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Overcoming Challenges in Software Outsourcing: Tips for a Smooth Collaboration

Software outsourcing remains an ever-popular corporate strategy for organisations seeking to leverage external expertise and enhanced productivity in their software development projects. With software outsourcing expected to reach $430 billion in 2023, it is clear that such a model is increasingly being adopted by businesses worldwide. 

Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

 

What is more, on account of the rapid growth of the tech industry and the ongoing digital transformation of businesses, it is hard to ignore the skills shortage that is pervading the technology sector across the UK and Europe. With this in mind, outsourcing to external providers might not just evidence your commitment to a diverse workforce, but it is rather a must-have tool to streamline business processes and facilitate growth. 

 

Nevertheless, like any other business endeavour, software outsourcing comes with its own challenges; overcoming these is crucial to ensure a smooth collaboration and a successful outcome. 

 

This blog post will underline the key challenges that software outsourcing process may pose and the best ways to avoid them. 

 

What Is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is a practice whereby companies delegate software development projects to an external provider. Unlike nearshoring or offshoring, geographical location does not take centre stage, it encompasses both, and the main objective is to accelerate product development by harnessing the skills of a wider talent pool. 

 

Why Do Companies Choose to Outsource?

It is important to remember that companies outsource for a variety of reasons, taking into account their individual business needs and objectives. Below is a list of common reasons why companies opt for outsourcing: 

 

 



 

What Are the Challenges Posed by Outsourcing?

Despite its considerable advantages, outsourcing may bring about some challenges that need to be acknowledged:

  1. Communication Challenges

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful collaboration, and software outsourcing is no exception. With a remote approach and teams working in different locations, communication can be tricky to maintain at a high level.

 

Likewise, in the field of communication, it is important to ensure that the transfer of knowledge is effective and useful. With poor transfer of knowledge, you can risk project specifications being misunderstood and parameters ignored. 

  1. Quality Control

Ensuring that the project matches corporate expectations ensures that a rigorous quality control mechanism is in place. Unfortunately, maintaining such a quality standard can be difficult when outsourcing, with the potential of limited visibility over the project and its development. 

 

Similarly, not all outsourcing companies will have the same standards to uphold as yours, and this can result in a potentially compromised quality output and, overall, less productivity. 

  1. Finding the Right Outsourcing Partner

There are a number of outsourcing vendors who all offer the same (or at least very similar) services, and it is crucial to find the partner who best suits your requirements. Without understanding what the outsourcing partner can offer you, many important elements of the collaboration can be misconstrued – ambiguous project costs, parameters, and unfair negotiations, to cite some examples.

 

Another issue could arise if the outsourcing partner does not have the relevant domain experience. As attractive as their track record may appear on the surface, if it’s not in your domain then their developers may not have the requisite skills to fulfil your needs and drive business growth. 

  1. Cultural Differences

Whilst certainly providing its fair share of advantages, the difficulties that could potentially arise from the cultural and/or language barrier could be problematic, especially if you opt for an offshoring outsourcing model

 

When we talk about cultural differences, it is also important to consider the working culture in that region, in terms of management styles, importance given to agile practices, or ownership. All of these small nuances combined can make up for a very different work environment than yours.

  1. Security Concerns

If the outsourcing vendor is negligent with their security policies and handling of sensitive information, you could expose yourself to a serious breach of data. 

 

An outsourcing partnership would inevitably involve the exchange of critical company information and this could easily become compromised if your outsourcing vendor does not follow proper security protocol. 

 

How to Resolve These Outsourcing Challenges

Although the five challenges listed above could jeopardise the success of an outsourced project, with a deliberate and considered plan, they can be bypassed. The following list summarises the means to resolve the common issues faced when outsourcing your software project. 

  1. Open and Consistent Communication

The problem of communication is perhaps the most significant; aligning your project’s requirements with the outsourcing partner will deliver the best results, but only if it’s effective. Some of the most optimal ways to foster a communicative relationship between client and vendor include:

 

 



 

At Zartis, we place communication at the forefront of our collaboration with clients. There are always two points of contact (an engineering leader on the technical side, and an account manager on the business side) to ensure that communication between provider and client is seamless. 

 

We also schedule numerous meetings per week to gather any feedback and expect our clients to let us know if there is an issue, just as we would do on our end. One of our five key values is integrity: we believe that transparency in everything we do is essential for driving success. 

  1. Rigid Quality Control Mechanisms

Without quality control, it’s hard to keep track of the outsourcing project’s progress which can lead to increased rework and costs, and low-quality deliverables that do not match the expected functionality. Yet, there are ways to protect this from happening, as listed below. 

 



 

 

 

Another of our key values at Zartis is quality; we always want to exceed the client’s expectations as we know that consistently delivering high-quality work will result in sustained long-term relationships. 

  1. Optimal Outsourcing Partner

Finding the optimal outsourcing vendor is the key to unlocking your project’s success. As mentioned above, there are a number of outsourcing providers who will offer similar services. These are the traits to look for in a potential partner (as a general rule of thumb):

 



 

During our time working as an outsourcing partner, at Zartis we have partnered with numerous companies across different sectors such as fintech, medtech, edtech, e-commerce, logistics, marketing, and entertainment, among many others. 

 

We have worked with companies of all sizes and believe that our success lies in our transparency, and the fact that we constantly uphold our core values. 

  1. Embracing Diversity

Although there could be cultural differences, by valuing and integrating diverse perspectives, your company and the outsourcing partner can navigate the complexities of outsourcing while fostering a collaborative and productive work environment. Below are some of the best practices to embrace a diverse workforce, and ensure a smooth outsourcing collaboration. 

 

 

 

 

At Zartis, we see diversity as another of our core values; it is our duty to provide an inclusive work environment where we allow different perspectives to inform our innovation every day. We proudly employ team members of over thirty different nationalities, and we have had experience working with a range of companies across the US, EMEA and LATAM. 

  1. Stringent Security Protocols

 An outsourcing partnership requires a high level of trust, especially when working with highly sensitive information. It is essential that the outsourcing vendor has scrupulous security compliance; here are a few aspects to consider pertaining to security measures:

 

 

We take security very seriously at Zartis; we are ISO 27001 certified and ensure that all engineers working for Zartis receive professional security and GDPR compliance training. Our InfoSec team also ensures that the correct procedures are followed so we can stay perpetually ahead of the curve and, more importantly, secure in everything we do. 

 

We also have demonstrated a capacity to work in highly-regulated industries, where security compliance was at the forefront of our software development. You can read more about our partnership with Irish fintech giant FexCo here.

 

Key Takeaways

 

At Zartis, we build dedicated development teams, and we’ve been doing it for long years, so we know – and have seen – the common mistakes; with Zartis as a partner, discover the impact of a reliable and effective outsourced team. Start a conversation today

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