A small startup with a great idea. A mid-sized IT company with several products or projects and not enough people or not the right skills for this one particular project. An IT giant looking to outsource and innovate.
If we speak about custom software development we often speak about nearshore or offshore software development. It is impossible for any company – regardless of size – to have all the people, all the skills, all the time. Therefore, it is no surprise that bespoke software outsourcing is gaining more and more ground. Off-the-shelf software can no longer cover all the demands of an infinite market.
Custom software development also offers the advantage of proactive maintenance and testing, regular KPI monitoring, increased stability of your applications. For several smaller companies, the issue of outsourcing can be daunting. How to find someone, where to find them, how to make sure they can be trusted. These are the same issues as in any other industry; they should not be that difficult to tackle.
Here are the steps to find the right custom software development company at the right time.
First off, you should have a clear idea of what you want. Define your requirements and be very specific about what is important. This will define the collaboration between you – the Client – and your future partner, the Vendor. There are short-term engagement models – e.g. staff augmentation, project-based partnership, and tactical consulting – and there are longer-term engagement models, including offshore software development, product development, strategic consulting. Another advantage of outsourcing is that you can adjust along the way. Here, flexibility is key. We, at IT Teams, have been employing quite a few of these engagement models ourselves.
Once you have decided on the “what,” you need to find the “who.” Start by finding out where to find your custom software development team. It can be Google, it can be a marketplace, it can be recommendations from friends and co-workers, or directory listings. Offshore custom software development in Eastern Europe has become the choice of more and more IT solution providers. The network infrastructure is above par, due to improvements that have been made in the recent past.
In fact, the infrastructure is actually newer and more updated compared to the infrastructure in the West. Because of this, the costs are much lower, and the quality is ensured by the EU standards, assuming you work with a country that belongs to the European Union. In terms of broadband speed, according to Wikipedia, in 2017/2018 Romania had the 5th fastest Internet in the world. To us, that’s pretty exciting!
Of course, you will also have to choose between freelancers and custom software development companies.
Here, you might want to remember that, although most freelancers will be less expensive, overall they do not have the workforce or the resources to sustain larger projects. In addition, while they might appear more flexible and adaptable at a first glance, they,most likely, handle several projects at the same time, and their time is also limited. There might also be confidentiality-related issues, as a freelancer could always be working for two competing companies at the same time.
This is where NDAs come in, however you must ask yourself if you have the time and energy to pursue NDAs gone bad.. While freelancers might make very good outsourcers for smaller projects where you would not want to hire one person with a particular set of skills for only two months, it is most likely that for larger projects of software developments – even for MVP software development, for example – any company would be better served with outsourcing to another team or company.
There are so many options so inevitably, you’ll end up with several “who’s.” Which one should you go with? Do your research, select a few, make a list, and start asking questions. You will be looking for bespoke software outsourcing. Find the outsourcers that are best suited to your needs. You will have to dig into their background, assess what they can and cannot deliver, their skills, services, size and structure, technologies, availability, and flexibility. You will have to understand their organizational culture to determine whether you are compatible. Take a bit of time – it will be worth it – and assess their tools, their quality standards, the way they communicate. Ask for references of clients they’ve had before you – as long as it is not a confidentiality breach. Speaking of which, review their security and confidentiality measures.
At the end, there should be a few potential candidates left. This is where it might get tough: negotiation and contracting.
Of course, you will ask for quotes and then evaluate said quotes. You should aim for around five quotes so that you can compare all of them. Remember not to rush any decisions at this point, but rather wait for all the quotes to come in. Communicate with the companies that stand out. You might like one offer more than the rest, but find that the company is not flexible enough or that there is something else that is important thats missing. . If that’s the case, address it with them. Ask if they could somehow provide the flexibility you need. Often you will find that you need to scale up or down; you might need more customized work. The contract needs to reflect all of those potential future needs as well.
In our experience, for custom software development, there will be several contracts: an NDA, a framework agreement or a master agreement, several SLAs, statements of work etc.. Depending on the scope, project, whether it is an MVP software or a very complex final product, and so on. Here, the differences between a framework agreement and a master agreement might be important, as this will reflect your business relationship with your vendor – be that very long-term or rather short-term but quite complex. One or more specialists – usually a legal team – would be extremely useful at this point.
This was intended to be but a very short guide with relevant information, in order to give you an idea of the first few steps involved when you decide to outsource. Your questions, ideas, and general input are appreciated!
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