It’s one of the perennial challenges for companies of nearly every size, but particularly for mid-size businesses with limited IT resources: Should you outsource custom software development to an experienced software development firm or do it in-house, either through your existing team or by adding employees?
There’s no easy rule of thumb to follow, but here are a number of considerations you should weigh as you determine the path you want to take.
Pro: Provides immediate skills and expertise that your firm may lack
No matter how talented your IT team is, there are almost undoubtedly certain tech skills that your employees lack. If you’re a mid-range company, you may not have a full-time employee, or a complete team for that matter, with the specific experience necessary for the custom software development work that you need at a given moment.
Contracting with a firm is often a good alternative to asking members of your team to figure it out themselves. Not only will your employees likely take more time to complete the task, but the time they are spending on the project will take them away from working on the things that they were actually hired to do!
Con: Your employees might not appreciate it
When you decide that your team is not equipped to take on the task, be prepared for some of your employees to disagree. They may regard the decision to outsource as an indication that you lack confidence in their abilities. They may also resent the fact that you’re spending money on an outside firm instead of hiking their pay, particularly if they have been told recently that the company can’t afford to boost salaries or benefits.
Pro: Bandwidth for urgent projects
Bringing in a firm to assist with custom software development isn’t necessarily about finding substitutes for your employees. In many cases, the vendor is supplementing your existing workforce to help you meet a critical software development milestone. Your employees can only do so much, and an injection of expert software engineers can help you complete a particularly important sprint or institute a continuous development methodology.
Communication issues are common when dealing with people you don’t interact with on a daily basis. Dealing with personnel from outside firms often means relying on people you don’t know well. In fact, in some cases you may never meet them face-to-face if they’re working off-site. In addition, they may be used to a different work culture, perhaps one in which communication is more casual or more rigid and formal than at your company.
Pro: They’ve likely seen it all
One of the main benefits of an experienced development firm is that they have experience working with a wide variety of clients, different types of projects and multiple software development languages. As a result, they have a greater familiarity with the wide range of issues that companies encounter when putting in place new software than a developer who has only worked with one or two employers.
It’s pretty clear why your employees will strive to fulfill your demands. They have fully invested their career in your company. They have a major interest in maintaining their professional relationship with you. A software engineer from a third party vendor is ultimately accountable not to you but to the person running the software development firm.
If you find your software resources stretched too thin and can’t seem to hit important development deadlines, then now may be a good time to gives us a shout for a free consultation. We’re full of PROS and know how to prevent the CONS to help you get the results you seek!