Businesses today are expected to do more than ever before. You can’t just offer a service: you need to protect users, innovate your product, and create a fun working environment.
With the overwhelming growth of corporate responsibility, you may be looking to outsource your technological development. Is this a good idea? This blog takes a deep dive into the pros and cons of outsourcing.
When outsourcing development, you gain access to more talent, decrease your investment’s risk, expand your idea-pool, and can develop faster.
However, there are downsides: it costs more than internal development, there’ll need to be a ramp-up period, you won’t have full control, and there could be security risks.
Pro: You’ll have access to a larger talent pool
Your internal employees come from your local market. Depending on where you’re at, this could mean that you run out of experts fast; you’ll have to compromise to match what’s available. By outsourcing, you’ll have access to any number of trained developers in every kind of specialty.
Con: Lack of control
While talent is important, you will have to give up some control on the project. You’ll be able to provide direction, but you won’t have your hand in every aspect.
This could be seen as a positive, however: you won’t have to worry about the minute and trivial details.
Pro: Decrease your overall risk
Experience is one of the best ways to ensure a reliable product. Has your internal team ever done this before? If the answer is no, there’s a greater risk of failure.
By outsourcing to a team that has a long-standing background in similar projects, you’re increasing your odds that your finished product will stand up in the market.
Con: It’ll cost you
Of course, with expertise comes a price tag. Chances are you’ll pay more per hour for an outsourced team than internally. There is benefit to paying more: higher cost usually means higher quality.
You can add some safeguards in terms of cost. You can set up payments to be made based on milestones, or withhold payment until the project is complete and bug free.
Pro: More heads = more skills
Chances are this is what your internal development team looks like: a handful of full-stack or backend developers, maybe a frontend specialist. By outsourcing, you have access to a more varied skill set: an outsourced team usually consists of a product manager, a couple of UX designers, researchers, architects, both backend and frontend developers, cloud experts, devops experts, and mobile engineers. That combination of skill can lead to better quality.
Con: The learning curve
Your internal system is probably large and complex. Your internal team is already well versed in the nuances and complexities of how to develop against it. By outsourcing, you’ll have to teach a whole team of people how to do the same.
One good side to this is having a fresh perspective: maybe there’s a problem your team couldn’t see because they’re so used to the system. A new set of eyes helps solve problems outside the box.
Related Article: Hiring a Full Time Employee vs A Development Firm
Pro: Eliminate Distractions
As we’ve already mentioned, companies have more to do now than ever before. Your internal team is already busy with dozens of other projects, and adding another into the mix could throw off deadlines of your whole operation. With an outsourced group, you can ensure that your current projects stay on track while also guaranteeing a timeline on your new solution.
Con: Expectation vs Reality.
You know what your employees are capable of. While a vendor could have glowing reviews and an extensive portfolio, you really can’t know if they’ll meet your expectations until the contract is signed and the work is underway.
There are ways to mitigate this. First, is your vendor hard to get a hold of? Look elsewhere: chances are they’re too busy to complete your project on time. Next, try and meet with actual developers and designers at the outsourced company: that way, you can get a better understanding of who will actually be working on your project. Don’t get sold just on a pitch deck.
Pro: Increase Speed and Ability to Scale
An outsourced group has the ability to work faster than your employees, mostly because they are likely focused only on your project. Outsourcing can also better your ability to scale. You’ll be able to bring on multiple developers simultaneously or complete multiple projects quickly. If you have a particularly tough set of deadlines, you could bring in a group to complete those projects. Once completed, you can go back to business as usual.
Con: Security Constraints
By inviting an outsourced team into your system, you’re essentially opening another door inside. If your organization isn’t already prepared for this, you may have to add security measures. Your internal team should be able to do this for you by creating test environments and scrubbing data.
In the end, the best way to decide if you should outsource is to look at your specific needs. Not every project should be outsourced, but you also shouldn’t bury your internal team.