There are many benefits to offshore outsourcing. For example, if you are developing new products and need the help of skilled software developers, offshore outsourcing gives you access to huge pool of hard-to-find technical talent. In addition, if you are a start-up company operating on a lean budget and in need of custom software development, offshore outsourcing gives you the opportunity to save both money and time.
Not only does offshore outsourcing provide you with access to software developers trained in all the latest computer languages, platforms and devices, but by cutting the costs and risks associated with hiring and training additional full-time employees, it may help you expand your business and not your budget.
Before you turn to offshore outsourcing as a solution to your technical needs and challenges though, it is important for you to consider the potential risks involved. Here are six possible risks of offshore outsourcing software development.
6 Risks of Offshore Outsourcing Software Development
While there are clear benefits to offshore outsourcing, the process is not always seamless. There are certain pitfalls you will want to work to avoid before you begin outsourcing software development overseas. Here are six risks to avoid with international outsourcing:
- Communication Problems – Regardless of whether you need short-term technical help or a long term partnership, clear communication is very important when you outsource software development overseas. Depending on the company and country that you engage for your international outsourcing, communication challenges can pose a real problem. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the key contact people that are responsible for gathering and communicating the requirements for your project. Sometimes unstable technical infrastructure in certain regions of the world leads to sporadic telephone and internet access, making it unexpectedly difficult for you to communicate with offshore software developers.
- Time Zone Differences – If your IT team uses an agile scrum approach to software development, chances are that you will want regular ongoing communication with members of your offshore team. This may not be possible if you are working with offshore software developers located in far-away locations like China or India. Nearshore locations like Costa Rica offer a more practical solution to offshore outsourcing since Costa Rica is conveniently situated in the Central Time Zone.
- Safety Challenges – When you are outsourcing software development overseas, regional safety should be another issue you consider in advance. Domestic and regional conflict in an area may impact things like employee stability and communication. Safety concerns will also likely impact whether you or members of your team are able to travel for meetings with your offshore software developers.
- Cultural Factors – Depending on the region of the world where you decide to outsource software development, cultural factors including religious holidays and work schedule norms may affect overall efficiency, communication and project management more generally. While you may be accustomed to U.S. patterns around certain major holidays and school schedules, keep in mind that these can vary significantly in other regions of the world, and may have an impact on your experience with offshore outsourcing.
- Work Quality – Though you may be looking to offshore outsourcing to save money, it is likely that you do not want to sacrifice work quality in order to do this. Not all companies involved in offshore outsourcing deliver the same quality when it comes to project management and coding. It is important to do your research when you engage an IT outsourcing firm and this includes asking for some current customer testimonials so you have a good sense of what you can expect in terms of work quality.
- Challenge of Distance – Sometimes when team members are not in the same room as you, it can be easier to forget that they are there to assist. Perhaps especially in the beginning, it is possible to underutilize offshore software developers by not assigning enough work and forgetting that they are there to help. An experienced and professional offshore outsourcing firm will help you navigate this process, though, so that you learn to take full advantage of the opportunity your offshore software developers provide.
As with most business services, it is critical to do your homework before you choose a partner company for offshore outsourcing software development. Asking informed questions before you choose a partner for international outsourcing will help you avoid common pitfalls while making your experience more positive and productive.