Guest posts / Remote work / Workplace culture

A new business model for the digital economy

Reston, Virginia-based Modus Create cofounder Patrick Sheridan shares three future-of-work trends to watch.

The digital age. (Photo by Pixabay user StartupStockPhotos, used under a Creative Commons license)
This is a guest post by Modus Create cofounder and managing partner Patrick Sheridan.

As businesses across the region scramble to respond to COVID-19 concerns and support employees working from home, Reston, Virginia-based Modus Create enters its ninth year as a remote-first company. The digital product consulting firm has been on a growth tear for the last five years rethinking the modern consulting company and the nature of employment itself.

From the very beginning, Modus Create had a distributed global team with consultants in Mexico, Croatia, Romania, the U.K., Germany and Ukraine. Clients long frustrated with traditional offshore or outsourced consulting teams were drawn to these remote, high-powered teams of emerging technology experts who could drop into their existing product teams, work in real time while time zone aligned, and drive outcomes with dev training, product planning workshops and integrated product engineering.

From new business model to global movement

By 2015, the term “future of work” began to dominate the tech press, describing a new reality in which a distributed, remote, work-from-home workforce contributes at the highest level with the benefit of online collaboration and communications tools. With unemployment at historic lows, a new war for tech talent had begun in most major cities in the U.S. Many firms were struggling with years of accrued legacy technical debt and outmoded approaches to scaling new technology efforts.

As the pace of new technology introductions continues to increase, firms are faced with several challenges: retaining and upskilling existing staff, recruiting new employees, launching new products, and improving existing products in faster and shorter cycles to fend off a growing number of new entrants. As a result, they are increasingly looking for new alternatives to traditional partners to accelerate growth, build new capabilities, and create competitive advantage.

Modus Create has had marked success in being that partner for post-Series A scaling startups, mid-market firms, as well as the Global 2000. By 2019, Modus was recognized as an Inc. 5000 company for the fifth consecutive year, a rare accomplishment for a bootstrapped company. Modus’ global team is based on the new reality of talent sourcing: that a global, distributed workforce can provide more value throughout than a traditional consulting company.

Predictions for the future

As a disruptive, remote-first organization, Modus has a unique perspective on the changing digital landscape. Here are some of our key trends to watch:

Increasing acceptance of “future of work” concepts. Global access to bandwidth, the internet’s role in democratizing education for those who want to learn, and changing applicant tastes have changed the talent market. Companies can gain significant benefit by shifting their mindset away from a co-located, highly regional approach to talent acquisition and retention. There are myriad tools (and experts like those at Modus) to help facilitate the shift to a more productive, distributed team model — one that also opens companies up to the larger global market for top talent.

Technology reinforcing changing business models. We have already seen the COVID-19 outbreak spur some related changes. For instance, restaurants are quickly realizing that they need technology to bridge the gap with hungry customers to sell food in a curb-side pickup model now that they can’t welcome guests into a dining room. This has only further supercharged the overall trend towards technology-centric business models of the future. In a rapidly changing world, companies must think technology first to succeed.

New models for financing innovation. The ever-increasing pace of change means that businesses must act quickly to succeed in the digital world. Look for market leaders to adopt the principles of portfolio management theory to quickly vet and test ideas, then finance and scale the most successful initiatives. Modus has helped a number of companies set up internal innovation labs; including seed funding, stage-gated progressive investments, and, of course, measurement.

Built for growth

Since the introduction of the smartphone in 2007, businesses have had to factor in new strategies for entering and mastering new channels for customer engagement and retention at an increasing pace. With 5G mobile networks around the corner, and the prospect of an always connected world of voice-enabled IoT devices in every home, car, and business, there will be increasing pressure on firms to manage and grow an ever increasing portfolio of technology products. Businesses need to consider and adapt their model in the wave of disruption caused by the launch of those channels. Additionally, the concept of the “future of work” is based on the disruption to the global workforce caused by digital technology.

The very nature of employment has shifted: from a career-long commitment to more of a platform for shared success between employer and employee. Now, more than ever, companies need partners oriented toward success in the new reality of the digital economy.

Series: How to Work Remotely

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