Should you outsource your software development?

Often, a big decision when starting a new software project is whether or not to outsource development or simply do it in-house. The most common reason for this concern to pop up is that companies have heard about bad experiences from friends or colleagues, or they’ve experienced it themselves.

After all, working with third parties can come with its challenges. But as with everything in life, proper planning prevents poor performance - and this applies to outsourcing tasks as much as it does to anything else. 

How does this dilemma come about?

Upgrading software is a critical task for any modern business and can improve a company’s productivity by as much as 50%. Apart from this, new systems are more adaptable and have better security, a key factor in today’s data landscape.

According to Norton, one of the most used antivirus softwares in the world, new software and upgrades can help get rid of old flaws. Hackers and cybercriminals are constantly getting better and you should too, to make sure your company’s data and systems are safe and efficient.

In the same breath, companies don’t always have the resources to allocate time and internal spend to technical projects and need support, to a greater or lesser degree.

5 Questions To Guide You

Every situation and every upgrade is different. It is vital for you to do a thorough analysis of your project, plan out your goals and timeline before deciding who’s going to be responsible for the task of upgrading - and to what extent they’re involved. Key decision-makers should ask themselves:

What is the scope of the upgrade or new development?

The most important question to find an answer to when upgrading your software is why you are doing it. The key objectives you use as a mark, serve as vital information for the development team, and can help you figure out priority and critical areas for development. This will impact the level of resources you need to continue and give you a basis for understanding when and what you can get help with.

Do you have the skillset, internally - and is it your core competency?

Sit down with your team and find out if they have the ability to develop the best possible software. 

Building software is a complex process and the benefit of having an outside company is they can have access and knowledge on the latest technology that is being used. (Maxxor Blog) However, many companies don’t have in-house development teams because of the cost or demand for that kind of work on a monthly basis. 

On the other hand, some companies do software development for other brands, as their core service offering and this presents an ethical and logistical dilemma. When a skill is your company’s core competency, outsourcing this skill makes your business vulnerable. In these cases, it’s best to enlist temporary or supporting development, rather than putting an entirely separate team on the project. 

Outsourced Software Development

Do you have capacity?

Does your team have the ability and capacity to do this work while continuing to service your company on a daily basis? Very few businesses can afford a software team solely for building new products. This means that they are constantly dividing their time between your upgrades and their daily tasks. 

Your team may have the skills and the experience to get this job done but do they have the capacity with everything else going on? If yes, then you could think about doing it in-house as a priority - even if the cost is higher than that of partnering with other developers. If no, then it may be more effective to look at outsourcing the work to some extent.

Is your internal infrastructure set up for partnerships?

Agility in the software world is key and can help create environments where partnering with service providers is easier. Without the right communications and data-sharing infrastructure, it will be a complex task to plug in new teams and can create a myriad of challenges when working with freelancers or other organizations.

If your internal infrastructure is not geared up for remote and collaborative working, you’re going to have a problem. In these instances, you need to factor in the costs of creating this environment, although the benefits can be two-fold for your business. If you can’t do this, starting in-house may be a more viable option. 

What is your budget?

Budget constraints play a major role when going into a new project. And while the face value of one option may be cheaper, you need to take into account the cost of mistakes, setbacks, and not reaching the goals you want to achieve. Besides that, the training and infrastructure costs internally can add up fast and need to be considered. 

It may seem cheaper to hire more staff but will you have work for them after this project is done? Further to that S&C says “Businesses cut down their development costs up to 50-60% when they turn to an outsourcing company”. 

Typically, there is a lesser risk and cost associated with outsourcing, as you are not bound to permanently employ developers and not responsible for the overheads associated with third parties, however, in cases where they are too far removed from your team, you are likely to incur quality control and time costs. 

Who can you outsource to?

There are many companies that offer software development services, but quality and competency are two important considerations. At Digital Grind, we’ve got an established team of digital experts who understand the software and user experience design landscape. 

For example, we recently worked on a project with Moro Hub where we built a platform with an A-grade standard of accessibility. In that instance, the infrastructure existed for us to work together as a team and the result was an exciting new platform that could help Moro grow their brand awareness and continue to evolve. Their feedback? "Digital Grind developed our company's website, and they have done an excellent job. They developed a website that was more than our expectation and it is AAA accessible. They were very cooperative and accommodating; their flexibility in amending changes to meet our different stakeholder's requests was exceptional."

So, there are definitely instances where partnering or outsourcing your development can be beneficial to you and your organization. However, considering the checklist above, you will need the right processes and environment to make this achievable and should be aware of your core competencies - and the impact that outsourcing can have on your brand and clients. 

When it’s not your game, it’s best to handoff to an all-star team. Speak to us 


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