Generally speaking, offshore software development is outsourced. In the United States, the term ‘outsourced’ implies that a U.S. company is hiring an overseas company to perform a specific set of services for a lower cost. In this case, the U.S. company would be hiring an offshore company to provide software development services.
It’s important to note, however, that outsourcing isn’t your only option. In fact, ‘global sourcing’ your software development may offer your business more benefits than a purely outsourced team could.
To provide you with a better understanding of global sourcing in terms of software development, we’ve compiled its definition, a comparison to outsourcing, and its benefits into this brief article.
What is Global Sourcing?
Global sourcing can be defined as a multi-national collaboration. In many cases, this is when a U.S. organization partners with an overseas team to collectively deliver a service. In other words, unlike outsourcing, where the offshore software development company operates independently, the onshore and offshore teams operate under one global partnership.
Now, you may wonder why a U.S. team would partner with an overseas team to provide software development. In many cases, U.S. software development agencies are looking for a cost-effective way to offer these services, and by partnering with overseas developers, these companies are able to do so.
The Problems with Outsourcing Software Development
While ‘outsourcing’ and ‘global sourcing’ may sound very similar, the two can offer very different experiences and results in terms of software development. In either case, you’ll save money, but the issues that may arise when working with a purely outsourced team aren’t always worth it.
1. Differences in culture, language, Etc. can be difficult.
If you’re trying to save a significant amount of money, there’s a strong chance you’re hiring a team from a developing country. With this in mind, your developers are more likely to have lower exposure to the American culture or the English language. Moreover, they often live on the other side of the globe, making the time difference significant.
Unfortunately, as noted by CIO, “These cultural differences impact interactions, communication, interpretation, productivity, comfort, and commitment.” These factors can not only lead to miscommunication and errors in execution, but the time differences alone can negatively affect how easy it is to get in touch with your developers.
2. Organizational and process differences can become an issue.
One issue that often arises due to cultural differences is poor project management. As noted by ScioDev, hierarchical cultures often foster less “independent thought, responsibility, and soft skills.” In this way, even if you are hiring an entirely offshore team, you may find yourself less confident in their ability to see your project reach completion.
As a result of these organizational and process differences, hiring a strictly outsourced team will likely call for you to participate more fully in the software development process. If you fail to do so, your project may become one of the 50% that fail each year.
3. Your project may take longer to produce and lack quality.
Another factor that can negatively impact your software development project is the quality of training your offshore developers received. Especially with offshore developers from developing countries, your developers have likely had fewer training opportunities than their U.S. counterparts, limiting their skillset and knowledge base.
While there are, of course, high-quality offshore software developers, most offshore developers take longer to complete their work than their well-trained U.S. counterparts. Likewise, in areas where these developers received less training, they may not be able to provide the high-quality result you were expecting and in a less timely fashion.
How Global Sourcing Combats These Issues
While outsourcing is a viable option for many organizations, global sourcing is often the better choice. Global sourcing may call for a slightly higher price tag than pure outsourcing, but it comes at a fraction of the cost of hiring a strictly U.S.-based software development agency.
For those interested in offshore software development, Forbes recommends looking to “...get the best of both worlds…” from an agency that blends both onshore and offshore talent.
They go on to say that, with such organizations, “The company’s project management and development groups are U.S.-based, experienced in modern management, in U.S. time zones and focused on providing a critical layer of professional-level project planning, oversight, and quality review.”
1. U.S.-based Project Management
As Forbes implies, offshore development companies with U.S.-based project management are more likely to be successful. In fact, with the help of a skilled U.S. project manager, you can successfully circumvent most, if not all, of the issues presented by purely outsourced software developers.
A U.S. project manager can help to:
Communicate with the offshore developers and subvert any language, cultural, or timezone differences.
Guide the implementation of U.S.-based organizational models and processes throughout development.
Offer quality assurance by reviewing and seeking necessary revisions before the client receives it.
2. U.S. Software Developer Involvement
In addition to U.S. project management, the involvement of U.S. developers can further bolster the quality assurance and the speed of development provided by your team.
A U.S. software developer can:
Make improvements and changes in areas where the offshore software developers have received less training.
Provide training for the offshore software developers to build the offshore team’s skills and knowledge base.
Remain on standby for emergency instances where issues need to be addressed on a U.S. time clock.
Who Uses Global Sourcing?
Rather than outsourcing, consider working with ClikGlobal. Our U.S.-based team’s mission is to make quality web and software development accessible. With both U.S. and international team members, we’re able to make that happen, while providing you with the quality you deserve.