Sophisticated software development is vital for both startups and established companies. As organizations seek to harness the benefits of technology, a fundamental question arises—should they choose in-house software development or opt for outsourcing?
The reason for such active growth is budget savings and flexibility in work. 70% of surveyed companies say they choose outsourcing because of the opportunity to reduce development costs and get a ready-to-go solution in a short time. At the same time, a number of companies hold strong to in-house software development.
By understanding the nuances of in-house vs outsourcing development methods, businesses can make informed choices that align with their unique needs, goals, and resources. We hope our honest guide helps you connect the dots.
What Is In-house Software Development?
In-house software development refers to the practice of having an organization’s own internal team or department responsible for designing, building, and maintaining software applications or solutions to meet their specific needs.
What Is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing involves delegating the design, development, and maintenance of software applications or solutions to external third-party companies or professionals, rather than relying on an organization’s internal team.
In-house Software Development—How Does It Work?
In-house development involves hiring the team with the necessary skills to work internally in the company. With an in-house team, you can track and control work processes, and monitor the efficiency and growth of employees more closely.
In-house software development also requires an office or infrastructure with all hardware and software. So let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of in-house development.
The Benefits of In-house Software Development
In-house software development offers greater control and communication, while fostering collaboration and knowledge retention, leading to enhanced innovation and competitive advantage.
When hiring in-house, you develop a better connection with the team, which facilitates communication and streamlined delivery processes. Additionally, employees that are part of an internal team are often more accountable and involved in the project.
The ability to communicate personally helps to make work more effective and reduce misunderstandings. In addition, since the entire team is working together in the same office and in the same time zone, it’s easy to make changes faster.
Understanding the specifics
Generally, the staff member better understands the business aspects, goals, and pitfalls, and responds more quickly to changes in processes. They are also well acquainted with your customers, prospects, and communication channels. This knowledge allows the IT specialist to offer unique development solutions and promptly solve problems that arise.
The Challenges of In-house Software Development
The challenges of in-house software development include building and retaining a skilled team, longer development cycles, keeping up with technological advancements, potential project tunnel vision, and managing unexpected events effectively.
Expansion of staff
For the correct development of any project, a whole team is always needed — not only programmers but also designers, testers, product owners, and product managers. You need to put them together, and also to make them work effectively.
Searching for experts
The labor market does not always have the necessary specialists, and if there is, the cost of their services may go beyond the project budget. In addition, finding a good specialist with specific competencies is an expensive and challenging task.
The cost of hiring in-house developers is significantly higher than that of outsourced developers because these costs include infrastructure, overhead costs, other employee benefits, training costs, and more.
In the case of retaining a specialist with a low workload, the company will essentially pay for the “downtime”.
Due to high demand and attractive packages offered by other companies, developers are increasingly changing jobs. Thus, there is always a risk that your lead developer might change careers at a critical stage in the project.
Hiring new employees instead of remote ones may initially seem like a good idea. But the process of finding specialists causes some difficulties. Attracting qualified developers, explaining your needs, and getting the most out of your future employee takes a lot of time and effort.
When Is It Worth to Choose Your Own Team?
Hiring several IT specialists in a company involves financial expenses and material support for future employees: office furniture, equipment, etc. But hiring developers is just right for you if you do not have budget constraints and there is room for a whole team in the office.
In-house specialists are more cost-effective if you need complete control over the project. Thus, you will constantly coordinate the work and solve problems or difficulties in development together with the team.
We have an expert article on this topic: Outsourcing vs. Offshoring – What Works Best for You?
Where to Look for Developers for Your team?
To find the right specialist, you should pay attention to specialized online resources and various technical events. Let us consider them in detail.
Recruiting Internet services
You can start your search on general job sites and more narrowly focused ones. The second option, a priori, contains more profiles of development specialists. So you will have more suitable candidates to choose from, regardless of who you are looking for: a backend developer, a designer, or a tester.
Hackathons and IT conferences
These technical events attract hundreds of developers from all over the world. Every year a calendar of conferences is compiled. Each event is often dedicated to one programming language or a certain technology. For example, attend a Java conference if you are looking for a Java developer. It works the same way with other professionals.
Hackathons are also divided by specific technologies. They are good for finding software engineers because they gather experts working on general software around them. A hackathon is a perfect place to find a qualified engineer for your startup. By focusing on the direction of the event, you can choose the one that best suits your project.
You can find really talented programmers among engineering students. They may not have work experience, but most are great at development tasks. There is a lot of enthusiasm in such candidates, as well as a strong desire to develop in programming. This makes it possible to quickly train them in the right direction and get a great person on the internal team.
Recruitment Process for the In-house Team
When recruiting specialists for your development team, you should be guided by several rules:
- Think about what skills your team should have. Depending on this, select the specialists who know the appropriate technology stacks.
- Prioritize correctly. Guided only by the fact that the candidate should think “technically,” you might miss the specialist who can find non-standard ideas to solve problems.
- Evaluate candidates objectively. To assemble a productive team, you need to focus not only on core skills but also on additional skills. Select employees who can complement each other harmoniously.
Outsourcing Software Development—How Does It Work?
The concept of outsourcing involves the transfer of particular responsibilities and tasks to a third-party contractor. Thus, the customer company receives those services and in turn, the contractor company ensures the high-quality execution of tasks assigned to it by a team of its specialists.
When it comes to outsourcing software development, effective communication between the customer and the contractor team becomes paramount. In this setup, the client company interacts with the project manager of the contractor company, who serves as the central point of contact. The project manager takes on the responsibility of addressing all issues raised by the client and ensures seamless coordination between the two parties.
Once the client communicates their requirements and objectives to the project manager, it is the manager’s role to distribute tasks among their team of specialists and closely monitor their progress. This arrangement allows the client to have a single point of contact and relieves them of the burden of directly overseeing every aspect of the development process.
By entrusting the project manager to facilitate communication and manage the team, the client can focus on other strategic aspects of their business while maintaining a clear line of collaboration.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
Outsourcing development offers cost savings, access to specialized skills, faster time-to-market, and a focus on core business activities. It also provides flexibility and scalability for adapting to market changes effectively.
The ability to begin quickly is one of the main advantages of outsourcing for many companies. In urgent need, the execution of urgent IT tasks can be immediately transferred to an outsourcing company with a ready-made team of specialists who will immediately get down to work.
Global selection of experts
Outsourcing means the ability to work with highly qualified specialists from anywhere in the world. The choice of an outsourcing company is not limited to location, which means there is access to a larger number of specialists with a set of unique skills. This global access to specialists allows businesses to find experts with niche skill sets that may be harder to find locally.
By opting for outsourcing, the burden of team selection, division of responsibilities, control, and payment for the work falls upon the contractor. Instead of getting involved in the intricate details of assembling a development team, the client can rely on the expertise of the contractor to handle these operational aspects efficiently.
Outsourcing development offers the advantage of cost reduction, among other benefits. Hiring an outsourcing company is typically more cost-effective than hiring in-house IT specialists, allowing for better budget planning. Additionally, with a remote team, the client can save on office management, corporate expenses, HR, and other associated costs related to in-house employment.
One of the advantages of outsourcing development is that a client has the opportunity to assess the company’s track record, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and gain a deeper understanding of their capabilities before seeking their assistance. This way, they can make a more informed decision, reducing the risks of misunderstandings or the possibility of a failed project.
The Challenges of Outsourcing
The challenges of outsourcing software development include communication barriers, time zone differences, quality and security concerns, intellectual property issues, vendor dependency risks, and potential cultural clashes.
As with any third party service providers, there is a slight risk of data breaches or other security related issues. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that outsourcing companies have established themselves in the market with positive reviews and comply with security standards.
Due to time or cultural differences, it can be challenging to establish clear communication.
Especially when there is a severe time difference between the customer and the contractor, without proper communication channels and a well-functioning method of cooperation, the effectiveness of work on a project can suffer.
Estimating time can present problems for the customer. Very often, third-party developers underestimate the timing and complexity of the project, which inevitably means more work time needs to be allocated, and accordingly, higher costs for the customer. Outsourcing is a good, convenient, and low-risk option for companies that want to remain cost-efficient but have fast and high-quality results.
When Should You Choose Outsourcing?
When discussing the pros of outsourcing, we found that working with an outside team is financially more beneficial. This option is suitable for those who have a limited budget. Delegating the development to an outsourcing company will allow you to get a reliable product at a low cost, as compared to hiring your own team.
Outsourcing is preferred by those companies that need to get a solution in a short time. Here we should also mention the difficulty of selecting a personal team. You may simply not have the right specialist in your city. An outsourcing company gives you access to talents from all over the world.
Another case when outsourcing development is preferable is the lack of logistics in the company. The IT service provider has everything you need for each specialist to be productive. Therefore, as a client, you do not need to worry about technical resources.
How to Find an Outsourcing Team?
Before you begin your search, it’s important to determine the right outsourcing model. You can choose from three types of collaboration:
Onshore – the outsourcing company is located in your country but may be headquartered in another city. With this model, the problem of cultural differences is leveled out.
Nearshore – the IT service provider is located in a country close to yours. It is usually in the same time zone as you. This solves the problem of organizing communication.
Offshore – the vendor is located in a different time zone.
After deciding on a cooperation model, choose a way to search for outsourcers. This can be either an online platform or word of mouth. But first things first.
- Web sites with ratings and reviews on leading outsourcing companies. These include Clutch, The Manifest, Good Firms, and the like. Here you can customize your search filter to suit your needs, see reviews from former and current clients, and explore the company’s website.
- Search online. Just be prepared for the fact that the search engine will give you many different sites. To find the most suitable company, adjust your query and add details. For example, specify the desired country, type of development, etc.
- Social networks. The most popular is the professional online platform LinkedIn. Many IT companies and freelancers have their pages here. Also, a social network, Spiceworks was created specifically for cooperation in the development field.
- Word of mouth. Ask your acquaintances or partners about their experiences with outsourcers.
Outsourcing teams have an extensive online presence. Therefore, finding an outsourcing company is not much of a problem. All that remains is to look at the candidates you find and decide who will handle the implementation of your business project better.
In-House vs. Outsourcing—Stages of Software Development
After considering the strengths and weaknesses of your own team and the remote team, let’s look at the peculiarities of their activities at different stages of cooperation.