Software Development Outsourcing Choosing a Supplier

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    Feb 05, 2013
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Software Development Outsourcing Choosing a Supplier Photo by Mike Duffy

Software development is an ever changing world and companies can often find it difficult to deal with the differing levels of demand. For a company that is not itself a software development company but has need of bespoke software, there are two fundamental options available. A company could maintain its own internal software development department, possibly dealing with peaks and troughs in demand by the use of external contractors and/or consultants. Alternatively a company could outsource its bespoke software development requirements to a third party. Very often, a combination of both these approaches is used.

By maintaining an in-house software development team, this does aid a company in supporting existing software. If staff turnover is managed correctly, knowledge of current and legacy systems can be maintained and further development or support of these systems should be much smoother. The downside is that there can often be considerable overhead. If a company’s main business is not the software itself but a product or products that require software development, a dedicated department is by no means guaranteed to have a steady flow of work through it.

By way of contrast, an external software development outsourcing supplier is more immune to the ups and downs of demand, as they will have work from a number of different customers. This enables them to keep a steady flow of work through their team, maximising the development potential of their company. Obviously sending your first piece of work to an external supplier is going to mean that the supplier has no existing knowledge of your systems and possibly the domain that the software is to function in. This requires careful project management to make sure that you are allocating sufficient resource to liaise with the third party to make sure they have all the domain specific knowledge required. Failure to manage this correctly will severely impact your project.

If your company has a regular requirement for software outsourcing, establishing a lasting relationship with a third party software development company can bring many of the benefits of an in house development team. Software outsourcing companies typically have low staff turnovers and there is a good chance that the same team members will be able to work on your future development work.

The third option mentioned was a combination of an in-house development team and outsourcing some work to a third party. So why choose a software outsourcing company in preference to independent contractors? A good reason is that if any further work is required on a system in future, the same team members are likely to be available to perform that role. If using independent contractors, although possible to get the same people back to perform additional work, this will have to fit in with the other commitments of that person. If they are in a long term contract with another company, they are unlikely to be available at short notice.

In summary, there are advantages and disadvantages to the various strategies for software development. The most important aspect is to make sure that your solution is the one that is right for your company. Software development outsourcing is a booming business and one that always deserves consideration when planning your next project.

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For more information about software development outsourcing, please view the Symatix Ltd website. Specifically the "about our development services" page provides information about many different areas of software development outsourcing.

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