Taking A Closer Look At Offshore Software Outsourcing In A Pandemic

As VP of Operations at BairesDev, Damián is responsible for the entire customer relations life-cycle, safeguarding the company’s operations.  

The pandemic has put business operations in the spotlight. With the seemingly infinite number of challenges the world is facing right now, it’s more clear than ever that embracing technology is the only way forward. However, not all businesses have the necessary expertise, resources and talent to carry out such a transition successfully.

This has pushed many companies toward various nearshore and offshore software outsourcing practices. On paper, outsourcing is designed to provide high-quality solutions faster and more cost-efficiently than in-house operations. For many, this is exactly what happened. But others didn’t have as much luck.

Why is this? Is offshore software outsourcing actually worth it in a pandemic? What’s the best way to minimize risk in times as uncertain as these? As the vice president of operations at a company that specializes in software outsourcing, I’ve found that questions like these always have the same answer: It depends. So, I want to take a closer look at offshore software outsourcing and help you make the best decision for your business.

The Role Of Offshore Software Outsourcing In The Pandemic

Let’s start at the beginning: Offshore software outsourcing is a service that takes place when businesses transfer work to a partner based in a region with a different timezone than the requesting company’s headquarters. I’ve observed that this happens often in the information technology industry, with European and U.S. companies outsourcing offshore development to regions like Latin America.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve seen that more and more businesses have started to question whether they need software outsourcing to move forward. The sudden shift to remote work and the strong reliance on technology solutions has only increased this tendency over the past (very long) months.

In most cases, the answer is very straightforward: If you are looking to push through the pandemic via digital acceleration, then offshore software outsourcing is probably what you want. The many benefits of this practice add up into one: gaining an edge over the competition. Simply put, the industry know-how that a top third-party partner can bring to the table can help make everything faster and better. But it isn’t always as easy as that.

Why Offshoring Practices Can Fail

Offshoring practices fail when the involved parties don’t make a good match. This can happen due to a myriad of reasons, but the most common ones are time zone incompatibility, cultural differences, language barriers and general communication challenges. Many U.S. companies, for example, run into these types of issues when outsourcing to distant regions with completely different environments and workflows.

Preventing this, however, isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem. When choosing an offshore software outsourcing company, your goal should always be to find a company that is able to tackle all of your software needs and provide customized solutions for each of them. While there are several project-specific variables to take into account, these basic guidelines will take you 80% of the way there.

1. Prioritize fluent communication and workflow. Your offshore software outsourcing partner needs to be perfectly fluent in your language of choice. Otherwise, the small speed bumps of miscommunication will add up to many hours of wasted time. Also, find out how their work process and workloads will be handled throughout development. Your in-house team shouldn’t have to run into any problems due to workflow differences.

2. Demand cybersecurity. The Covid-19 pandemic has also made cybersecurity more important than ever. With so many businesses pushing digital acceleration, it isn’t uncommon for some to treat cybersecurity as an “added” bonus. It isn’t. Make sure your partner has up-to-date and detailed protocols for keeping all data and software products safe.

3. Look for Top IT talent. The whole point of offshore software outsourcing is to tap into a global pool of expert IT talent. Aim to work with an offshoring partner that hires the best developers in its respective region. This will give an immediate boost to the software development life cycle and the final product.

4. Think about time zones. Yes, most of the time offshoring will require some form of time zone compromises. However, you need to think about how far you want to take it. Working with a partner that shares similar-enough time zones to your headquarters is certainly a plus when scheduling meetings and building cooperative workflows between outsourced and in-house teams.

5. Check for quality experience. We all know that no business is the same and that each software development project will have unique requirements that not all IT partners will be prepared to fulfill. Always check references, past clients and completed projects of your target offshoring partners to get some insight into the company’s performance, quality of work and whether they have the experience necessary to achieve your goals.

6. Seek a full range of services. If you want your software development project to scale over time, you’re going to need a partner that is able to cover growing necessities. What’s more, an offshore software outsourcing company that specializes in a wide range of fields will handle your project from a holistic and highly experienced approach.

Going Forward With Offshore Software Outsourcing

Clearly, the success of your offshoring project will have a lot to do with finding the right match for your business. My recommendation is to always look for companies with the right expertise, resources, time and talent to turn your raw ideas into real, functional software.

However, in our current pandemic-driven context, it will all depend on the goals and challenges your company is currently facing. Whatever you do, just make sure your company is taking steps toward digital acceleration.

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