8 September, 2020
If you type in “IT outsourcing services” using any web search engine – most probably, you’ll find plenty of advertisements published by outsourcing companies from all around the world. In most cases, it would be a presentation of their stack and the IT outsourcing services they offer. Since we have over 7 years of experience in IT outsourcing and software consultations, and we managed to help a variety of businesses of all sizes to achieve many different goals, we feel in a position to present you with a slightly different point of view on IT outsourcing services. What you’ll find below is not a simple and boring catalog of technologies and frameworks, but a list of real-life scenarios in which IT outsourcing services can really get useful.
IT outsourcing services in 2020
So, once we agree that you would rather steer clear of reading through another superficial catalog-esque article, let me briefly remind you what IT outsourcing really means in 2020. Strictly speaking, I will focus on outsourcing software development – because that’s probably the thing that you’re looking for.
Historically speaking, software development outsourcing may be associated with such areas as the Republic of India or generally Southern and Eastern Asia. For many years, at least from a European perspective, outsourcing has meant moving software development to a company in a distant country.
Over the last few years, however, the situation in the IT outsourcing market has changed considerably. More and more companies decide to look for a software development partner nearby. And one particular region emerged to challenge India’s outsourcing supremacy: Central and Eastern Europe. Countries like Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Ukraine are famous for the outsourcing of IT services, offering a great price-quality ratio.
Due to that shift, we can now distinguish two approaches regarding software development outsourcing: offshoring (moving the work to a distant country) and nearshoring (choosing to outsource to a nearby country). Eventually, nearshoring proved to be the next big thing, as for example, Nordic companies have truly fallen in love with IT outsourcing to nearby countries.
Obviously, outsourcing of IT solutions is something that’s changing rapidly, still remaining unknown for some entrepreneurs and their business. Should you need any more information about the risks of outsourcing or SaaS companies’ concerns about software development outsourcing, feel free to click on those links. Tl;dr: even though having some initial concerns comes natural, outsourcing solutions definitely aren’t “unknown” anymore so if you prepare properly, there’s really nothing to fear.
Now, having all the basics settled, we can step to the promised list of five real-life business stories we took part in. I decided to sort them out starting from the non-technical ones and finishing with some more specific examples.
Story #1 – Non-technical company looking to take advantage of technical transformation
Every company is a tech company to some extent. It’s because sooner or later everyone realizes that good software can boost business and bring some real advantages. Your company may prosper very well but it may happen that at some point you will notice that you’re lacking the proper software. Let’s outsource it!
It was the case with one of our clients – Flyo. This Norwegian company came up with a new, innovative airport shuttle idea. The concept worked great but operating on multiple spreadsheets and dozens of emails quickly appeared to be ineffective. They decided that the best way to change it would be by outsourcing IT services. We helped them digitise and automate their processes. We started with an in-depth analysis of the project. Then, we developed a new platform for workflow management and created a web app for the clients of Flyo. What’s more, we were responsible for mobile applications development – for both the clients and the drivers . And, on top of that, we took care of the whole digital product design (branding included).
The introduction of web and mobile applications turned out to be a pivotal moment for Flyo. It helped the company increase their customer service efficiency by 560%.
This story presents a very wide spectrum of possible IT outsourcing services which may start with a simple need to improve the process and end up with a whole package of web and mobile apps (as well as the digital product design) completely transforming your business. This case is universal for the majority of non-technical companies as outsourcing the software development to the proven software house is one of the easiest ways to cut costs, get professional service and boost your business.
Story #2 – Getting rid of the technical debt and refactoring the existing system
It may happen that you run a company that actually uses some software – sometimes off-the-shelf, sometimes custom – for a long time but this software suite doesn’t keep up with the market needs anymore. It was developed in the past and it was not built future-proof. Bummer. But, well, that just happens. The only thing you can do (except for developing the whole thing from scratch, obviously) is to refactor and upgrade the existing system. Been there, done that!
Speakers Corner is a leading international booking service with over 7.500 keynote speakers. For years, they have been working using a custom platform but, after some time, the system turned out to be inefficient. In order to grow and attract high-quality customers, Speakers Corner decided to develop a new solution. Let’s give the floor to the managing director of Speakers Corner – Nick Gold (and here’s the full interview with him for you to check):
“We wanted to get some people who understood how to develop the system properly, get them involved, get them to be our partners – to make sure that as we grow, they will grow with us so we can develop some amazing ideas together. To be honest, there are a lot of people who are able to develop code but the real value is an understanding of the business process.”
And guess what. We were those guys – with necessary experience, trying (with success) to understand Speakers Corner’s needs and business process. After a thorough analysis of the Speakers Corner system, we managed to track down the elements requiring immediate improvement and we rebuilt the system to make sure it would meet the requirements of users.
It’s a great example of how IT outsourcing services helped the company to achieve better results. Knowing their business objectives and needs were crucial for us to provide some support to improve and strengthen their existing platform. Again – it’s a pretty common scenario that the company has the necessary infrastructure but needs to execute some improvements. IT service outsourcing companies like us can come with a helping hand (and some world-class code).
Story #3 – You cannot find the right software developers
There are over 26,5 million software engineers in the world but even though many companies still struggle with the lack of software engineers. Some time ago, I wrote an article on software engineers shortage and I tried to illustrate how IT services outsourcing companies can help with that.
Long story short – there are several reasons for that. Lack of experience, formal engineering education, technical skills or soft skills may be an issue alongside high salary demands.
Inexperienced candidates are mostly those newly graduated software engineers. Obviously, everyone needs to start their career somewhere but for a potential employer, the lack of work experience may outweigh all the advantages. On the other hand – there’s plenty of software developers who lack formal education, whilst plenty of employers would rather expect their future recruits to be at least an undergraduate in a STEM degree.
You can also find a senior developer with over 10 years of experience in the software development area who lacks skills in some technologies (like the newest trends or the tech stack that you’re using in your company). If you’re lucky enough to find a suitable candidate with the proper education, technical skills and experience to join your team, it may soon appear that they lack soft skills – which, in short words, makes them difficult to cooperate with. Also, software developers can be really picky which doesn’t make it any easier.
Again, we played our role in the story of a technology company struggling to find the right software developers and thus deciding to turn to an IT outsourcing company. In an honest interview about their success, Matthijs Piëst talks about the reasons why his company, WieBetaaltWat, decided to outsource software development to The Software House:
“Before, we had our own team in Amsterdam, but we soon found out that it’s difficult to find the right people locally. Amsterdam is a quite competitive technology market. That’s why we grew our partnership with The Software House. We’re not looking for junior people who only do what they’re asked to, we rather look for smart people – let their voice be heard, let them be proactive”.
The WieBetaaltWat example is not a solitary one. Many emerging companies and start-ups are just weary of competing with big fish and rather want to eschew that war for talent. Again, outsourcing IT solutions may be the answer. It’s a relatively easy way to cut costs, choose from multiple solutions and get the necessary technology experience and support.
Story #4 – You need specialists with unique skills and competences ad hoc
Another story is about a whole lot of companies which suddenly need specialists with unique skills, competences or proficiency in a certain technology. It may be a tech company which needs to develop a mobile app as soon as possible but has no mobile development department. Or a digital marketing agency which needs some specific software developers “just for this project”. Or maybe an IT company which needs experts in microservices (or any other not-so-basic stuff) as soon as possible.
Yes, you guessed right. We proved our value in that ad hoc support as well. A good way to illustrate that is to mention the story of our cooperation with Property Finder. Our support started with their pressing need to refactor and modernize their existing systems and they were looking for a DevOps partner to help them. DevOps engineers are very desirable – as they can take care of the security, speed and scalability of your software’s infrastructure – but not many companies can afford to have a DevOps specialist onboard full-time. That’s why Property Finder outsourced it to us – and, after proving ourselves with DevOps services, we’ve been engaged in some additional web development projects.
Outsourcing IT services gives you the flexibility in that matter. If you know that you need some specialists for a certain project, you don’t have to hire developers permanently – you can choose a partner to deliver a project and then you can decide whether you need to expand the scope and scale the team up or you don’t need the support any longer.
Story #5 – You need to pivot your business extremely fast
We all love unexpected turns of events, right? Yes, I’m talking about you, the year of 2020, you little scoundrel! 😩 Especially if we need to turn the whole business upside down overnight. However, it just happens that software development outsourcing can provide reliable support in that matter too. And we’ve got something to brag about in this area as well, as we offered ad hoc support to execute a spectacular and successful business pivot this year!
One of our recent partners, StageClip, makes it possible for universities and high schools from all around the world to create individualized video clips from graduation ceremonies. Due to the outbreak of the “You-Know-What” pandemic, the British company needed to change their plans and move the real-life university ceremonies to the internet. So… they decided to have it outsourced to The Software House. The biggest challenge for us was a very tight deadline, as the graduation ceremonies were getting closer and closer. We needed to scale up the development team accordingly, making sure we meet the deadline and deliver the product on time. But our effort worked – the project was delivered within the expected timeframe, meeting all the technical objectives.
Thanks to the new solution, StageClip is now capable of providing its services to way more clients than ever before – we’re talking about over 800 universities and thousands of students! Pivot complete.
The conclusion coming from this example is pretty straightforward. You can run a software company and be successful, but if something unexpected happens – it’s cheaper, faster and safer to find an outsourcing partner rather than doing everything on your own.
As you can see, there are many examples of when outsourcing IT services may help your business strive for survival and achieve better results. Nevertheless, when you decide to outsource software development to an external vendor, you must be sure that you trust your partner and the chosen vendor won’t let you down. That’s why it’s always very important to conduct thorough research and take into consideration a variety of factors before making any decision. Independent data-driven online guides and rankings for B2B buying and hiring decisions such as Clutch may be helpful.
However, I hope that the real-life scenarios presented above speak for themselves best. We do offer proven outsourcing solutions. But if you have any more questions about software development outsourcing, I’ll highly recommend reading our free e-book, “Developing your software abroad”. You’ll find there some additional insights, thorough analysis and other useful content about software development outsourcing.
And, if instead of reading e-books, you’d rather talk about your business needs with a team of professionals – feel free to contact us straight away! We’ll be more than happy to discuss your ideas and any concerns you may have. Initial software consultations at The Software house are always free of charge.