Editor's Note: This following is a guest post by Maria Wachal, the Marketing and Growth Manager at Digital Knights partner SoftwareMill.
In order to stay competitive in the digital economy, companies must utilise various technologies. Fundamental challenges associated with business process engineering and data management often require custom software and this is creating capacity issues.
Hiring and retaining experienced software engineers is one of the biggest challenges in the current commercial climate.
Simply put - the talent pool of developers available is extremely limited, if not approached globally. Additionally, building an in-house team is usually out of the question, as it’s not only time consuming and costly, but also requires significant due diligence and long-term thinking. As a result, outsourcing software development is often the best option.
Unlocking the opportunity to achieve digital transformation goals, and/or entering the market faster, outsourcing technical projects to an external partner often makes good sense. For absolute clarity, software development outsourcing occurs when an organisation hires a third-party provider for the development of IT products and services. Many only see software outsourcing as a cost reduction, but this is ill-advised and often a recipe for disaster. Cost should only be one of many criteria considered before outsourcing.
Rather than being solely price-oriented, smart businesses shift their focus to the possible speed of development, the quality of partnership they can establish with a tech partner, the trust they can build and the knowledge transfer opportunities available. These are just a few benefits that can be accessed through software development outsourcing.
Not exactly sure how outsourcing makes sense business-wise? Here are the top 5 reasons companies enjoy partnering with a tech specialist and consider software development outsourcing a good choice.
1. You get immediate access to highly skilled developers
It’s likely your local talent pool appears to be shrinking fast as the demand for software engineers is growing. There’s no doubt about it, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to attract skilled software developers. Not only are they rare, but also in very high demand.
Based on our experience at SoftwareMill, it takes around 2 months to find a new developer. Often more, if you’re looking for senior-levels in languages like Scala, Java or Python. Plus, it’s not uncommon to wait 3 months for the new hire to join your team, due to the previous contract boundaries. So after all is said and done, it may be half a year or more before you have a new developer ready for action.
After hire time you then need to consider the costs. The average salary for a software developer is $70,509. Of course, your location and the years of experience of a candidate will influence this figure. In addition to salary, you also need to add the costs of your hiring and onboarding processes, legally required benefits and the budget spent on employer branding. Finally, you also need to invest in a company culture that not only attracts skilled developers, but also encourages them to stay. Developer turnover is expensive and so it’s critical you can keep those who do come through the door.
Finally, beyond the individual level, there are group challenges too. Building a good development team from scratch is hard, especially if the business owner is not a technical person who knows exactly who should join the team and when. Additionally, it is often impossible to find an individual with expertise in every skill and technology you need. Thus with outsourcing you can bring in developers with a very specific skill set into a project on demand.
2. You gain domain expertise
Experienced software development companies are sophisticated specialised software service providers who have expertise in various commercial projects in different domains and sectors. They are the experts who can significantly help you refine your solution. If your potential tech partner also offers a commercial mindset, they’ll know how to match the required languages, frameworks, and development tools with your specific business case.
Your core team members might already have good technical skills, however they may lack product and specific domain knowledge. A good outsourcing partner will understand how to gather business requirements, design views, develop fault-tolerant software, assure required scalability and quality, and deploy to the most adequate infrastructure.
Understanding the depth and uniqueness of a given domain is especially important if you are laying the foundation for new software. Developers with domain expertise can relate to your user stories and implementations better and proactively write down product requirements, instead of waiting for it to be fed to them. This gives you the edge and helps with better and faster development.
3. You increase your in-house team skill set
Bringing aboard people who already possess desired skills, in a Team Extension Model (TEM), is an opportunity for your in-house team to learn. Outsourced developers complement the skill gaps in your staff and slowly pass their expertise forward.
When you scale your team on demand, it’s an injection of desired know-how and a bedrock for knowledge transfer you can use later on to equip your business. Every developer has a slightly different technical background, preferences, and habits. However, there are best practices regarding quality of code and software engineering process, like: testing, pair programming, code reviews, etc.
This method involves two programmers sharing a single workstation and working together on a given development problem. The less experienced developer does the actual coding while the senior inspects the process and comments. Programmers are paired based on their skills and should switch roles from time to time to exchange technical know-how.
Team code reviews
This method requires the whole development team to look over the code once it is done by a programmer. Less experienced developers learn how to spot logic errors and how to write the code that meets the style guidelines. The whole team can grasp the quality of the code better.
Implementing methods like those mentioned above ensures transfer of knowledge from outsourced experts to the in-house team. These methods also build a better understanding of the project and lead to improved coherency in code and architecture.
4. You achieve the desired digital transformation
The digital economy requires constant readjustment as companies become more agile and innovative. Remember, the ability to leverage data from different sources is at the core of your competitiveness. With customer user experience expectations on the rise, companies must be able to stand and deliver when it matters most. Forward-thinking businesses must accelerate the digitisation of their business processes in order to develop the necessary capabilities to match the speed of actions, to the speed of opportunities.
Outsourcing a dedicated team of software developers can help achieve this ambition and fuel your digital transformation. You can pick out providers specialised in the digital transformation process and who are experienced in creating data processing pipelines, machine learning applications, data science and scalable software solutions - all allowing for faster time-to-market and increased customer satisfaction.
5. You gain focused strategy and time for running your own business
Depending on your available in-house resources for a product launch can often lead to delays or a lower quality end result. When outsourcing, this can be easily avoided as your team are dedicated to completing just THIS one job. Outsourcing IT engineers gives you the time to focus on your core business processes and your strategic goals. In the long-run, this approach will help your company grow and be more competitive.
While you do what you know best - run your business, an outsourcing partner takes care of the complete project development process. Software development requires both programming and business competencies and even the best developers can fail if they don’t understand the business. Successful software development agencies understand the real value of a business mindset, leadership and communication. They can come forward and secure software projects in critical moments by detecting and mentioning specific scenarios, explaining the costs of each implementation and appealing to client’s business needs and requirements to achieve understanding and high-quality project management standards.
Outsourcing software development is valuable and highly useful, when done right and for the right reasons. The key to successful outsourcing is building great business relationships using effective communication and transparency.
Distributed software projects feature far greater complexity, thus they require effective collaboration. Regardless of whether you decide to augment your team with out-of-house developers or hire a dedicated team to complete a single project, you need to outsource strategically and take into account elements like geographical proximity, time zones and company culture.
With team augmentation, the location of the outsourced developers can make all the difference. It is simply easier to plan regular meetings and face-to-face discussions when both teams operate in similar time zones. Common discussions and project meetups add up to creating a trusted and committed team that builds great products. When hiring a dedicated team to complete a single project, proximity and time zones are less important. However, culture fit and transparency should remain a priority, as they influence the success of the collaboration and can significantly impact the results of software development projects. that results in developing valuable software.
SoftwareMill is a custom software development company helping clients scale their business through software, conduct digital transformation, implement event sourcing and create data processing pipelines. Their specialisation is distributed systems, big data, blockchain, machine learning and data analytics, as well as specific technologies such as Scala, Kafka, Akka, Cassandra.