Forecasts state that by 2021, IT spending on developing enterprise software shall witness a growth of 7.2% from the previous year to clock in at around 492 billion USD. Approximately 64% of companies worldwide have chosen to outsource their development projects! We take it that to complete your new project, you too have set your sights on software development outsourcing of a custom software instead of an off the shelf product. Now the onus lies on you to find the perfect software development partner.
However, that can prove to be quite a daunting task given that there are numerous software development outsourcing companies spread across varied locations of the globe each operating at a different price point. According to a study by EDC, there are more than 23 million active developers in the world.
So how do you know which service provider is the best fit for you? We have tried to help you navigate through this quagmire so that you are able to achieve your development goals. Here we go!
When you initially begin searching for a software development partner, there are a few points that you need to take into consideration.
Even before you start googling for software development outsourcing companies or begin to reach out to your network for references or/and suggestions, you first need to know what you require exactly. Accurate identification of what your company is looking to achieve through software development is the primary component of your search.
Now you know what you require. You also now possess a list of companies that say that they can provide you with the software you require. But do you take their word for it? Or do you dig a little deeper? Here is where a thorough study of the pitches and the portfolios you have received, comes in. Look for details like tech stacks, team size and delivery timelines.
Check to see if the company you are scrutinizing has completed projects similar to your requirements and is familiar with your industry. Don’t just believe what the companies tell you. Search for reviews and social proof. (Sites like Clutch, Quora, Goodfirms, Softwareworld help you with a detailed directory of software development companies inclusive of reviews and ratings to assist you in making an informed choice.)This well help you identify companies that take pride in their output and are unafraid to engage with their erstwhile customers.
This is a thumb rule. Never decide on a software development partner based only on the price of their services. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good and in the long run, it could actually inflate the cost of the project. According to a survey by Deloitte 59% of companies choose to outsource to cut costs.
However, on the flip side, there is no business sense in hiring an overpriced outsourcing partner. Fixing a budget where the ROI is equal or higher than the investment and then searching for the best option within that budget is the best way to move forward. Proper scrutiny is required to recognize and avoid hidden IT costs. Your software needs, the capabilities of the prospective outsourcing partners, and the budget you have allocated for your project, all form important cogs in the machinery of choosing a reliable partner.
At this point, you know what you require from your software development project, you have a list of companies that can develop the software you need and that too in your budget. Here are a few questions that you can ask them so that you know exactly what you are getting into.
When companies pitch to you, the style and content of the pitch will let you know how they perceive themselves, what their values are and how they view their customers.
With this question you can gauge whether the prospective company is a good fit for you. Be sure that they have indicated the number of years they have been in business, their bandwidth and if they have any certifications or awards.
A software development outsourcing partnership is based on a reliable, repeatable process that considers organization, quality and consistency. Practical experience and industry leading practices are a must-have.
The process should include an evidence-based viewpoint and ideas that add value. Agile processes, testing, logging, iterations and starting with an MVP are requisites. These practices help in ensuring the success of the project while speeding up progress and reducing risks.
A good software development outsourcing partner will ensure free flowing communication and transparency throughout the course of the partnership. Set communication protocols allow for timely issue identification and subsequent resolution. The company should mention the who, when and how of the communication process during the project as well as your integration into the tools they use. Marking Primary Points of Contacts is also a positive.
Software products require post launch support. Make sure that your prospective outsourcing partner is capable and willing to provide ongoing support inclusive of trouble shooting, improvements and addition of new features as per your requirements.
Ensure that the Intellectual property (source code, related documentation) post-delivery, belongs to you. You can also discuss warranties and service guarantees.
There are a lot of software companies in the market today, most of them well qualified with impressive portfolios but after you ask them the above questions, you need to ask yourself one too. “Are they right for YOU?”
Your partner should be a company that not only gets the job done but also keeps you best interests at the forefront throughout the project. Points to consider are-
Cultural compatibility between you and your prospective outsourcing partner greatly determines the overall productivity and success of the project. Socio-economic and political conditions also play roles in determining cultural compatibility. Simply put, the aesthetic of your prospective partner should be aligned with yours.
The company you have decided on for your software development project may be in your time-zone which is of course desirable, but there is a strong possibility of it being in a completely different time-zone altogether. Your prospective partners need to be comfortable with outlining overlap hours when their team is available to work in tandem with yours.
You should take time to settle on the type of engagement model your prospective partner proposes. Extended teams, managed services and other options which are different from staff augmentation and fixed-price models can be considered. When the budget, deadlines and scope of the project are clearly defined, a fixed price model is suggested.
For long term, dynamic projects the Time and Material model, where you are charged by the hours of work put in and the materials used, is suggested.
The dedicated development model is the go-to choice for long-term projects given that you receive a team of developers focusing entirely on your development project.
Agile methodologies are the need of the hour, considering that they provide you with the instruments to manage your project with the constantly changing environment of iterations, feature additions and an evolving scope.
When choosing a software development partner to outsource to, make it a point that they provide you with self-managed teams, efficient planning and subsequently, the right product.
The final call that you take about which prospective partner to choose should be a well informed decision, encompassing all of the above. Once you conduct proper research, ask the right questions and settle with the right outsourcing partner, you are well on your way of developing a successful product.
Choosing a reliable software company for your business without being armed with the right know- how could prove to be difficult. The gravitas your decision is such that it could make or break your venture.
Therefore, knowing the software development outsourcing ecosystem, paying attention to the fine print coupled with a thorough understanding of how you want things to work vis-à-vis how they actually work is imperative.
We trust that this article will help you in choosing a capable, credible and most importantly, reliable software development partner for your enterprise. Happy developing.
A driven technologist and spirited technocrat, Pratik Mistry holds the helm of Senior business head at Radixweb, one of the leading software development companies. With a passion for helping companies grow revenues by delivering top-notch software development services, Mr. Pratik Mistry enjoys sharing his experiences as a technology evangelist.
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