As the software development market continues to mature, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to get the right development partner. Today, there are multiple offshore software development companies offering expertise in the field of software development making it almost impossible to find the right professionals. As it turns out, the kind of software development company you choose can have a profound impact on your company’s reputation and even potentially damage your bottom line.
Typically, deviations from the project requirements or even delays in completion are some of the main causes of dispute between a client/vendor in offshore development. And no matter how you look at it, it’s simply a case of choosing the wrong vendor. However, If you have done your due diligence when selecting an offshore partner, chances of such disputes are minimized.
Even though the primary motivation for outsourcing is almost always to reduce costs, there are many other factors that you should consider. By probing these other aspects, you will start having a clearer picture of how the vendor operates, the potential pitfalls likely to emerge, and how you can avert them in case they occur.
In this article, we are going to look at the state of the offshore development market, what you need to look at before hiring a company, and the challenges you are likely to encounter while at it.
What is Offshore Development?
Offshore software development entails setting up and maintaining establishments in another country, away from the customer’s country. The main reason why it is reffered to as ‘offshore’ is because all the operations happen outside the country where the parent company is domiciled, and it could be anywhere in the world.
When the concept of offshore development services emerged in the late ’90s, many companies thought it was absurd. Fast-forward to today, offshore development has mutated from the bogeyman it once was into the unspoken international of any business looking to be successful.
As earlier indicated, one of the major reasons why most companies opt for offshore development is to bring down operating costs. However, it is now a business model being used by businesses around the world to accelerate project deliveries and enhance the quality of operations with flexible and scalable services.
According to a recent market study, it is estimated that 80% of Fortune 500 companies heavily rely on offshore development teams in leading offshore locations like India, Russia, Ukraine, and China.
In terms of revenue, recent estimates by an online statistics portal Statista indicates that the outsourcing market contributed a total of $85.6 billion to the global economy in 2018. Given the dynamic nature of the industry and the poised growth of the market size, more and more organizations will be gravitating towards this hiring model in the future.
Here are some things to look for in an offshore development center before signing the dotted lines.
Vendor’s Core Competency
Let’s face it, one of the sole reasons for outsourcing your tasks is because you need to fill the skills gap within your in-house team. As such, it would be counterproductive to hire a team facing the same challenges as you. In the software development industry, there are industry-based standards and requirements that need to be followed. And the vendor can only give you good results if they have an established reputation in their core competency.
Still on the same, dealing with a niche-oriented vendor means that they give your project enough time and attention eliminating any delay possibilities.
We have already touched on the cost-saving benefits of offshoring. However, when looking for an offshore development company, you will come across multiple vendors giving offering their services at a different price.
Instead of solely focusing on the one that gives you the lowest price, conduct a comparative analysis to determine what benefits you are able to reap from each one of them. For example, one vendor may offer free customer support services, which would further drive down the cost. However, although its an important factor, price shouldn’t the sole determining parameter to help you zero-in on a company.
Resources and Technologies
Resources and technology are two important things you can’t afford to ignore when choosing an offshore company. This is because they will form the backbone of your project and how it’s going to be implemented to its entirety.
You need to ask the vendor about the nature of tools and technologies to be used for your project and whether they are capable of handling your outsourcing needs even on short notices.
In terms of resources, how well trained are the professionals withing the vendor company? Do they have the latest systems in their offices to handle even the most rigorous outsourcing functions? Once they answer such critical questions, only then can you know that they have the muscle to seamlessly handle and deliver on your project.
Another important factor to keep in mind when hiring an offshore software development company is their flexibility or lack of it thereof. Usually, most outsourcing contracts are valid for a number of years with room for renegotiation depending on arsing necessitates. Your vendor should be flexible enough to truly accommodate anything that comes up and act accordingly.
The Work Culture
As you will be working with people from different countries, you will definitely have to contend with different working cultures. Ideally, you should hire a vendor from a country with an almost similar culture as that of your company or at least familiar with. This will help you avoid unnecessary pressures or friction both in the short and long-run.
English Proficiency and Fluency
One of the biggest pains of offshoring arises where there is a communication barrier or breakdown. There have been instances where clients have had to spend countless hours on the phone trying to explain even the simplest of instructions due to language barrier.
Your potential vendors must be able to promptly handle and reply to your queries without having to wait indefinitely. The communication skills of the team members need to be spot on to ensure that have clearly understood your requirements and instructions.
To save yourself from this hassle and make your communication and workflow easier, you need to look for a team with a good command of English.
The Management Team
You can’t just blindly trust your offshore team even if they are saving you tons of money. Dig into their background and ensure you know every team member including the ones who will be leading the team. Learning these minor things upfront saves you the agony of trying to figure out who is in charge of what at a later stage.
Common Offshore Web Development Challenges and How To Overcome Them.
Once you get into offshoring, you will realize that one of the biggest challenges lies in trying to manage offshore development team. You will be spending a significant amount of time managing people and trying to see the progress of your project. To avoid this, you need to create a development timeframe that’s reasonable to you and the team. Additionally, you need to ask for regular updates and keeping track of every step of your project.
Intellectual Property Theft
Internal, proprietary knowledge is key to the success of any business. It is what sets your business apart from the others. Unfortunately, in the course of answering questions and sharing this knowledge openly, you could be giving up the only key advantage your business has. Very few vendors, especially in offshore app development, understand from the onset how difficult it is to share such information and how crucial such information is towards developing an app that fits their client’s business model.
To avoid this unnecessary mess, ensure that your contract clearly spells out that the information should be strictly used for development purposes. Additionally, you should focus on building trust with one vendor by working with them long-term.
Differences in Technology & Methodology
Globally, the technology space may appear to be in sync – but that’s a given. Depending on the region you are coming from, there are limitations in new technologies and access to technical information. This means that there is a high possibility of technological and methodological deficiencies depending on locational circumstances. What is available in your country may not exist in the vendor’s country, all of which can potentially bring your project to a halt.
You can deal with this issue by looking for an experienced offshore development vendors who have a deeper understanding on the current trends in the development world.
As you can see, offshoring can help your business in multiple ways. If you are looking to offshore your projects, you should carefully probe the merits and demerits of offshore software development as they help you in finding a competent partner. As a general rule of thumb, a competent partner should be able to deliver your project within the stipulated time and within your budget. And with the above tips, its only a matter of time before you meet your dream team.