It may be shocking at first but it’s not about the software at all. Software outsourcing companies can make software just fine – some better than others, naturally. It’s all about business value that comes from understanding your daily operations. In other words – it’s a good idea to translate your own and your customer’s needs into objectives for a software house and make sure it can deliver. The easiest way to do that is to check technical skills, and the ability to deliver business value. Market awareness doesn’t hurt either.
How do we learn about anything? By asking questions. Solutions developer can know about your industry but it can never know your challenges. The only way to truly know them is to know you. The company, the business sector, competition, goals. Finally, the people behind business decisions – their vision and goals for the product and view on impact the software product can make on their organization. Everything else – the details about cooperation, software development production cycle, post-sale support – is still important but comes secondary.
What is important when browsing for the development outsourcing company?
IT nearshoring doesn’t have to be tricky. Here are the most important areas you should pay attention to.
In fact, price is probably among the least important things in software development. Let’s be honest – software development costs a little bit more in comparison to picking up groceries. It’s because IT outsourcing companies rely on work made by professional software developers and they are worth the money. That drives many companies to look for cheaper solutions, especially southern Asia. Its local software developers are cheaper than those on established markets but for some people, they don’t seem to provide necessary expertise and support needed in a professional business environment.
That brings us to the first very important point that really does matter. In order to ask questions, learn client’s business and provide valuable software, language barrier can’t exist. Seamless communication is a must, therefore you may want to consider nations that are higher on the English Proficiency Index. For example, Poland is 13th in the world.
Language is not enough. You may be able to communicate but still not have a satisfactory level of cooperation. IT nearshoring and offshoring is beneficial for many companies because it provides undeniable benefits. New markets emerge and Central Europe is one of the strongest among them all. This region is close geographically and culturally to the United States and Canada, Western Europe and Scandinavia. Flights are shorter, common ground for business and technical conversations given and reasons to crack same jokes on breaks natural. Not to mention the same standards of data protection, which is an increasingly important reason for cooperation in days full of data leaks.
Imagine going to a restaurant. A guy is giving you a card, asking about the choice, bringing the meal and taking your money. That’s it, that’s the whole experience. Where are questions about your favorite meal, recommendations, allergies-related follow-up? This is not a pleasant evening with wine and music, this is a meat-grinding factory.
A company which doesn’t ask questions is doomed to fail. Simple as that. A sales representative, business analyst, project manager, delivery manager, developer, and QA manager should always ask questions about the client, industry, and project they are currently making. That way any doubts and miscommunication can be avoided or ruled out very early, leaving no room for unintentional mistakes.
Any development outsourcing company wants to deliver quality software, must be internally organized. Nothing screams ‘effectiveness’ louder then a list of established processes, leading to the completion of a client’s project. These processes are:
Cooperation between the software development company and a client – online, offline and face-to-face periodic communication
Recognition of clients’ needs
Building a team of seasoned software developers
Software product delivery
Post-sales support (IT consultations, mentoring, scaling advisory services)
These processes are the key to successful software development and IT nearshoring in general. Companies which represent a process-oriented mindset offer high quality of services and are able to react faster and deliver in a more predictable manner.
First, answer yourself - what is the technology on which your software is built on, or based on which technology you plan to develop your solution? Then check what technologies are bread and butter for the particular development outsourcing company? What is the core, what is not? IT outsourcing provider that you choose should work in programming technologies that you use, or that are best for developing your solution.
Can the company find the right software developer if they don’t have them on board? Can they seamlessly introduce them to the project and gain customers’ trust? What management methodologies does the provider know? Is the company Agile? Can they do Waterfall? What about Time & Material or Fixed Price? What tools do they use for quality assurance, reporting, conferences?
These questions are very important because they directly impact time of the project, price, and dynamics of the business relationship. Perfectly, the development outsourcing company utilizes not only JIRA/Confluence tools, works in all mentioned above delivery models but thinks ahead. It can, for example, use tools like Calendly for easy time bookings.
Working in Agile doesn’t automatically mean that given company is flexible. Agile is a methodology but in reality, it’s a mindset. Can your offshore software solutions provider adjust when you change the scope of the project? If not, look for another one.
The worn-out phrase ‘there’s an app for it’ still applies. To various situations, like knowing the difference (and having the operational ability to do both!) between the development of a native or hybrid mobile application.
That’s not all. Since the mobile market is very diverse, it’s very demanding too. You want your application to look and work great on any device. Smartphone and tablet screen size variations make it especially difficult to design an effective but still visually attractive interface.
That’s still not all. What about voice control? Does your application need that? Should you have it? Aside from IT consultancy aspect and the development outsourcing company’s ability to advise you on a matter, you should think about that feature. Voice control is gaining ground as one of the dominating trends in the IT industry and it’s for a reason. It can, will and already does generate substantial revenue.
Is it possible for your organization to long-time benefit from the cooperation with a software outsourcing company? Naturally! Software outsourcing projects demands a constant cooperation and periodic contact for updates. Even in the case of IT nearshoring, where physical distance is naturally less important.
By cooperating with a team on a distance, your team will develop or expand necessary communication skills. It will also learn from managing a project with a new team. Not to mention meeting new people and draw from their culture, take on business, processes, technical developments in the industry and so on. Can you honestly say that all of this is possible when English skills, same culture, and process-oriented mindset are not in place?
Many parents ask their children about the sounds made by animals. How does a dog bark? Woof-woof. How does a cat do? Miaow-miaow. What does software do? Well, the software does not do anything. Software, any kind of software for any kind of company from any given industry, is just a tool. It can be better or worse, written with a clean or more… challengeable code but in itself, it’s just a tool. People behind it are everything. Through the process of IT nearshoring, the client learns that the only thing that matters, business-wise, is the delivery of the business solution. That what comes after weeks or months, started with asking questions.
This point is usually reserved for marketing and PR agencies. It shouldn’t be limited to them since the IT outsourcing companies are directly responsible for the market performance of their clients. This truth is known by any manager in metalworking or automotive industry, who had to choose a software development vendor responsible for making a software supporting robotic arms or delivering infotainment system.
The software can make or break the company. Delivering business value (solving problems, writing clean code, offering IT consultancy services) is one thing, understanding the brand is another. When a team delegated to contact the client can not only make the code but also advise on how software should be made, what features are necessary and what are not, a provider suddenly becomes a partner, not a vendor. Let’s revisit a restaurant metaphor. You can still eat at a burger joint and satisfy your hunger but half an hour later your stomach will require something substantial. And that’s exactly what separates line cooks from chefs.
All previously mentioned points are very important but let’s be honest. In reality, the only thing that really matters is the golden mantra taken straight from a 2001 Agile Manifesto:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
You find a software development outsourcing company that understands these principles and you’re golden. There is of course nothing wrong with contacting us. 😊