Globalization is driving competitiveness in the business space at an unprecedented pace, pushing companies to constantly look for lean ways of improving their business and a clever place to start is resource allocation. When planning a new project, the first task is to evaluate its scope and allocate your talent and finances accordingly. This might sound straightforward, but it´s actually a treasure chest of overlooked opportunities for business optimization and company growth.
Contracting out or outsourcing is a very well rooted practice not only in our professional lives but also in our daily routines. We take coffee-stained suits to the dry cleaners, call plumbers to fix our leaky pipes and even pay people to oversee our children when we´re away. Outsourcing in business should be no exception, as it allows companies to distribute assets more efficiently, complement their core competencies and broaden their product portfolio, while possibly saving resources along the way.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about outsourcing software development will likely be offshoring to third-world countries. But custom software outsourcing isn´t just a resource-saving manoeuvre, it can bring your business to the next level if carried out appropriately. Today, in the ever-so-saturated world of apps and software, providing excellent user experience is the key to success. This article will tell you just how outsourcing software development can revolutionize your business.
1) Get Your Products to the Market Faster
Infographic: Software development life cycle
How many times have you said or heard those piercing words: »This should have been done yesterday«. Often? You´re not alone. Today´s dynamic and competitiveness within industries keeps companies constantly on the edge. Overtaking competitors with market entry can make or break a business and timing is key.
Software development is a lengthy process that requires attentive care at all steps. There´s no way around it, no matter how good your internal programmers are. It almost always presents a bottleneck for sales and marketing departments trying to get new products to the market. In turn, the pressure is put on the coders, preventing them from doing their work well – and so the circle starts spinning.
At such times, receiving an extra pair of quick-acting programming hands can prove priceless. Luckily, there are many software development companies out there that put rapid collaborative effort, adaptive planning and early delivery above all else. Much like a coding ninja, they can jump in at any stage of the process and provide rapid support to your team or carry out a project from start to finish, allowing you to finally reach those utopian deadlines.
PRO TIP: Find an outsourcing partner that implements flexible development methodologies with strong project management expertise, preferably providing a single point of contact for each project. This will result in smooth communication between both companies.
2) Focus on Core Expertise
It happens way too often that companies neglect the very thing that brought them success – their core expertise. Be it revolutionary tech, a distinctive service or business model, there is always something unique that distinguishes a company from its competitors, also known as its differentiator. If coding is not exactly your cup of tea, choosing to do it in-house can quickly translate to consuming valuable time and money that would be better spent elsewhere.
That´s why successful companies, especially small to mid-sized, tend to outsource a big chunk of their software development. It not only allows them to allocate their assets to tasks that generate the highest value but also prevents them from wasting heaps of valuable resources on starting from scratch. Outsourcing allows companies to complement their employees’ existing talents for a significantly less than it would cost to train them.
Even if you have invested in your highly skilled IT engineers, managing too many projects simultaneously is not ideal and can result in late product release. If you decide to outsource new projects that are coming down the pipeline instead, you can speed up the time-to-market and gain an important competitive advantage.
With more time on their disposal, your engineers will be able to focus on your core competencies, enabling your company to grow and gain in value. Producing great, beautiful and user-focused software is a delicate craft by all standards and should be on the very top of the list of things you should consider outsourcing.
PRO TIP: Always strive to allocate your resources toward what your company is best at, that´s your money maker. Find reliable and competent long-term outsourcing partners who complement your existing expertise and can help you with the rest.
“Outsource partners can leverage their collective experience to help overcome otherwise difficult challenges. Because they often work with many companies on a variety of projects, outsource partners can quickly interject critical skills and expertise to any product or software development” – Roman Pavlyuk, Salesforce.
3) Bring in Domain Knowledge
Portfolio expansion is key to every sustainable business and plays a crucial role in a company´s longevity. As important as it is to maintain existing products and services, it is vital to keep your development pipeline stacked. Sooner rather than later, this will drive companies to enter new markets in order to leverage their core competencies for business growth and globalization. However, considerable planning and resources have to be invested before jumping into deep waters and attempting to satisfy a completely new set of customer expectations.
That´s where outsourcing software to a company within your target niche can come in very handy. In addition to coders, good software development contractors frequently employ in-house experts in a given niche to help them understand the market from a user´s perspective. Not only will their market-specific expertise eliminate your otherwise inevitable investment in research, it will, more importantly, result in software which is tailored to its end-users.
PRO TIP: Search for a competent company that operates within the market you are targeting and don´t limit yourself to the first couple of hits on google. Every minute spent here will be worth a fortune later on. Review their portfolio, contact existing clients and ask for their domain expert to be present at the meetings as well.
4) Cut Costs
It´s largely believed western companies decide to outsource their software to minimize expenses. While this is partly true, it doesn´t come without its own price tag. More often than not, you will hear CEOs complain about the decrease in their product quality when offshoring to third world countries due to poor motivation, know-how, and communication with their contractors. In short, you pay for what you get.
On the other hand, you can opt to go with an outsourcing partner closer to you, geographically and culturally. There are many economically strong European countries worth considering that provide top-notch services for a marginally lower cost than say the US or Western Europe. Why pay your programmers $150 per hour if you can get the same quality service for half the price? Not to mention you steer clear of costly upfront investments in infrastructure, development tools and licenses, enabling you to channel resources to much better use.
PRO TIP: The cheapest option is not necessarily the best one. Instead of pinning down the lowest price tag, rather go for the best cost-to-quality ratio. This will save you plenty of gray hair with project coordination and result in a product your customers will praise.
“I’ve found that when you work with a great developer, they not only adhere to standards to ensure quality, they focus on your overall objectives and intended results. Meaning the right team is more thoughtful in its approach versus quickly slapping code together” – Steve Mezak, Forbes
5) Meet Customer Expectations
People often cringe when they hear the words »outsourcing« and »quality« in the same sentence. But truth be told, the quality of your software will depend solely on the provider you hire and can benefit you immensely if chosen wisely. Good software contractors adhere to the highest norms of quality assurance and will go well beyond their way to meet your customers´ expectations and not simply slap the code together.
A competent outsourcing company will carry out market research on client’s request to precisely identify the voice of their customers. This may include organizing focus groups, issuing acceptance tests or enrolling beta testers before product launch. They work for you not only as their client but are in fact making software for your clients.
Moreover, a great outsourcing company will help you finalize software specifications or write them from scratch. They will advise on long-term strategy, i.e. how will the chosen programming language influence your company´s plans in the future. By identifying advantages as well as risks, a good outsourcing company can also offer valuable consulting. The best outsourcers aim to establish a long-term partnership with their clients, not allowing any room to be left for mistakes.
PRO TIP: Choose a reliable outsourcing partner that can guarantee full traceability of the development process and a high level of commitment. Plain body-leasing rarely works, best software gets coded in harmonious teams.
6) Enter the Internet of Things
The ability to share information between different applications, databases and computer systems is becoming crucial in today´s IoT-ridden world. Every day, more and more aspects of our work are automated thanks to the hidden, yet very important network of interconnected devices around us. Companies are finding success in cooperation rather than in competition and interoperability is becoming the new buzzword in the tech industry today.
And who better suited at connecting different software systems than outsourcing companies? Think about it, their business model depends on adapting to the needs of different companies, be it the choice of coding language, software architecture design or seemingly trivial things like company culture.
Hiring an experienced software development company to integrate your products with those of other companies will save you tons of resources otherwise spent finding common grounds with partnering companies. Third party contractors can immensely help you overcome these obstacles by providing all-around expertise and a high degree of flexibility.
PRO TIP: Interoperability is crucial for sustainability and integrating into the IoT is becoming a must. When you find a company to integrate with, propose hiring an experienced third-party contractor that can provide consulting or even carry out the entire task. Make sure both sides feel comfortable with the choice of contractor.
You might also be interested in: The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing and Insourcing
Whatever your stance on software outsourcing may be, there´s no denying it can be very fruitful for companies who struggle to keep up with pressing market demands, limited infrastructure, insufficient domain expertise or simply on a tight budget. But make sure to do your homework before blindly jumping onto the outsourcing train. Finding an agile outsourcing partner with the right set of tools and expertise that also understands your company culture is tricky, but will be well worth your while when you deliver on time, and your customers’ expectations are fulfilled.
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