GitHub, Slack, Skype, AppSumo, BaseCamp, and Alibaba have all outsourced software development. Many larger companies, including Google and Amazon, have done so at one point or another, too. If you’re in need of custom software developers to build unique products for your business, the thought may have crossed your mind: “Should I outsource?”
Often, outsourcing offers better solutions and results for organizations across industries and niches. But deciding to do so requires a strategy, which includes the perfect moment to start outsourcing. So, how do you know if the time is right for you to take the plunge?
Time is of the essence
If you need a quick turnaround — and given the fast-paced nature of the tech industry, you always do — outsourcing is the answer. You don’t want to force your team to rush through an important custom software development project and neglect important details. When you outsource, the team you work with will be dedicated to finishing your project in a realistic but still short timeframe and be able to contribute enough people to ensure a fast, high-quality result.
Your team is swamped
Perhaps you already have in-house developers, but with so much to do, you simply don’t have the manpower to complete all the projects on your plate. In this case, you might outsource to an outside development team on an as-needed basis. One benefit of this arrangement is that you can use the team as much or as little as you want, so if you’re going through a slower period, you can simply return to relying on your in-house team.
It’s a much smaller commitment than hiring in-house developers, whom you’ll need to onboard and give a salary and benefits. While an external team is working on the overflow, you and your employees can focus on critical business functions without having to worry about important projects falling by the wayside.
Your budget is reduced
Outsourcing is usually significantly cheaper than performing the work in-house. As we’ve discussed, you won’t have to incur onboarding costs or pay full-time salaries or for benefits. You’ll also save money on equipment and office space. Plus, if you outsource software to developing countries in Latin America or Asia, where talent is high but costs are lower, you’ll likely save even more than if you did so in the United States or Western Europe.
You’re looking to scale up
If your business is growing, that’s good news — it means you’re successful. However, it can also mean you might be short on staff and resources. If your demand exceeds your current supply, it’s a sign that outsourcing is a good idea.
You can have software developers integrate with your current team to help you turn around projects efficiently while you grow your organization. You can also fill holes while you search for more permanent solutions to prevent your employees from feeling the brunt of the burden.
You need developers with special skills
If you have a custom software development project on the table, chances are it demands a highly specialized skill set — which may not exist within your current team. When you outsource, you have access to a whole wide world of talent and can choose among skilled developers and teams who have the competencies necessary for your specific project.
Just be sure to look at past work and portfolios to make sure your prospective partner’s experience aligns with your niche. You’ll want a software developer or team that has created products in your industry and has worked with similar companies.
So, is it time to outsource custom software development to an external provider? If one or more of these circumstances apply to your business, the answer is probably “yes.”
Some final words of wisdom: if you do decide to outsource, make sure you’re smart about it. That means researching outsourcing companies or individuals, asking for references and work samples, discussing your needs and ensuring the provider has the capabilities to meet them, establishing and keeping open lines of communication, and prioritizing collaboration. If you’re successful, you may be starting a fruitful working partnership for a long time to come.