Oscar Wilde once said; “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it… I can resist everything but temptation.” This is true for most of us in the business world, we are constantly looking for ways to be more profitable, faster and increase our overall capacity.
In the world of technology, outsourcing development overseas can be a very tempting proposition, especially with limited access to talent in an ever growing digital world. Over the past few years, I’ve spoken to countless companies both in the startup realm and the marketing and advertising industry, which my company, Moo Digital, operates in. I, for one, do not advocate overseas outsourcing; we hire all of our developers in-house and have been very fortunate to do so. Most of our clients work with us, because they find outsourcing overseas unreliable and costly. Yes, believe it or not, costly.
Rather than give a rather lengthy reason as to why outsourcing isn’t the most efficient way to develop a product or platform, I’m going to share how it can be effective first. Many companies are building dedicated development teams overseas. They have a senior manager that is familiar with the language, country, culture and have experience structuring a development environment suitable for the respective company. For larger organizations that have the capital and bandwidth, this can be extremely cost effective in lieu of paying exuberant salaries and/or recruiter fees. Most companies realize that a very intelligent workforce comes at a significant cost savings. The key here is the ability for a company to streamline the development process with the appropriate tools, oversight, documentation and technologies.
On the flip side, all of us get inundated with emails, phone calls and Linkedin invites from offshore development reps. It’s pretty impressive that every company knows every language, every framework and can build an iOS app for under $5k. It’s hard explaining to a company looking to develop a web or mobile app why our cost is 3-4+ times more than an overseas shop. Factor in time, project management, quality of code, design and QA, you can quickly learn how integral a dedicated developer and/or partner can be. From my experience, there are significant issues with the quality of code, interface design, support, on-going maintenance and overall technical advising from overseas companies. Those who don’t heed the warning and/or advice tend to spend a significant amount of capital twice, the first go-around trying to save money and the second picking up the pieces.
One of the reasons why we’ve focused our dev team around agency support is because most large companies are requiring US based development for security reasons. On top of that, companies are becoming more and more versed in tech, and their expectation level is increasing from a design and development standpoint. From an agency perspective, why risk a client’s project to save money when there is a more viable solution. In regards to timelines and deliverables — transparency, communication and collaboration is of the utmost importance.
Another factor to consider is the speed of innovation. I believe that developing countries, while they have the talent, are still behind on a lot of the trends including: parallax, responsive design, single-page scrolling, custom animation and the list goes on. It’s safe to mention that most of these styles and concepts are changing every 6-8 months, so the ability to keep abreast of whats new, hot and innovative might be limited to the more basic development work that is driving their overall volume.
In closing, if you are looking to build an application, either web or mobile, do it right. Find a partner or team that is going to embrace your idea and offer not only a path to architecting your own team but also the knowledge, experience and collaboration to bring your idea to fruition both timely and cost effectively.