Gone are the days when the only way companies could get any meaningful software development work done was through an in-house development team. Lots of companies may have software development work that only needs to be accomplished once. So they can’t justify the cost of maintaining a full in-house development team.
This dilemma has given birth to a completely separate industry. Software outsourcing has now become the norm even for big conglomerates that routinely require development work. It has leveled the playing field for companies of all sizes, thereby improving access to technology for consumers.
The cost savings that it provides as opposed to hiring a full internal development team are immense. It also enables companies to move quickly and scale up their software services as and when required. Furthermore, they can do all of that without losing much of their time in managing developers themselves.
What is outsourced software development?
The simplest definition of outsourced software development is that when a third-party service provider is hired to handle all aspects of software development, it’s called outsourcing. Some companies choose to outsource certain parts of their project while others outsource entire projects.
It’s a very modular approach to software development, not to mention that it’s also very cost-effective. Companies that have their internal teams can choose to outsource sections of the project if they need to speed up the work. Those that don’t have internal teams can outsource all of the work to a third-party.
This means that even a one-person operation can have a full-fledged software suite because all of the work is done by professionals that are contracted for the job. That one-person business can thus compete in the market with more established competitors that may have dedicated development teams.
You may need to outsource development work for software that only your employees use. For example, you can hire a service provider to create inventory tracking software for your warehouse. It’s not something that your clients will ever use but it will help improve efficiency overall.
If you’re a family-owned restaurant, you might want to get an app developed that lets your customers order ahead of time or simply check out your menu and the latest deals. Either way, after outsourcing the work, the business owner has their hands free to deal with more pressing matters.
Should I outsource my software development?
There are several aspects that business owners should consider when deciding whether or not they should outsource their software development. For many, it’s a matter of time versus money.
Even if they have the skills, would they rather spend the time it would take to develop the software themselves or outsource the job and spend that time better on pursuing big picture items for their business?
One of the primary advantages of outsourcing software development is the money that it can save businesses. Hiring an internal development team is expensive, particularly if there’s no ongoing need. Simply outsourcing the work will always be cheaper.
Work with professionals
Software development is a complex field so even if you have some knowledge, there may be languages or frameworks that you’re not familiar with. If they need to be utilized in the software that you require for your business, it’s always better to work with professionals rather than trying to wing it yourself.
This will ensure the quality of work and it needs to be a major consideration particularly if the software you need developing is going to be client-facing. You wouldn’t want to offer customers something that gives them a bad experience.
Higher product quality
Ensuring a high product quality should be at the forefront for business owners. That’s how they will retain customers and effectively compete against rivals. This is why outsourcing the development work to professionals that can deliver a quality product is so important.
This is often a pitfall that business owners face when they outsource software development. That's particularly of concern when the work is outsourced to an offshore development first. They may not speak the same first language, there may be time zone differences to take into account, and perhaps even cultural conventions.
Effective communication is perhaps the most important aspect of outsourcing. If that can't be ensured, there's no guarantee that the project will progress as per requirements. That can lead to a waste of both time and resources.
Lack of clarity on project’s scope
How do you ensure that the firm you have outsourced the development to completely understands the project’s scope? Properly explaining that to them is as much your responsibility as it is there to be mindful of the project’s requirements.
However, these issues are often seen in outsourced jobs. Misalignment on the vision for the project can be fatal to the entire exercise and in many cases, the work has to be started from scratch. That's an outcome best avoided.
Your company may be required to meet data privacy regulations in its local jurisdiction, but would those same regulations apply to an offshore company that’s handling your development work? Are they able to access the personal data of your users or whether there’s any potential of that data being misused?
These privacy issues need to be kept in mind when outsourcing the job, particularly to a different jurisdiction. Any lapse in compliance could end up being very costly for your company and if adequate protections aren’t in place as far as your contract with the third-party developer is concerned, then your company may be on the hook for any potential liability.
How much does it cost to outsource software development?
How much it costs to outsource software development can vary significantly based on several factors. The service provider's location is one of the biggest factors. Developers in markets like the United States or Europe are understandably going to be more expensive compared to developers in locations like India.
Developers in those markets can often be tantalizingly cost-effective with rates starting at $10 per hour but even highly experienced professionals there can charge upwards of $50 per hour, that's around the same you'd expect to pay for a young professional in North America.
The nature of the project also has an impact on its cost. Is the work you require able to be done by one developer or will it require an entire team? In most cases, simple apps, software, websites, etc can be made by one developer.
An entire team may be required for more complex projects, especially if they require ongoing maintenance or regular updates. The cost would then be exponentially higher compared to a job that a single person can accomplish.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when estimating how much it would cost to outsource development is that the bigger the project, the more expensive it’s going to be.
How do you successfully outsource software development?
Project management tools are your friend. Use them so that developers are reminded of the tasks that are assigned to them. Since there are many different tasks related to a single project, it's always possible for them to miss something. A project management tool ensures that the work is done systematically and that nothing falls through the cracks.
Adopting agile methodologies is always a good idea. This way, the business can keep an eye on the progress during the project's life cycle. Both the client and the developer can work in line with the technical and business aspects of the project. This leads to a greater understanding of the project for all parties involved.
Being obsessive about UX design helps too. The software you get created shouldn't only look good but it should be functional as well. Poor UX is going to significantly degrade the user experience which would make user retention difficult. It's imperative to work with a development partner that understands the importance of good UX design.
Get help from a reputable developer
It’s always best to entrust a reputable developer with your project. Zibtek has long been a trusted outsourcing partner for Fortune 500 companies and startups alike. We have helped them with both complex and simple projects, enabling them to bring their vision to reality.
Zibtek has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah with a team of highly skilled software development professionals. We also have a global talent pool of experienced developers, UX designers, project managers, etc that are managed from our offices in the United States.
No matter the scope and complexity of your project, contact Zibtek today and we’ll work with you to develop a solution that exceeds your expectations.