When to Consider Offshore Software Development

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There are many notions floating around on what types of projects, what sizes and what kinds of projects can be offshore. There are as many myths surrounding them as real true stories. How to sift the wheat from the chaff?

For example, many small to medium-sized businesses believe that offshore software development is really meant for bigger companies. They think that hiring a small team of engineers will be enough. Will it really be enough?

The fact is, offshore software development works well across the spectrum of enterprises, both small and large and irrespective of their industry segments or customer base.

The reason for this is, offshore software development is not a vertical, standalone offering. It is an enabler. In fact, the software itself is an enabler – an enabler which leads to better business processes, cost efficiency, and faster turnaround times.

There are several companies which offer offshore software solutions and they work on the model of knowledge. They understand the client’s business and offer solutions which are customized to address specific needs. Whether it is SharePoint migration, a content management portal, an eCommerce platform or a multi-device software, these companies have made a business of understanding the pain areas and the solutions for specific domains and their knowledge, backed by technical expertise can help to produce faster and smarter solutions.

Whether the company is a small to medium-sized business or a larger conglomerate it can only stand to benefit from offshore software development. Take for example a commercial school bus fleet which provides tracking, safety, and optimization. The company believes in ensuring safe and efficient school bus-riding experience for children and parent. The company wanted a mobile app to track buses and thereby help schools to manage their fleet, at an affordable cost. The app would also be useful for parents to know bus arrival timings. The app, if it had to be developed in-house would require the company to move its focus from its core business, i.e. providing safe and secure school bus-riding to developing a technology solution. The shift in focus can have repercussions on its existing business along with cost implications and delayed releases. The company contracted an offshore software development firm to develop a customized app, with back-end server functionalities. The app was developed within stipulated time frames and went on to become a business model for other companies to follow. Its competitive advantage of floating the solution before its time ensured that it has gained a considerable advantage over its competitors. The client experiences business growth with minimal operational constraints. It has also expanded its business to cover other geographical locations.

This case study is only a small example of how a company benefited from offshore software development. Across the spectrum, many companies are trying to make their portals device agnostic. However, their web sites may exist in one language making mobile presence difficult. An offshore development company which has a strong team of engineers who can work on cross-platform applications will be able to create mobile presences for such companies without causing any worries.

In a similar case, many companies which have worked in an offline model, envisage a software solution to enhance their presence, improve processes, offer business efficiency and all at lowered costs. However, all these very reasons can be negated if the company decides to hire its own team of engineers. With constraints such as cost and time, the whole process from recruitment to testing will be a living nightmare and can, in the long run, prove to be over expensive, not exactly what was required or even be redundant.

To summarize, offshore software development is an option for companies irrespective of their businesses, industry or size. It is one of the best ways to make technology work for your advantage. In that sense, technology becomes an enabler and its advantages are important for companies to preserve their competitive advantage. To maximize the benefits of custom software, companies must prepare a comprehensive requirements list. The list should not outline what `they think’ is important. It should focus on end-customer benefits. These companies need not `talk’ technology. They should talk pain points. It is up to the service provider to convert these pain points into solutions using technology. It can’t get simpler than this, can it?

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