Outsourcing in IT – the challenges and things to consider to make it work for your brand
It’s no secret that having the right team for the job is the key to success in any industry. With the way many companies operate these days, it has become increasingly popular to hire particular specialists or groups thereof only for a specific period of time – for as long as the given project requires certain services. Therefore, outsourcing in its many forms is now a commonplace practice in IT, and as more and more companies reach out for this form of specialist acquisition, there are several factors worth considering when looking for a particular individual or team.
Let’s say your company found a really nice location to develop the business. Chances are the site is easy to maintain, but – unfortunately – far from the biggest IT hubs and specialists. Acquiring new talent locally may soon become very difficult. That’s one of the benefits of outsourcing – you gain access to professionals unavailable in your local environment. Delegating parts of your work outside your company will make it possible to manage internal resources more effectively, not to mention that more manpower means projects can be completed more quickly. Look for outsorcing companies that offer a large pool of talents to choose from, as the need for an additional pair of hands may surface while the project is under way. If you feel lost with what specialists you might need, a good outsorcing company will be able to provide suggestions. After all, they completed a number of other projects and should have a broad perspective.
IT outsourcing models
First, let’s have a look at some of the outsourcing models. Sometimes direct developer outsourcing/body leasing of a single person is all you need. You may want him to work individually on a specific task or to bolster an already existing team at your place. When the scope of the project is bigger, or when on-site specialists are unavailable, you may look toward the outstaffing of an entire team, perhaps under the leadership of a dedicated manager. And then there is also project outsourcing or subcontracting, when you want someone else to work on your idea while using your company’s manpower elsewhere. The cooperation will last for as long as you need it – it can be just a few days, several months or longer, and it can be full-time or part-time.
Choosing the right outsourcing model
With several options to choose from, how should one decide what is best? It is worth to consider a few things. Think whether you have the right specialist in your team who can supervise the whole development process. If the answer is negative, you may want to outsource the entire project – a dedicated team that knows how to work together guided by an experienced project lead will certainly do better than a hired project manager who has to take the time to integrate with the other devs. Next, if the project is unstable, meaning its requirements are likely to change, you may want to reach out for a few outsourced specialists to join your team rather than delegate the whole work. By doing so, you play it safe, it will be easier to exchange specialists if there is a need to adapt to a new situation. Another aspect worth considering is the length of the project. Longer assignments should stay with you as you never know what might happen later. Identify the roles you need – a mid/senior developer, a QA specialist, a UI/UX designer, etc. – and if needed, decide to augment your staff through direct developer outsourcing. Shorter projects can be outsourced entirely.
The various ways of calculating work time
Some companies provide a minimum number of hours for their specialists to be hired, some offer payment only for the completed working hours instead of days and you can sometimes manage the number of developers outsourced to you in order to be as cost effective as possible. All of these considerations are important when managing expenditures and determining the best value for money factor.
The benefits of outsourcing in IT
As mentioned earlier, you are able to determine whether the cooperation is supposed to be long-term or short-term, and you can often change the conditions as work progresses. This can also mean short notice periods and relieving HR from typical tasks associated with recruitment. A good outsourcing company will also offer replacements if one of their specialists becomes unavailable. Not only do we delegate work, but also a lot of paperwork and organizational aspects associated with new staff, simplifying accounting along the way. Outsourcing makes country borders irrelevant – specialists from the entire world are at your disposal. In this context, we can discuss nearshoring and offshoring. Nearshoring means outsourcing to a neighboring country, which has a number of benefits. You will cooperate with a company that functions within the same or similar time zone, the cultural differences will be smaller than in the case of offshoring, ensuring a better understanding between team members, and there is also the possibility of low-cost travelling to the outsourced studio. On the other hand, offshoring – the outsourcing of work to geographically distant companies – usually entails lower costs. Communication has become less of a problem with the popularity and effectiveness of tools such as Skype or Zoom, but the cultural differences as well as different working hours can pose some degree of difficulty.
Outsourced developers should internally share their knowledge of the project, and document the progress every step of the way. One has to remember that the ‘borrowed’ specialist will walk away from the project at some point, and the company should know exactly what work had been done up to that point. The specialist should receive help with onboarding from both the parent company as well as the one that seeks his services.
Communication problems in outsourcing
In the context of communication, outsourcing to a different country means we have to consider the linguistic aspect as well. Developers should be able to communicate with each other with little or no problems to ensure proper workflow and a good exchange of ideas. Another important element worth highlighting is that if you hire an in-house team working at their own site, this may mean that they have access to the knowledge of their senior colleagues, they have their processes already established, and they do not have to integrate with the new environment of your own company, all of which can speed things up significantly. One side effect of having good communication in outsourcing is that it often makes it possible to effectively exchange knowledge, which helps in the development of your own specialists. Nowadays, developers increasingly often work in multinational teams, ensuring a broad spectrum of ideas and fluent communication in multiple languages. Furthermore, make sure the company is effective at working remotely. If it has a remote-first approach, you can expect them to have developed a well-working virtual environment, one that is on par with an on-site studio. An experienced team that is used to operating this way should have no problems in bringing the Client’s company up to speed with working in this format.
The outsourcing team should be willing to adapt to your needs, and a trial period of their services would be a good way of testing that. Some good companies will even offer such a trial free of charge. If the outsourcing team is experienced and has a rich portfolio, the size of the project – be it a website, some dedicated software, a mobile application or an online platform – shouldn’t really matter as bigger projects will only increase the number of man hours needed for completion. That said, it would be great if at least a portion of the outsourced team worked just for you, as you would get them more involved in the project. Having people that are dedicated and who believe in your concept makes the cooperation far more effective and pleasant, potentially laying the foundations for more work in the future.
To summarize, if carefully considered and organized, outsourcing can be a very effective way of improving the workflow in an IT environment. Knowledge exchange, flexible cooperation and the potential for long-lasting, fruitful cooperation are just some of the many benefits. Customers increasingly often decide to outsource their tasks – they are looking for individual developers or entire teams that already function in a specific organizational structure. This approach is more comfortable and ensures better reliability when compared to a cooperation with freelancers.
Article originally posted here.