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You’d be forgiven for thinking that software outsourcing services are reserved for large companies. After all, Google, Slack and WhatsApp were all founded with the help of outsourcing teams. But small businesses can greatly benefit from the quality assurance and efficiency of a good software outsourcing provider.
According to research, in 2017, small organizations spent 7.8% of their IT budget on outsourcing, whereas medium-sized organizations spent 6.5% and large organizations only slightly more with a spend of 8.7%.
Whether outsourcing will work for your small business, depends on several factors, including your project deadline, the skills of your internal team, the challenges of your project and your budget.
What is Your Product Launch Timescale?
One of the principal reasons that small businesses outsource their software development is efficiency. A good outsourcing provider will have the workflow processes and project management tools in place to ensure that projects are delivered on time.
According to analytics company QSM, the average development project takes just over 11 months to complete and requires 11,414 hours of effort. Small businesses that are scaling quickly, often don’t have the capacity to develop products quick enough to stay ahead of the competition.
Software outsourcing frees up your internal team to focus on day-to-day business activities, while an expert team focuses on delivering a high-quality product.
What Internal Skills Do You Have at Your Disposal?
Before you decide whether to outsource your software development, you need to know where your internal skills lie. Small businesses often don’t employ full-time developers and those that do often don’t have access to the specialist skills required to complete projects. For example, you may have talented mobile developers but lack skills in UX Design.
Once you know what skills your internal team has, you can outsource the elements that require specialist expertise. One of the biggest benefits of software outsourcing is that you only pay for the expertise that you need. Outsourcing is generally more affordable than hiring full-time developers who may require additional training.
What Are the Specific Challenges of Your Project?
Every software development project carries an inherent amount of risk and has its own set of challenges. Before you consider outsourcing, you should create a project specification, outlining the specific details of your product and the challenges you face.
An outsourcing team can help you overcome challenges in a creative way. It can also help mitigate the risks of your project by ensuring that potential issues are identified at the validation stage.
The best software outsourcing companies will review all the potential risks of your project and ensure that processes are in place to handle them.
What is your Software Development Budget?
Cost is always an important factor for small businesses but even large organizations need to work within budgets. Small businesses shouldn’t let cost alone be the determining factor in whether to outsource or develop internally.
In many cases, outsourcing development is more affordable than developing a product in-house, especially when you consider the strain it could put on your internal team’s capacity. If developing internally would mean staff doubling up on projects and spending less time on existing activities, then outsourcing could be the more affordable option in the long-term.
A trustworthy software outsourcing company will be able to provide you with an estimation of how long the project will take. They should also be able to provide a cost up-front, enabling you to budget appropriately.
How to Outsource Software Development for Your Small Business
After considering all the factors above, if you decide that outsourcing is the best option for your small business, the first step is to look for companies that offer the skills you need.
Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of potential outsourcing partners, you should consider what delivery method will best suit your project. If you need software developers to work alongside your existing team in-house, a staff augmentation approach could be the answer.
However, if you’d prefer your outsourcing partner to work remotely but still alongside your internal developers, a delivery team approach would work well. And if you need a project to be fully-managed by your provider, a full-cycle development approach would be the best option.
Whichever delivery method you choose, you should always carry out due diligence and research your shortlisted providers in detail. Check their reputation in the marketplace by reading reviews on third-party websites and approach their previous clients for verification of the quality of their work.
In summary, software outsourcing can work well for small businesses that require fast turnaround times and specific expertise. Before outsourcing your development, you should consider the following elements:
- Your project timescale
- Your internal resources
- The challenges of your project
- Your software development budget
- Your project timescale