As more and more companies race against the clock to outpace their competition, software development outsourcing continues to be the answer for those looking to maximize flexibility and cost efficiency. Maybe you’ve struggled to find good developers locally or you’re confined to working with a very limited budget. Whatever the reason, outsourcing can be a great way to get the job done quickly and affordably. However, you should not outsource solely for the purpose of saving money. The overarching benefits of an outsourced relationship encompass much more than just saving a few dollars here and there. Being able to add specific technical expertise to a project or extend the development cycle past the typical eight-hour day also requires an upfront commitment on behalf of the company wishing to outsource. After all, every good working relationship requires some give and take on behalf of both parties.
In my over 30 years of working in the IT industry, I’ve seen almost every reason in the book for why companies turn to outsourcing. I’ve outlined below a few real-life examples of software-enabled businesses that have turned to us for help and are continuing to reap the benefits.
In some cases, more is better.
For companies looking to do more with limited resources or a tight operating budget, outsourcing can be a great way to add external personnel that are able to adapt and work as an extension of your own internal team. Kyäni Corporation, a wellness company, saw itself in need of expanding its software development team to build an internal, Web-based tool as a way of helping distributors better manage their book of business. “Not knowing where to start, I discovered Accelerance, and they recommended a great partner to us in Colombia. We were pleasantly surprised to learn the service was free of charge to us, and we were able to start work just a month after partnering,” said Troy Hiltbrand, chief digital officer of Kyäni Corporation.
The takeaway in this case was recognizing a void that could not be filled solely by internal resources and leveraging our network of outsourcing providers to get the job done efficiently without having to sacrifice on the quality of work. Adding resources to your team doesn’t need to be viewed as a task that’s necessarily out of reach or a decision that is solely confined to a pre-determined budget.
When it comes to outsourcing, it’s critical that you have a clearly defined project or set of goals in mind and consider a wide range of options to find the solution that best fits within your list of criteria. More often than not, you might be pleasantly surprised to see the number of options that are available to help you get the job done without burning a hole in your pocket.
Lean on experts to find the right talent
As the saying goes, “sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know.” This especially holds true in the crazy world of software development outsourcing. Between managing your existing workload and overcoming day-to-day business obstacles, it’s safe to say there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Add onto your plate the task of finding a potential software development outsourcing firm and your head might just explode. The good news is you aren’t alone and you can always rely on some industry experts that can help alleviate some stress and make the job simpler for you.
One of the biggest challenges in the outsourcing process is knowing who to select or even how to go about finding potential outsourcing firms. Having a company in your corner that has done the research already and can present you with an extensive network of options to save you time is a huge advantage.
National retailer, Portrait Innovations, reached the point of needing to replace an existing platform with its own code. With limited bandwidth across its existing team, all signs pointed to outsourcing.
“Accelerance was able to collect our needs, organize and present them to potential partners much faster than anything we could have done on our own, which made the overall process extremely efficient,” said Jim Marascio, chief technology officer of Portrait Innovations. “If Accelerance wasn’t in our corner, we would never have been so thorough in our interview process or have evaluated anywhere near the scope of partners Accelerance presented to us.”
Keep the relationship fresh
Once you’ve found your provider of choice, the hard work is done, right? Wrong. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – relationships require constant effort, and software development outsourcing relationships are no different. Ensuring that all participants involved stay engaged in the work and dedicated towards achieving a goal is no simple task. But there are a few best practices that I recommend following as a way of keeping the spark alive and well in your outsourced relationship.
- Schedule regular meetings: Meet at least once a week (with daily stand-up meetings recommended) to ensure that key project elements are progressing and deadlines are being met.
- Ask for routine feedback: Be open and honest; maintain a regular dialogue so all team members know strengths and what areas might be in need of improvement.
- Establish joint goals: Set goals as a team that are realistic, so deadlines can be met yet are also challenging enough that team members feel committed and engaged in their efforts.
- Put in face time: Make the time to meet with your outsourced provider in person, aside from just routine Skype sessions to help develop a strong working relationship.
In summary, the process of finding a best-fit software development outsourcing provider is no simple task. However, you don’t need to tackle this project alone. By leaning on experts, the hard part will be behind you. However, once you find a suitable outsourcing provider, your role is to keep the relationship alive and thriving so it will be mutually beneficial to both parties for years to come.
Steve Mezak is the founder and CEO of Accelerance, Inc. A veteran of Silicon Valley, Steve has more than 30 years of experience in the IT industry, from writing software code to facilitating and managing software development teams. Since 2001, he and his company have connected hundreds of businesses with IT outsourcing firms around the world. Steve is the author of “Software without Borders: A Step-By-Step Guide to Outsourcing Your Software Development” (2006), and co-author of “Outsource or Else! How a VP of Software Saved His Company” (2016).