mar 21, 2023 10:19:09 AM

Tech firms are having to battle economic turbulence, the high cost of hiring top talent, funding limitations and a range of other headwinds.

This means that companies that want to accelerate their growth and maintain financial viability are having to find new ways to innovate. That way, they can increase the length of their runway without any risk of compromising delivery scope or quality. In this blog, we’ll explore three ways that enterprises like yours can do just that.

Uncover AI enablement

It’s very tempting at the moment to hand as much work as possible to ChatGPT. But while there’s plenty of fun to be had with the hottest AI app of 2023, there is a serious point worth exploring here: AI in more general terms can rapidly speed up delivery, efficiency, productivity and product development. There are three areas that we’ve explored at Ciklum which are proving especially fruitful at the moment:

  • Code generation: We’ve used tools like GitHub Co-Pilot and Replit Ghostwriter to take the productivity of our developers to the next level, driving gains of between 10-20% depending on the tool

  • Security and infrastructure: AWS CodeGuru and DevOpsGuru are automatically spotting bugs and security issues for us, and identifying potential problems with infrastructure. These tools also have reporting functions that share best practice, which is helping our junior developers gain vital knowledge and reduce the need for our senior devs to mentor them

  • Design and copy: We’ve been using GPT models to automate repetitive admin tasks, such as labelling layers or organising design hierarchies, so that our designers can focus more on customer experience. We’ve also been using them to generate copywriting for some of our applications and landing pages, demonstrating that GPT can be powerful when tweaked for very specific use cases

Adoption of AI in this area is progressing at pace, and it won’t be long until dev talent expects to be able to use AI tooling within the job roles. However, you should look out for licensing and attribution issues in some tools, as well as the security risk if the model owner retains your code for training purposes (get in touch with us if you need advice in this area!).

Outsource non-core work

High-tech businesses need fast product roadmaps, but top engineering talent can easily get bogged down in other work, whether it’s integrations and customisations, or adding simple features or reporting functions. This is a waste of precious resources, and exactly the kind of non-core work that should be outsourced to a pre-built specialist team from a technology service provider.

By letting them pick up the backlog of lower-priority work, you can easily and quickly scale up new teams when you need them, deliver the set scope of work required, and then scale them down. It’s a flexible, cost effective and low-commitment approach that maximises the value of the work that your most talented product team members can do.


Research, prototyping and testing

Budget challenges mean that developing and testing a new product idea has to be as efficient as possible, and not be a distraction to development teams that are already busy. Because of this, we recommend this three-step approach for the most cost-effective and practical way forward:

  • User research: Understand customer needs, preferences and behaviours early, so that you can quickly dismiss ideas that won’t resonate with your target market

  • Prototype and test: With the ideas you have left, you can create high-quality prototypes that can be tested in the real world - that way you can see if it meets customer needs and measure their willingness to pay for it

  • Build and analyse: If the idea is validated by the above, then the development team is clear to build and launch the product. User analytics can then be deployed to improve the product further and explore new opportunities based on customer demand, thus restarting the cycle

In summary

If you feel you need help, advice or technical support in achieving any of the above, then that’s exactly what we at Ciklum are here for. We provide custom engineering and global R&D solutions to any business that wants to scale up, with multidisciplinary product engineering teams that can take over non-core work and give you valuable insights and expertise. 

So if you want to extend your runway, maximise cost-efficiency and leverage your best talent more effectively, we’re the partner for you. Take a closer look at what we do and how we do it here.


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