Like all business development methods, outsourcing software development has its pros and cons. Most company owners look for companies to support them with product development when their trusted team of in-house developers is not enough anymore. But this is a major decision to make, so before you dive right in, learn how it can help your company succeed and what risks you need to consider.
In this article, we’ll cover the most significant advantages of this software development process, including cost-cutting, a wider range of skilled developers, optimized resources, and flexibility. We’ll also guide you through the risks of these services, such as communication problems, data security, and the impact on your in-house team.
The Pros & Cons of Software Outsourcing: Making the Right Choice for Your Business
Outsourcing key operational tasks to third-party organizations is becoming common practice in the United States, particularly in the software development industry. In 2021, the revenue in the Application Outsourcing segment is projected to reach $108,748.6m.
Outsourcing projects that would require you to sacrifice loads of resources can support your business growth in many ways – more on that below – but moving your software development elsewhere does have its cons as well. You need to understand both aspects if you’re to make an informed choice for your business.
The Pros of Outsourcing Software Development
While the budget cannot be prioritized over the quality of results, reducing costs in a careful and considered manner helps businesses take care of that all-important bottom line. According to Deloitte, reduced costs are the primary factor that drives companies towards outsourcing, beating such critical aspects as ‘new technology‘ and ‘no in-house resources’.
Outsourcing key technical tasks, such as software development, will help you save quite a lot of money. What’s more, you can implement the same model for other, non-developer roles (like designers, quality assurance officers, or even management) to further reduce costs. MPC’s clients outsource key roles like Engineering and Product Managers or even Lead Product Designers to us with great success.
How is it possible to cut your budget? This is partly because of the relatively low labor costs in global markets. In the US, the median salary for a software developer is around $107,500 per annum, compared to a median of about $20,000.00 for a software developer in India and around $48,000 in Poland – both of these locations are very common for outsourced teams.
No Compromises On Quality
Software development companies are professionals with a great experience. Their developers work up to the most recent standards and leverage the most modern technologies on a daily basis. By carefully assessing the market and selecting an outsourcing partner with a great track record, you’ll have your pie and eat it, too.
Outsourcing software development can give you more cost control. Investing in hiring and training in-house developers is unpredictable and can quickly spiral out of hand. Working with a vendor on a managed service basis means regular billing and straightforward budgeting in the long term, even if you suddenly need to scale it up or down. This, however, doesn’t mean you won’t get trained specialists: at MPC, we have an in-house recruitment and training team carefully selecting the best developers and supporting their growth. If you choose wisely, you’ll get a longtime partner who understands your business and works towards the same goal.
Direct Access To High-Level Skill Sets
Training an in-house team means exploring one of two avenues: either you impart the expertise you already have through an internal training process, or you hire more developers. Both of these options cost way more than outsourcing and are not feasible for most businesses.
Outsourcing enables you to bypass this dilemma. By partnering with a professional company, you get direct, hassle-free access to all the skills and competencies your company needs to succeed in its software development projects – and more. It’s important to remember that outsourcing doesn’t mean settling for second best. If handled correctly, it can mean achieving a higher level of developer expertise that you couldn’t hope to accomplish in-house.
What’s more, one of outsourcing’s greatest advantages is that you get to meet experts with an international base of clients and an unbeatable background in many different industries. This gives a fresh perspective which can put you ahead of the competition.
Labor and Resource Optimization
For a company owner, management represents a confluence of passion and prowess – you love what you do, and you’re great at doing it. For your teams, it’s the same – you hired them because they are engaged, conscientious, and good at their roles. But when you begin to add auxiliary roles, duties, and projects, this well-oiled machine may not work so well anymore and pile up costs.
Choosing to work with an outsourced partner allows you and your teams to remain focused on core competencies. There is no need to spread your human resources thinly across multiple tasks and (most likely) experience a marked reduction in quality across all areas.
Your partner will also be able to manage their own resources with greater efficiency and efficacy while you focus your internal resources on more pressing or valuable tasks like gaining new clients or training your team.
Flexible Options to Suit Your Business Case
We’ve only discussed outsourcing in general terms up to now. But, in fact, this is an umbrella term that encompasses several different aspects. In a basic sense, outsourcing means working with any team external to your in-house personnel. This could, of course, mean working with developers located just a few blocks down the street.
However, many businesses are now choosing to work with partners outside of their country. This could involve nearshoring – working with a team close to your own national borders – or offshoring (finding service providers in a far-flung location, such as a different continent).
Outsourcing domestically might help you achieve a closer relationship with your development partners, although this is not always the case. Modern communication and collaboration solutions make it much easier for remote teams to work together. Nearshoring might suit businesses wanting to work with a company within the same time zone, while offshoring is likely to reduce costs even further and may suit businesses with a more international scope.
If you pour a great deal of investment and time into a software development project and divert crucial working hours from your in-house team, an operational failure, even as simple as a budgeting shortfall or a change in corporate direction, could be catastrophic.
Working with an outsourced team makes a major difference in terms of flexibility. Your vendors will have the expertise required to deliver the project on time and within budget, significantly reducing your time-to-market and helping see a return on investment much more quickly. An outsourced team will have one more great advantage over any in-house team: it allows you to quickly add developers as needed or get people with very specific skills. If you were to hire them yourself, you’d be in for an excruciating recruitment and hiring process that still wouldn’t guarantee satisfying results. When looking for a software development partner, you can choose from various IT outsourcing models that may suit your business case better than others.
One thing that is a pain point for many teams is „personal drama”. You can’t avoid them, and in most cases, they drain the energy out of you. I won’t tell you that these won’t happen at your vendor’s company. Software engineers are no different than any other employees, but if your vendor is solid, you will never hear about any issues of this sort.
Actually, this is what a lot of our clients ask us about. “How come we never have to handle any personal issue or even hear about them?” Through the years, we have worked with many clients and many other off-shore developers, as a lot of big companies do not put all the eggs in one basket. We saw first-hand how easy it is for some relationships to strain over some personal or cultural differences. That is why and how we learned how to avoid these mishaps.
The Cons of Outsourcing Software Development
There is an understandable concern regarding communication when it comes to working with a software development company, especially one based in non-English speaking countries. Business owners may be worried about a language barrier, especially within the technical terms that require a high-level precision. However, these worries can be easily put at bay with tools such as The English Proficiency Index. Most Eastern Europe and Western Europe countries rank high there, with Poland currently at #16.
Another popular outsourcing myth is time zone differences that might make it difficult to build the right kind of close working relationship. On the other hand, a standard development team uses modern technologies to erase these differences. At Massive Pixel Creation, we have sharpened these skills while working long-term with a partner 6 hours behind our time zone. IT companies located in Eastern Europe are a perfect fit for most international markets, as their standard work hours are reconcilable with their clients’. There is always at least a bit of overlap for meetings and planning, and your software development vendor can work during your offline hours and have the results ready for review first thing in the morning.
As you can see, both of these concerns can be easily avoided by choosing the right provider. The right team of developers will have a demonstrable track record of successful projects in your native language and a decent skill set in modern communication techniques. If they look for new ways to achieve mutual understanding, offer workshops to fine-tune your future software solution, and make it seem like language barriers are pretty much nonexistent, that’s probably a good sign.
Different countries have different habits regarding their work time and celebrate different holidays that may interfere with your release schedule. Unexpected breaks and mid-day siestas may cause problems and put a strain on your business operations.
Again, it all comes down to choosing the right team and discussing these factors beforehand. Software development vendors are experts – they will be able to recognize deadline-sensitive factors and address them early on. Also, they may bring a fresh perspective and energy to your project. Our biggest clients have coined the term “The Polish Way”, which means that if we don’t know how to do something today, we’ll learn and do it tomorrow.
Businesses in the US are governed by stringent data protection and cyber-security regulation. Not all locations across the globe can boast these same legislative protections, which may leave business owners uneasy about working with overseas partners. Over 1.47 billion data breaches were recorded in the US in 2019, up from 1.26 billion the previous year and 784 million in 2015. So these feelings of uneasiness are justified.
This is a concern for outsourced software development teams, too. But, a good software house recognizes these concerns and knows how to minimize them, as they don’t want their clients to lose confidence in their data safety and work quality. As such, they should be able to show you the practices and solutions they’ll be deploying to keep you and your project safe. What’s more, they will look for potential risks in your existing software and help you aid them.
In-House Employee Morale Drop
We saw first-hand that outsourcing is always a thorny issue within an organization, particularly when factors like costs reduction are mentioned. Your employees may feel that they are being replaced or that their teams are being downsized ahead of corporate restructuring. This can quickly become problematic if let out of hand.
Internal communication is a crucial aspect here. You need to be transparent and honest throughout the entire process of looking for an outsourced development partner; your employees need to know straight away that outsourcing companies will complement their efforts and make their work easier – not replace them.
Pros And Cons Of Hiring a Software Development Company: A Summary
Outsourcing software development has its pros and cons. But, for companies who lack the resources to hire, train, and deploy an in-house development team, it seems that the upsides outweigh the downsides. By choosing this option, you gain a competitive advantage, agility, optimized resources, cost savings, and access to a large pool of talented developers.
Still, outsourcing these services can result in communication and cultural issues, data security risk, and low employee morale. Good news is that the disadvantages of outsourcing can be effectively bypassed by adopting a savvy approach.
Choosing a Software Development Team Carefully
Take your time as you search for an outsourcing partner. Speak directly with outsourcing teams and receive concrete guarantees on the delivery parameters you can expect. Look for trustworthy customer reviews and case studies that prove the credentials of each candidate.
Aim for a company that does not only meet your minimum standards but also goes above and beyond in terms of results. Never settle for the lowest price – a few of our clients turned to us after cheap software solutions had backfired. If you invest some time at the very beginning and conduct a ‘due diligence of sorts, you will begin to leverage the key benefits of outsourcing, such as:
- Increased flexibility,
- Better cost efficiency,
- Accelerated time-to-market.