Today's business is demanding, dynamic and profit-driven. In the era of widespread digitisation, dynamic IT development, fierce competition, and constantly changing customer needs, business owners have to react quickly, constantly adapting to trends while optimising costs.
IT outsourcing will help you with the latter, providing your company with the ability to focus on the most important activities. The only question is how to choose the right partner? And what are the benefits of such cooperation?
Should I hire an in-house IT specialist or outsource?
Nowadays, for every growing enterprise that maintains IT infrastructure, cooperation with a trusted IT department (whether it is in-house or IT outsourcing) is an absolute necessity. Hence, we need solutions that will be economically justified and will have a positive impact on the company’s operations.
Hiring full-time IT specialists is associated with additional costs. What is more, when hiring new employees, there is often a need for their proper training, needed equipment etc. and it does not necessarily mean a higher quality of services compared to a software development company.
By deciding to cooperate with a software development company, you get a bespoke solution, as opposed to the purchase of commonly available out-of-the-box software. The offer is fully tailored to your business needs, distinguishing your products and services from other’s.
Thanks to the outsourcing’s flexibility, you can still outsource individual areas that do not require so much commitment – even if you decide to go for your own IT department. This is why IT outsourcing has become a global trend giving enterprises instant access to experts in many fields and ensuring comprehensive services on demand.
What is outsourcing?
In simple words, IT outsourcing can be explained as the transfer of tasks, functions, projects and processes to an external company. In the context of IT, we are usually referring to the services of software development outsourcing, followed by maintenance, and technical support.
There are many reasons why companies choose this model of cooperation. Due to rapid development, businesses are starting to lack employees who have the appropriate knowledge to implement increasingly complex processes. Enterprises need to constantly invest in the development of IT infrastructure, as well as in additional computing power resources to process and secure an increasing amount of the company’s data.
Many companies decide to outsource IT because they are running out of maintenance for their current IT infrastructure. The assistance from the outsourcing provider allows not only to efficiently transfer systems to the new infrastructure but also to provide administration and monitoring services after migration. There is also an opportunity to discuss the issue of purchasing tailored software, as the software development companies usually offer the service of IT consulting.
Keep in mind that the use of a professional IT outsourcing service shows the maturity of the company.
The advantages of outsourcing IT services
IT outsourcing allows you to solve many problems related not only to the direct implementation of a given project. So, why exactly is IT outsourcing profitable?
- No more recruiting problems
Companies that provide IT outsourcing services employ specialists from several IT fields who have already cooperated with many enterprises. They match highly qualified specialists with extensive knowledge and experience to your needs.
- Budget optimisation
Cooperation with a software development company is cheaper than employing an independent specialist.Thanks to instant access to a team with different specialisations, your company acquires greater development opportunities.
As you do not have to hire specialists permanently, you have full control over a given project, including its costs. Outsourcing contracts are usually based on the time worked by the developers, which makes it much easier to control the progress of development, especially for programmers working remotely.
As IT outsourcing companies usually have huge developer bases, specialists can start working on the project much faster than the ones from the traditional recruitment.
- The flexibility of cooperation
The client can individually define the SLA conditions according to the needs of his business, as well as modify its scope during the term of the contract. Consequently, the technological development of the company occurs much faster, making it easier to follow the current business trends.
- Risk reduction
Lack of support in the field of IT may cause a lot of problems for the company including the ones related to hardware and software failures, data theft or leakage.
- High-quality service
The contract for the provision of IT services, followed by strong references, and well-established brand is more powerful than the candidate’s CV (which could be hard to verify).
- Modern technology
IT companies have a wider range of tools and possibilities than an independent IT specialist. They have access to the latest technologies, so you will not have to invest in additional equipment or software.
- Individual conditions
Outsourcing allows you to freely choose the offer, but also to create dedicated solutions, tailored to your company’s business needs.
- Efficient response in case of breakdowns or crises
– as opposed to a full-time IT specialist who is not financially responsible for any mishaps. The support of experts is at your fingertips. All you need to do is to contact the company and present the problem to receive help immediately.
- Convenience and availability
A full-time IT specialist is usually available for about 8 hours a day. IT outsourcing services can cover 24 hours a day.
- Access to many professional services in one place
By signing a contract, you get access to many interesting opportunities.
What is more, a comprehensive IT service for companies can also focus on increasing the security of sensitive data and documents of strategic importance, networks, or devices.
Freelancer or a software development company?
Cooperation with a software development company that has been present on the market for a long time gives you a sense of security and a warranty of receiving help when needed. It is not a one-man company, but a team of experienced specialists you can always count on.
The freelancer, on the other hand, has limited resources, which affects the job possibilities. Obviously, he/she can queue work and even hire other specialists to help with subcontract tasks. However, it is never as simple and fast as in a software development company, where a team of programmers, testers, and analysts is at your fingertips, ensuring uninterrupted progress.
A software outsourcing company offers not only a sense of security when working on a project but also a comprehensive customer service. By establishing cooperation with it, you receive the support of specialists with industry experience who will advise you on the most optimal and tailored solutions. You also gain technical support and the possibility of further development of the system, following the needs of the developing market.
How to choose an IT outsourcing provider?
What do you have to pay attention to when choosing an IT service provider?
- Define your goals
Start by identifying your business needs and goals, then establish a realistic plan to bring your product to market. The more details you provide to the design team, the easier it will be to determine if a software development company can meet your requirements.
REMEMBER: If you know what technology your project requires choose a company specialising in a given field. However, if you can’t tell, an experienced software development company should help you choose the best technology for your application idea.
- Company experience
Experience is an invaluable source of knowledge and a very specific indication of what style of cooperation you can expect from the team. If a given IT company has cooperated or collaborates with brands from your industry, you have a very clear, positive signal that should not be ignored. They most likely already know the specifics, main features, processes, pain points, and needs that are characteristic for your business. Of course, this must be later verified and developed individually.
REMEMBER: Pay attention to business stability and check the supplier’s operational and financial stability before starting cooperation. The fact that the company has been operating successfully for many years is always a good signal.
- Practical knowledge
You must be convinced that the company is based on professional and specialist knowledge. Check the competencies of the IT specialists who will look after your company. What are their specialisations? Do they improve their qualifications? Do they know the needed tools and solutions? The indications will be certificates, diplomas and any other evidence of skills improvement. After all, an IT company is not a logo, but people.
REMEMBER: Trust your instincts. A visit to the company’s blog, or short conversation with the team can confirm if the specialists from a given IT company have professional knowledge.
- Individual offer
One of the most important factors determining the success of cooperation with an IT company is the adjustment of its services to specific business needs. Pay attention, and precisely define, to what extent your company has an influence on the shape of the outsourcing contract and if the proposed solutions truly meet the specified requirements.
REMEMBER: The latest technology does not always mean the best choice, sometimes it is worth using the ones already used in prior projects. Make sure the ones you base your project on are the ones you need.
- SLA: maximum performance and availability
The SLA (Service Level Agreement) regulates the scope of cooperation between the client and the supplier. It is a warranty of the quality of IT services provided, including such issues as i.e., response time in the case of a failure, solution delivery, or the level of availability of specialists. It is also worth noting that in the event of a breach of the SLA, the entrepreneur can claim substantial compensation.
REMEMBER: It is also worth asking the software house about the approach to remote cooperation, project management and communication. All this will allow you to decide whether the possible cooperation will run smoothly.
- Cost level and their rationalisation
Always consider the price-quality ratio of the IT services outsourcing. The assessment of cooperation costs requires a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) analysis, in which one should take into account the costs associated not only with the purchase of a given solution but also its maintenance and use.
Paradoxically, the low price should raise more doubts than the high one. What is included in this price is more important than the cost itself. Plus, if you want to save some pennies, we highly recommend you to compare prices between different models of IT outsourcing, especially in countries close culturally and geographically.
REMEMBER: Many activities can be performed remotely today. Thus, more and more companies choose the nearshoring model – outsourcing to regions less geographically and culturally distant. And, according to the Executive Brief Outsourcing 2019 report, Poland is in the top 3 nearshoring locations in the world.
- The organisation of work (and communication)
Since you are going to cooperate with a given company, it is good to check how its communication works. Good work organisation will translate into the proper functioning of your company and will affect the course of the entire IT service.
REMEMBER: As a client you should always feel informed and aware of the direction in which the work is going throughout the entire project.
- Development vision
Before establishing cooperation, it is worth checking how the IT company approaches the issue of development. Does it use modern solutions and keep up with industry trends? What development path does it propose for your business? This is important because the IT industry is very dynamic, so it is always worth asking for details. Does the company only offer basic IT services? Or, maybe they are aware of the changing business needs and also propose innovative solutions and dedicated tools?
REMEMBER: The scope of IT services will be a big hint here. If, in addition to standard IT services, there are industry-specific, dedicated or related fields – it means that your company will be able to count on comprehensive support. Not only in theory.
- Reputation and opinions
Nothing confirms the reliability and quality of services offered by a supplier as well as the opinions of satisfied customers. When choosing an outsourcer, it is, therefore, worth checking the references provided by other clients and the certificates.
It is good if the supplier has experience in working with companies from various sectors of the economy. The number of references will not always be decisive, but if a company does not have them at all, this is already a disturbing signal.
REMEMBER: Check the testimonials on the software house’s website and browse well-known review sites such as Clutch (you can find reviews from our customers here).
- Corporate IT security
Nowadays, there are more threats than ever before, which means that there is an obvious need to properly secure company systems, databases, as well as your clients’ data. In the security thread, it is also worth mentioning the GDPR law, which requires a change in the approach to data processing and security issues. Software development companies must know how to effectively protect corporate data.
REMEMBER: Before choosing a partner, find out how they approach IT security, what solutions they use, whether they have GDPR implementations, security policies and ISO certifications in place.
- Approach and commitment
The approach to the client, negotiations, talks, approach to problems, challenges and implementation of assumed plans is crucial and reveals what IT service will look like in practice. If you feel that the IT company shows commitment and initiative at the very first contact, it is a sign that you have come to the right place. It can manifest in different ways, take different forms, but in general, it is always a positive impulse.
REMEMBER: Your company will be serviced by a given person or a team of people. At the meeting, it is worth asking who it is and getting to know him/her and check if your vision coincides with his/her. In terms of communication, it is also worth asking what the process of collaboration looks like in practice.
Choosing the proven IT company – a handful of good practices
Keep in mind that IT outsourcing should be viewed as a partnership. The supplier has to understand the customer’s needs well and be able to translate them into specific services that will increase the stability, security and functionality of IT systems.
Good software development companies run projects listening to the clients’ needs. Always pay attention to whether the IT outsourcing partner asks a lot of questions as the more questions you get, the more the team is involved in your project.
IT outsourcing is especially profitable in times of a pandemic
The coronavirus crisis has resulted in many changes related to the management of the company. Many companies have moved their businesses online and employees have been delegated to perform their duties remotely. Business meetings, and even contracts are now held over the Internet.
Thus, the times have come when an efficiently developed IT segment of a company becomes not so much an asset as a necessity. However, not every enterprise is prepared for an immediate change in the business model. An excellent solution to this situation can be IT outsourcing. And, if you are afraid of communication, time, and cultural barriers we highly recommend you learn more about the nearshoring model.
Choosing a right partner to develop your solution with is a big step. Take your time to analyse the chosen software development company. The more you learn about a given company and its IT services, the greater the chance of successful cooperation. The more accurate your research is, the less risky the decision itself will be. And most of all, meet up, talk face to face (or remotely if that’s the only option) and ask questions.
If you seek more information on software development outsourcing, we encourage you to go through the IT outsourcing guide, learn more from our platform dedicated to nearshoring, or schedule a free call with our specialised outsourcing advisor right away!