Nothing in life is black or white. This is applicable to outsourcing as well. Next to the advantages I described before, you have to face concerns as well. But should these risks be considered as serious disadvantages, as blockers for outsourcing or as a warning? Can we do something to turn them into pros?
1. Reduced control
Once you hire a company to outsource part of your business to, it implicates giving them the right to decide about many issues you used to decide yourself. It’s harder to get instant updates, it’s less easy to request ‘quick fixes’. This can cause stress, especially when you prefer to be fully in control. When others are in charge opinions may differ. In general, we think you can calm down and not panic. The main aim of your provider will be focused on delivering the perfect service to you within the boundaries of the contract. Frequent reports and (online) meetings should give you the feeling that you can still be in control, even within an outsourcing relationship.
2. Security and confidentiality
You may feel concerned about information you would have to reveal to the outsourcing company. This might be a real concern. Depending on your business and the location of your partner it is possible that you are not allowed to exchange your data. When it is about software development the best way to prevent this issue is exchange a set of test data. If you have to share confidential information it is important to choose the IT outsourcing company carefully, ask for references, interview personnel assigned, review their previous results, visit the team, agree about security procedures and make sure the contract encloses a penalty clause if any incidents occur.
3. Quality assurance
People fear it´s harder to assure the quality of an IT solution once the development is no longer within their own reach. I am not going to claim that all outsourcing projects lead to an increased quality, but it´s highly possible that the quality could increase. For an IT outsourcing company it is their core business to develop IT solutions. If proper design, development and test procedures are in place this should lead to higher quality solutions than doing everything yourself. For sure this needs an upfront investment from both sides. Try to get inside in your provider’s procedures, check references and request for code examples.
4. Communication in case of language and cultural barriers
Running your own business you want to realize your visions. Certainly, it’s rather difficult to explain them to people on a distance, may be even living in a completely different world. It’s even more possible you will be misunderstood if a language barrier occurs. You may be worried whether you will get exactly what you need, in the way you imagine it. Make sure that your IT outsourcing partner invests in some kind of consultancy. Discuss your needs with them and let them show how they understood your request through a “quick project overview”. If language differences are an issue, try to include even more feedback loops in your communication and put things on paper. Try to agree about an interactive project approach to make sure you can provide instant feedback on the project progress.
Summing it up: for sure outsourcing includes several risks. Therefore, I understand that you can feel concerned. Hopefully, the above shows that it is possible to manage those risks and to change them into opportunities. As I wrote before I firmly believe it is possible to achieve great results based on mutual trust. In case you would like to discuss your doubts feel free to contact us by using our contact form or meet us on Twitter: @GOYELLO.
VP Software Development Europe for Aspire Systems. Sociologist and electrotechnical engineer, a great combination that stimulates him to look for the best working software solutions for clients. Passionate about converting great ideas into new solutions. Married and a proud father of 3 great sons. Training for and participating in triathlons/runs to stay fit.
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