Offshore software outsourcing is not only a trend but an efficient way to cover your business needs in software development, upgrade, or maintenance. Companies all over the world choose to cooperate with such vendors to decrease costs, quickly and easily access experienced developers.
At the same time, engaging with an offshore software outsourcing vendor may bring some issues and difficulties to your work and operation. Offshore partner is always located in a faraway country, and of course, such a distance creates a lot of challenges. What are they and what should companies do to overcome them and mitigate them? Let’s figure it out in this article.
Finding and Choosing the Right Partner
Let’s admit: the success of your offshoring project depends on the partner you select. Nowadays, businesses have a wide selection: Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa have developed IT outsourcing markets that are full of developers and offshoring software companies. But you always have a chance to encounter an untrustworthy team or a company that won’t be a good match for your project, even if you heard the best things about a certain country’s outsourcing market.
Another difficulty is the number of options: for example, Ukraine, an Eastern European country with a strong IT industry, has at least 400 outsourcing providers. So, it’s rather hard to stop on the one provider.
However, if you take your time and go through the selection process thoroughly and seriously, you will be able to find your ideal partner. Firstly, do the research and make a list of the possible vendors. Check technical directories like Clutch, GoodFirms, Crunchbase, tech blogs, LinkedIn profiles to combine the list and learn about companies.
When the list is ready, evaluate the outsourcing companies by the next points:
- Do they have the relevant expertise for the type of solution you need to develop?
- Have they even developed software for the industry you work in?
- Do they display their portfolio and success cases publicly on their website or on social media?
- What type of feedback do their clients leave? Do they show testimonials from previous and existing clients?
- Do they have a good employee brand? Have you seen a lot of bad reviews about the company as an employer?
- How do they communicate with you? Are their managers attentive and easy-going? Do they keep their promises and respect deadlines?
The answers to these questions may help you grasp the quality of the vendor and if you are going to have an understanding and productive cooperation.
Data Security and Intellectual Property
Whenever you include a third party into your inner processes, there are always concerns connected to data protection and intellectual property.
To develop a self-sufficient, functional software, the vendor should deepen into your business operations, processes, plans, and goals. A clear understanding of how your business operates and where you are going will show what software you need and how it should work. So, you can just cut the vendor out and refuse to disclose any information or give access to any kind of data.
In this case, how can you protect yourself? The most efficient way is to sign documentations that will explicitly state the requirements in data security and IP protection your company demands. You may also consider signing an NDA, or non-disclosure agreement for these goals.
Communication is a place where a lot of issues may arise. Sometimes, it’s hard for people to find a common ground when they are sitting next to each other. So, what to say when both parties are located in different countries, belong to different cultures, and may even speak different languages?
Hence, even communication with your vendor requires some structure and thinking through. You may want to schedule regular calls, as face-to-face communication is faster, more efficient, and actually creates a connection between people. Thanks to modern technologies, it’s quite an easy task to complete.
An established reporting system and call scheduling will give everyone clear milestones, and ensure a seamless flow of information between you and your client.
A good vendor will initiate calls and other forms of communication themselves, and they will make sure that you are involved, informed, and integrated into the project. Some outsourcing companies prefer to add clients to their working spaces, tasks managers, and chats, so the client will be able to contact the developers or project managers easily. However, you can ask for transparency and organize calls or discussions yourselves. Straightforward, clear communication is a key to success that will solve any issues or disagreements you may have.
Low Level of Ownership
Sometimes, the client may be not satisfied with their level of input and decision-making in the process. Software development is a technical task, so it’s only logical that a technical provider plays a big role in decision-making, but you also should have a say here.
The best solution here is to establish the responsibilities in the beginning. You can explicitly write down in the terms of service contract what the vendor is in charge of, where they need your approval, and what kind of decisions they are entitled to make themselves. In any controversial situation, the contract should help the employees of both sides to figure out who is responsible.
Offshore software outsourcing can bring great results, but it requires careful and structured management from both sides. As with any other type of partnership, both sides, the client and the vendor should be focused on creating value for both of them, respecting the other party, and having a clear understanding of the common goal.
As you can see, the risks exist, and each of them has a significant threat to the project. Knowing, understanding, and evaluating them beforehand is the only right approach to guarantee successful development and protect your business.