Driven by the convergence of tech giants, digital natives, and professional services corporations, digital engineering services companies have an essential role to play in helping businesses attain their digital goals. The digital engineering market is moving fast, as you would expect from a sector currently experiencing 18 percent CAGR. Estimated to be worth $687 billion by 2023, digital engineering is a major investment area for many different types of business, a sector where tech innovation meets new business models within a vibrant digital ecosystem. Technology firms are vying with professional services giants alongside product design and engineering companies to deliver services associated with the applications of digital technologies. As a business setting out to identify the right DES partner for them, it can be confusing knowing where to start.

Here we cover the four S’s to look for when evaluating the digital engineering partner that can deliver the most impact: skills, security, specialism, and the stage you are at.

In-demand skills for high-impact outcomes

The digital has been a significant disruptor that hardly needs to be stated. It has resulted in the blurring of boundaries between traditionally separate sectors. Precisely because digital disruption can be felt across all industries, digital engineering covers a very broad set of use cases. For a company embarking on an IoT roll-out, for instance, digital engineering requires skills that sit at the intersection of digital development and hardware design. Digital transformation takes many other forms too, and the digital challenges we encounter at Infostretch are as diverse as the companies they stem from. When selecting a digital engineering services partner, understanding the skills that will have the biggest impact on your digital transformation is one of the most useful exercises you can undertake in the early stages. AI experts, data scientists, cloud developers, UX designers (the list goes on) are all hot-button skillsets in digital engineering, and your DES partner should be able to deliver valuable intelligence based on both technology and business KPIs. Establish what you’ll really need and search for a partner who will measure up in these areas.

Security as code

It is tempting to group security as a core skill alongside the others mentioned above because, of course, it is, but when it comes to digital, security needs to become a way of life. Legislation like GDPR, in combination with the sadly regular stream of data breaches businesses face, has meant that security and privacy are C-suite concerns. However, businesses still tend to remain in a reactive mindset. That is changing. DevSecOps, that is, baking security precautions into code as part of the development process, is gaining ground. We’ve called it out as a major DevOps trend for the year ahead, and any prospective partner should be able to demonstrate how they deliver good security practices. When evaluating a new digital engineering partner, look for one who evidences security as part of its team culture and way of working.

Scrutinize specialisms, celebrate the collaboration

When it comes to supplying digital services, the skills and technologies are so vast and varied, no single business that I know of can do it all. As when selecting any service, it is important to expect to see evidence backing up claims of expertise. However, in a world where timelines are accelerated, the scope is often global, and projects are all-encompassing, digital engineering services firms need to be realistic about what they can do, and create strategic alliances when they can’t. A willingness to partner with others is a good thing. If anything, it suggests the company is being honest and has spent time nurturing strong connections within their ecosystem.

What stage are you at?

When tech innovation is moving fast, and strategic goals are sky-high, where a business is on its digital journey is highly relevant. Put simply, a digital native start-up that is in the process of blitz-scaling will require different digital engineering support from an established enterprise needing to reconcile its legacy architecture with its digital ambitions. That is why Infostretch, for instance, maps out its clients’ business case onto tried and tested frameworks that are tailored to clients’ specific challenges and where they are on their digital journey.

Working at Infostretch, we see a great breadth and variety of digital challenges. It is a work environment that is exciting, stimulating, and humbling – sometimes, all at once. There is one common factor that all our client engagements share, and that is our unwavering customer obsession. Whichever digital engineering services partner you choose; ultimately, they should share your business’s goals and demonstrate a proven track record in delivering successful digital outcomes for customers.