What is Offshore Software Development? (And Its Benefits)

Offshore software development is when you hire an overseas software development agency to build your software or web project. Oftentimes, this is referred to as “outsourcing,” or when an onshore company hires an offshore team to provide a service.

Unfortunately, a negative stigma has been attached to offshore software development services. As such, many assume that overseas teams will produce poor quality products in an untimely fashion. However, no two offshore agencies are the same. That being said, certain offshore teams are more likely to offer you the quality you deserve.

In the following, we’ll discuss several types of offshore agencies and why some offer a greater number of benefits than others.

The Business Models of Offshore Software Development

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Just as any company provides a unique set of offerings, your offshore software developers will provide their own unique set of services. From hiring a freelance offshore software developer to a US-managed offshore software development agency, instances of offshore development can vary drastically.

For the sake of brevity, here are three of the most common business models for offshore software development:

  • Freelance offshore software developer - This freelance developer is hired independent of an agency and located overseas. While this is often the most inexpensive option, hiring a single developer often equates to a more limited knowledge base and skill set.

  • Offshore software development agency - While these agencies operate similarly to those onshore, they are located overseas. Of the three options, this is the middle ground. A purely offshore agency comes at a median price and provides a much broader skill set.

  • The blended onshore/offshore software development agency - Blended teams often consist of onshore management and overseas development. While a bit pricier than the latter two options, these agencies provide the largest knowledge base and skill set.

The Benefits & Drawbacks of Offshore Development Agencies

With these options in mind, you’ve probably observed that there are pros and cons to each developer or agency type. In addition, however, there are benefits and drawbacks that generally apply across the board.

Here are a few benefits and drawbacks commonly associated with hiring an offshore software development company:

The Benefits

  • Lower cost of development. - Most looking to hiring an offshore agency consider doing so because it’s much cheaper than hiring an onshore team. For comparison, most onshore software development teams charge $150 to $200 per hour, while offshore teams often charge a mere $25 to $50 per hour.

  • More options for recruiting. - In addition to saving money, your options for recruitment won’t be limited to the software or web development teams located nearest to you or in your country. Instead, you can choose a team from anywhere in the world.

  • No additional salary or infrastructure costs. - Hiring offshore teams can be especially beneficial if you’re looking to supplement an in-house IT team. While you’ll receive the services you need, you won’t need to provide additional office space, salaries, and more.

The Drawbacks

  • The potential loss of quality. - Many cost-effective offshore development agencies are located in developing countries with fewer educational or training opportunities. Unfortunately, this can affect the quality of the products they produce for your business.

  • Language and cultural barriers. - While most countries have adopted English as a second language, communication barriers are still likely. In addition to language-based issues, culture can impact work ethics, interpretation of requests, and more.

  • Time zone issues. - When your developers are overseas, they may be as far as the other side of the globe. For example, India is 9 ½ hours ahead of those on Eastern Standard Time (EST). This can result in delays and additional issues with project progress.

How Blended Teams Turn Drawbacks into Benefits

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While these drawbacks may apply to most offshore teams, they don’t apply to all. In fact, teams that blend onshore and offshore team members can bypass many of these issues.

To best illustrate this, we’ll use our team as an example:

  1. Rather than a loss in quality, there’s quality assurance. - Our U.S. project manager ensures that your software or web project looks and functions as it should before you even see it. Our U.S. software developers are also available to step in and make improvements as needed.

  2. You can bypass language and cultural barriers. - Instead of trying to communicate directly with your overseas developers yourself, your U.S. project manager can take that on for you. Since our U.S. project manager has acclimated to the language and cultural differences, he’s prepared to address any issues they may present.

  3. Let someone else handle the time zone issues. - Rather than waking up at unfavorable hours to call your overseas developer, your project manager can do that for you as well. His schedule has already been adjusted to meet the needs of our offshore team, so you won’t have to.

Looking for a blended team?

ClikGlobal is a web and software development company dedicated to making quality software accessible. Whether we’re building mobile apps or websites, we follow a proven software development process that will ensure your vision is brought to life.