5 Points To Consider When Engaging An Offshore Development Partner

By Anirban Guha on June 10, 2015

5_Key_Points_to_Consider_Before_Hiring_an_Offshoring_Partner

Software development offshoring comes with multiple benefits, primary among them are faster time to market, lower costs, and access to highly skilled software developers. More and more software companies these days are going for offshoring, because it gives them the advantage to hire quality programming talent without any hassle and more time to focus on core competencies. Since, software development is a people and knowledge-centric business, the process of setting up and operating a distributed development team involves aligning people, their knowledge and the overall business ambition of the company.

With software development offshoring becoming a multi-billion dollar business it is crucial for them to get the maximum benefit out of it and that is possible by choosing the right offshoring partner. Just like there are multiple tried and tested methodologies for software development, there is a plethora of choices to decide from when it comes to choosing a software partner. But, before you start searching for a partner, make note of these three reasons and identify why you want to opt for offshoring.

  • Finding the right talent – Software companies are always looking for highly skilled qualified talent. However, these companies sometime find it difficult to get the right talent in their own country. To overcome this situation, several software companies collaborate with an experienced offshore partner to set up a distributed team to get easy access to talent pool.
  • Bringing down development cost – Offshoring software development is a lucrative cost proposition for small and mid-sized software companies to launch new and innovative products. It also provides flexibility in service delivery in a way that partners can scale up or down operations based on client requirements.
  • Leveraging offshore market – Locating development centres in multiple locations around the globe enables companies to leverage a 24/7 development cycle. Globalization of development also helps to diversify the talent pool and reduces the risk associated with relying on a single talent market.

It is not easy to decide on an offshoring partner in a short time. Several factors come into play before choosing the right development partner. In many cases offshoring agreement between a software company and a partner fails due to lack of trust, transparency and mismatch of expectations. It is imperative to establish an environment of trust from the very beginning to take ahead an offshoring venture successfully. There are five key points that a software company should keep in mind while looking for an offshoring partner.

1. Specialization and size of vendor – When you want to hire the right partner to outsource your software development job, you come across many companies claiming to offer the same services. It might be baffling for you to decide which one is right for your business. So before you go ahead and sign the contract, do a thorough due diligence about the kind of specialization the partner company excels in and what is the size of its development team. It is advisable to look for a company that is a software development specialist, rather than just offering multiple outsourcing services.

2. Domain knowledge and expertise – A company offering software development outsourcing services should have a product development DNA. Precisely, such companies should have experts in product development, who possess the required maturity and is thoroughly aware of product life cycle management. The top leadership in the partner company should possess specialized skills in product conceptualization, product design, documentation and product modernization.

On the other hand, the development team should also be competent in handling multiple release cycles. The developers must have the capability to quickly adapt to future product release requirements while meeting the needs of end users.

3. Considering total cost – This is a crucial aspect that you should discuss clearly with your vendor before signing the final contract. To avoid confusions in future, ask your vendor or partner to give a quotation of the total cost that would be incurred over the course of the project, instead of hourly wage rates. Also, factor in the cost that you have to incur, if the product you are developing has to be scalable for future needs.

While you are searching for the right partner, you might come across several service providers who will be offering services at a low cost. But, put some extra effort to find out if there are any hidden costs, which if not spotted initially might lead you to pay much more than you expected.

4. Product ownership – Be very clear about how you want to develop a software product for your company. Basically, there are two options to choose from: you either build it or buy it. There is also a third option, where you will be allowed to rent a company’s software solution for a specific time period.

But, if you are developing a unique product that cannot be replicated, you should select a vendor that offers the option of transferring complete ownership of the product to you once it is complete. So, if you have the clarity about all these aspects, it becomes easy for you to decide which offshore software development partner is the best fit for your organization.

5. Adopting right methodology – Your software development partner should be comfortable with multiple methodologies, such as Agile, Rapid Application Development (RAD) and Waterfall/Cascade so that your return on investment (ROI) is always high. However, it is now an accepted fact that Agile methodology offers far more benefits as compared to the traditional Waterfall and other alternative methodologies. Agile method of software development will offer high degree of collaboration between you and the project team. As, a stakeholder you will get the additional benefit of transparency through continuous involvement in iteration planning and review sessions.

Preferably, you should look for a software development partner who has the competence to build core business applications that are critical to business operations. The partner you finally decide to engage with should have rich expertise and experience in all the phases of product development lifecycle, and who understands the importance of product customization to suit individual needs.

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