Published on October 3rd, 2022 | by Bibhuranjan0
Outsourcing your software development – 6 key areas to take note before sending that email
Indigenous software development can be a costly and time-consuming affair. Most individuals or companies will either use something that’s an off-the-shelf solution or if that doesn’t exist, think of developing it from the ground up to suit the needs.
This however entails a few issues, chief among which are –
- Custom software development is an immensely labor and resource intensive task. Can take months or even years to get completed, if your company isn’t pouring in enough resources into getting it running.
- It’s definitely not for everyone, as most SME’s simply don’t have the staff or resources to get a project of such proportions off the ground.
- Time management is the bigger issue, because untimely deployment of the product, can halt progress or in the worst case, cause insurmountable losses to associated projects with this one.
What about “off the Shelf” Solutions?
Most off the shelf solutions are made to cover a wider niche. So in essence, it can be a sort of “jack of all trades.” However universal solutions can be a double-edged sword as well. Example – while an off the shelf software can do certain tasks that you may ask of it exceedingly well, it can also work in the opposite way for tasks unique to your needs. For proper integration and unhindered project deployment, custom software is inevitable.
Role of Software Development Outsourcing
Fortunately, today we can just as easily outsource software development to companies with skilled workers and teams, which can make the process of custom software development and deployment much easier. Dedicated teams, working in tandem to fulfil your needs is the best way to go about, when you lack the means to undertake development tasks yourself. Its – cheap(er) both in terms of cost and time required, and you get the benefit of having direct control over the product.
That being said, there are a lot of Software Development Outsourcing out there, so it can get inundating quickly when you have to choose one.
What is the best way to select an outsource software development company for you?
Assess your project needs, goals and targets
The first step to getting started would be to lay everything down and work out a plan of action. This is a good step to go over time frames, project requirements, cost to benefit analysis and so on. Among other things, this is perhaps the most important part of the process, because if you are confident about what you need, then you may end up getting exactly that.
Having a plan of action is always beneficial, because at the planning stages you can add/modify/delete components based on your requirements, assign technical officers to oversee the projects and generally make a game plan to execute things in order. Remember that while adding more features is always possible, the cost of the project rises with the complexity. That being said, the full detail isn’t necessary, as requirements are dynamic and may change over time.
Decide whether you want to develop it locally or outsource it offshore
This step is a major determiner on just how much the costs will pile up for you. Developing locally has its advantages and is often the more recommended route because you aren’t dealing with long distances, different time zones or language barriers. At the same time, competitive pricing plays a key role here.
Sometimes you may end up with cheaper costs, even if outsourcing as an offshore company may have a better rate than what you are getting locally, while having the same skill sets. The key is to consider what works for you and what your priorities are.
See what companies are willing to work with your budget
Once you have a plan of action in place, you need to hunt for companies that are willing to work as per your guidelines. An important consideration to factor in is the wiggle room in your budget. Due to the nature of economies and subsequent geo-political shenanigans, things might not always go as planned and having a budget buffer is highly recommended.
That being said, you will also need to exercise caution here as some companies will have a way of pulling a “bait and switch”, luring you with low costs and then inflating it gradually. Ideally, you should also check the reputation of the shortlisted companies if possible. This way, you can know for sure that they are not going to pull a fast one on you.
Insisting on a fixed budget range is usually the best way to keep costs under check and protect against any future price shocks.
Check for technical competency and market reputation
Once you have found a suitable candidate, its time to assess their technical prowess. This can be done in a few ways, but the most prominent would be to see if they are using the latest technologies and workflow mechanisms. Gathering insight into their work ethics, advertised skills, staff expertise, project completion percentage, etc are always recommended to assess if the company is right for you.
One key area to take note, is to see whether the company is DevOps and Agile Compliant. This is especially important because, in today’s market, quick deployment, even cost distribution, proper guidance and planning for the project is extremely important.
While DevOps will ensure that the costs are evenly spread out and is affordable for the client, Agile in the mean time will ensure that the project is being properly planned, guided and executed. It also ensures that the developers are quick to respond to any immediate issue that arise during the duration of the product development process.
Outsourced projects often come with a security risk in the form of either data loss, intellectual property theft or backdoors into the software. As the entire project is at the hands of a 3rd party, it becomes vital that you take precautions for such an event. There maybe critical business information that you would need to share as well.
A few ways to check up on the security of the outsourced company will be to –
- Ask them for frequent backups, in case of data loss.
- Audit the code for loopholes.
- Ask the outsourced company on their security measures for ongoing projects.
- Inquire how much of the team is involved in other projects.
- Check for any security breaches on the company in prior years.
- Insist that your private information is managed by important professionals inside the organization.
- Insist on how they check and audit their network for security loopholes.
While complete security is still a very ambiguous and evolving area, a company with a good security practice will ultimately be more trustworthy and dependable in the long run.
How can we forget After Sales Service? We pretty much insist it for everything and the same goes for the outsourcing company. An outsourcing partner with a good track record will often have good after sales service team as well. This pretty much goes hand in hand. So ensure that the company will support the product in the long run, respond to any requests or bug fixes that maybe necessary and insist on validating or test runs for the products before it gets deployed.
Cover Image by Freepik