Overseas outsourcing, or “offshoring” is a somewhat sensitive topic for many Americans and American-based companies. But when is it an appropriate option for some companies to use an outsourced service, even if it is overseas? Overseas outsourcing isn’t always the dirty word it sometimes sounds like. There are certain times when it can make sense.
Though there are certainly situations when offshoring makes sense for certain companies, there are potential pitfalls when using a purely “offshore” solution. In this situation, I am referring to a company that doesn’t have any development on-shore or really any other project management in the States. There are definitely times when a development partner option is a great way to leverage a premium solution at the best possible price, but in order for that model to work the project management should stay stateside and the development partner should be rigorously vetted.
But I digress. Let’s talk about some of the pitfalls of using an off-shore only company, shall we?
Communication can suffer with an offshore company. There is the obvious problem of the language barrier, but more than that communication can become difficult with the different time zones. Often – you are working with a company that is in a much different time zone so in order to get on the phone with them you have to either get up super early or stay at work late into the night. Also, it may be hard to get an immediate response for things that are critical, such as a system shut-down.
Lack of Connection Between the Business Logic and Development
Lots of companies have pretty smart developers who understand the basics of development and code. But a lot of times, those developers lack the ability to understand the “why” behind the “what,” and this especially becomes challenging when those companies are in a different culture.
Think about it this way – you can be working with an amazingly smart team of developers in Russia, but they aren’t necessarily going to understand why you want to build a mobile gaming app where the players get to pretend they are in The Walking Dead and battle zombies. I feel fairly certain the zombie obsession is an American culture phenomenon, and a Russian developer might not quite get the reason why the gaming logic requires that the player not see the same zombie twice (or why anyone would play the game to begin with).
This is an easy one. Quality sometimes suffer if you go with the very cheapest option. This is probably true of most things, not just software development. That is not to say that you can get a competitive price and a quality product, but a very low price could mean a very low quality product. Often, you don’t have someone running the project that is accountable for the overall quality, and there isn’t a Quality Control process with testing tools or a testing process.
Lack of Additional Services
One of the things that we are most proud of is our ability to not just provide a premium development solution, but we have a full line of other consulting services to help ensure our clients get the results they want. Working with an offshore team that is just a code shop, (or really, an on-shore company for that matter that is only a code shop) means you miss out on valuable business services that can deliver success. This could include things that I already mentioned such as a QA process, but also other value-add things like creative and user experience design to ensure your users like using your application, marketing to ensure sales success, and support to ensure your application runs at its optimal level.
Have more questions about working with a development company? Contact us today!