You’ve got mobile projects to build; now you must decide who builds them. In-house or outsourcing?
You want a great product that’s built on a firm architectural foundation. You want users to love it. You want your bosses to look at the project as a success. Are your internal resources up to the challenge? If not, how do you know what development partner is the right fit for your needs?
Challenges with in-house development
Most companies have in-house IT, and they are probably great at what they do. Likely, they already have a workload managing the day-to-day needs of your company – server maintenance, data management, hardware repairs, networking. But is mobile software development your in-house team’s core competency?
Mobile developers become experts through years of experience gained while working on various projects across different platforms and technologies across numerous industries. Peering into different scenarios (mCommerce, mobile banking, Internet of Things, security apps, healthcare projects, calendaring apps, social networks, etc.) gives developers unique perspectives on how to solve many different problems. This experience also provides exposure to countless new technologies.
According to our “Empowering Mobile Developers in 2015” survey findings, 44 percent of developers work in-house for a product company or brand. Unfortunately, in-house developers are often siloed on one platform or project, creating an unintentional skills gap. This gap often results from programmers using the same language for years without exposure to new technologies developed in other industries or on other platforms.
Turnover on long-term projects is another challenge for in-house development teams. New developers are hired onto an existing project where they were never part of the initial design and development team. They don’t have legacy knowledge, but they do have legacy code, which is often because of previous developers having dissimilar code styles.
While outsourcing your development to an independent team may make sense, sending that work overseas may not. When considering outsourcing work, many managers might first look at the perceived cost-savings an offshore team can provide. This is because developers in many parts of the world tend to be paid less than western developers.
Maybe this will save your company money, but there are challenges associated with engaging an offshore team due to time differences, language barriers, cultural differences and more. Your company could also be exposed to some unforeseen risk if a development team is unfamiliar with security protocols, legal standards or ethical business practices commonly practiced in your industry.
However, by working with a local team or a team that can easily travel to your location, you can reduce a lot of the anxiety and doubt associated with outsourcing development. You will develop a better client-consultant relationship by getting to know your team personally and working side-by-side with them. You also are less likely to inherit technical debt when working with a brilliant team of developers.
Attracting the right talent
Talented developers are hard to find, even more so for large, non-tech brands. Developers are attracted to companies that champion innovation and offer the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects. Consultancies offer an attractive environment for developers. According to our survey findings, 30 percent of developers work for a consultancy. In order to tap into that talent, companies will outsource mission-critical projects to outside teams.
Talented developers are attracted to consultancies or young product companies for several reasons:
- On-going training opportunities
- Continued access to mentorship by industry experts
- Exposure to cutting edge technologies
- Experience working on a variety of projects that cross many different industries
Their work won’t get stagnant, and they will gain more experience than in-house at a large brand – especially at a non-technology company. This gives independent development firms an advantage when competing against big brands for talent – strong candidates are naturally attracted to challenging, fast-paced environments.
While a brand’s in-house team may be more than capable of taking over a development project for maintenance purposes or iterating future phases on top of a solid architecture, a company seeking an industry leadership position must have an industry-leading product. Those products are built by highly skilled teams that have a wealth of experience they can apply to the project.
An experienced team will work with your company to develop the right strategy to meet your business goals. By taking its knowledge of user experience preferences and mobile marketing best practices, your outside development team can complement your in-house team of experts. By immersing themselves in your business, that outside team will quickly prove their value as your product team.
Your “new product team” has the expertise to begin work on Day 1. An outside team likely has expertise on multiple platforms; they don’t have any skills gap they must bridge. Many development teams also have invested time creating libraries of code that almost every project requires – like talking to a webserver or accessing a device’s camera. Once the team has the go-ahead on a project, a good portion of the code is already written. That allows the team to focus on the core features of your product.
An outside team also doesn’t shoulder the burden of keeping your company’s day-to-day business running like an in-house IT team must. Their only priority is developing a quality product on your behalf – they can accomplish this must faster because it is their only priority.
Finally, an outside team often offers solutions to many of the needs your team will have as it adopts mobile technology. From UX to front-end development to web services to testing and quality assurance, an external end-to-end solution provider will save your team time and money. Your in-house team can focus on what it does best – managing your company – while a strong external development team focuses on building a superior product that delivers on your mobile strategy.