What types of software development can you outsource easily?

Outsourcing has become very popular in the IT world because of its benefits, such as cost-effectiveness and flexibility. It has removed the challenges and delays traditionally associated with in-house development.

Software development is commonly outsourced to vendors or separate contractors, as it speeds up development, provides access to specialists with the expertise you may not have on your in-house team, and is usually quite cheap.

Plans of outsourcing.

Software development outsourcing sounds appealing, but what exactly can a tech company use this tool for? Well, for a lot of things actually, as we’ll see below.

Software R&D outsourcing

Research and development is the lifeblood of any technology company worth its salt.

Firms invest in R&D because they want to grow by developing new products. It's hard for a company to remain competitive unless it stays ahead of the technology curve (or at least tries to do so).

Tech companies nowadays can outsource many types of R&D projects, as almost everything can be handled by overseas teams trained in the various fields of IT. And it isn’t just about cost savings.

Searching for an R&D outsourcer at the global level means you can get hold of talents from all over the world, becoming part of an international stream of knowledge. This means you’re connecting with software R&D teams that have been producing innovative ideas and products for years, and that have the ability to supercharge your own software development process. There's no barrier to international collaboration, since the programming languages are already international.

Read about software developers in Ukraine

The United States, for example, is not the world leader in producing programmers, but the Americans have always taken a collaborative approach with other nations around the world: Eastern Europe, China, India, Korea, Taiwan. The smart tech companies are moving their R&D or outsourcing software development to locations such as these in order to take advantage of an abundance of talent: US Intel, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM, and Xerox are some of the many companies who have taken the plunge.

Yes, location, time zone, work culture, and many other challenges need to be overcome for global engineering to be effective. But (looking at these examples) the results seem to be worth making an effort.

R&D operations are no longer reserved for big companies - startups and smaller software companies can also benefit from them if investing correctly. For example, a tech company who outsources R&D services can save from six months to a year by not testing the waters in other countries, establishing an office in their country of choice and looking for team members. Often it’s just about finding a suitable outsourcing firm that specializes in the type of research and development needed for a particular project. Different firms will specialize in different things, but here’s a piece of advice: pay attention only to those companies that are suitable for your project and have the particular specialism you're looking for.

Outsourcing web app development

Having a proper digital presence has already been established as a vital element in the success of any business. But building a website isn’t just to do with creating a visual frame - it’s about developing complex apps that allow the website to be used as an efficient tool. For example, in the case of a bookings website, it has to work with payment systems, process personal data, and communicate with the websites of airlines and hotels.

So, it is through website-app integration that we are able to do pretty much anything on the internet, from shopping to obtaining official documents. That’s how e-commerce, travel, fintech, and telecom startups use the power of web apps to bring their innovative ideas into fruition.

Because in-house teams are not always as skilled at building web apps, they very frequently turn to outsourcing companies to create a website with the functionality they want it to have - why waste hours of your valuable time learning to build a site when you can hire someone under a contract who specialises particularly in the app/development techniques you require?

Web design

The next step - an intuitive interface for the user to work with the mechanics you built into the web apps. Unless you already have members of staff qualified in complicated website building processes, you will most certainly end up using ready-made templates available on the internet. These leave little room for customisation, however.

Web designer, web developer, copywriter, project manager, marketing specialist - if you don’t have these employees on your staff to customise your website, then hiring an outsourcing firm may be a good alternative. This will essentially result in a website that is designed specifically for your needs, as well as creating an experience for your customers that reflects your corporate branding.

Do bear in mind, though, that web design is a project that takes your time, staff time and a great deal of focus, no matter whether you outsource, or build the site within your own team.

Mobile application development

Millions of apps are developed across the major mobile platforms, iOS and Android. According to Global Mobile 2016 there were 180 billion app downloads from these platforms in 2015. And this exceptional number continues to increase, along with the demand for outsourcing smartphone application development.

There are myriad advantages you can gain, from cost saving to allowing to spend more time on pre-launch and marketing efforts. You’ll find that when outsourcing mobile app development, you can act as a supervisor, overseeing all aspects of the project while remaining at a distance and being able to work on other business processes.

Outsourcing mobile application development, however, will only work if there’s a precise understanding of what you need from an app. Thinking in advance about social media integration, possible in-app purchases, a lite version, login features and other aspects is highly important.

That’s why you may find it useful to spend time researching similar applications, and write down precisely what you want an app to do - knowing the type of app you want will help determine what exactly you’re going to get from a developer.

Usually the corporate relationship between a mobile app development outsourcer and the customer does not end once an app is complete. Cooperation between the two usually involves ongoing support services - technical troubleshooting and continuous software updates.

Read about using the dedicated team outsourcing model

Video game development outsourcing

The videogames industry is estimated to be worth a staggering $100 billion. There is a massive market for outsourced game development, which is proven by the sheer number of videogame developers worldwide.

Gamedev is a field which needs talented and skilled professionals, including designers, digital and graphic artists and, of course, programmers. For them, core competencies can be found in any part of the game development cycle, starting with concept development, pre-production, production, right through to testing and distribution. Therefore, a video game developer can increase efficiency proportionally to its ability to save resources on non-core competencies.

It is quite common for studios to have an in-house team of only five people. The other members of the team are either contractors or engaged outsourcing companies that perform whatever tasks can be done externally.

Different types of games need different amounts of developers, so outsourcing is something video game studios need to think about constantly.

Game testing and production have traditionally been the fields most likely to use outsourcing, as they are less dependent on creativity and extraordinary skills. It's all changing, however. The game developers are now more prepared to work with outsourcing companies, as it is becoming more common to outsource any task in which they lack expertise.

Game development outsourcing has transformed into an extremely handy tool that allows small studios to create new games faster and with less expense. The main outsourcing markets for games development are now Ukraine, Belarus and India.

You must have heard of such games as S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Warface, World of Tanks - they were either fully or partly made in Ukraine. Assassin’s Creed creator Ubisoft, for example, has had its office in Ukraine’s capital Kiev for more than 9 years.

Read about outsourcing software development trends for 2017

VR and AR development outsourcing

Virtual and augmented reality are technologies that offer good opportunities to businesses from different industries - they’re expected to take over many parts of existing interfaces. Shopping, education, and the entertainment industry may be among the fields most affected by VR/AR, as they have already started using these technologies for business purposes.

Although predictions vary, the industry is expected to thrive. According to the CBI, the size of the VR and AR market is set to increase to €360 million in 2020, and the outsourcing market can take advantage of such growth.

If you’re developing a VR company, you can find an outsourcing firm to conduct rendering, object depth and scaling, sphere mapping, head tracking and to make realistic 3D models. Companies working on AR projects can refer to outsourcing companies to provide graphic designers and developers.

the face of modern outsourcing

Artificial intelligence and robotics outsourcing

According to Deloitte, a typical software ‘robot’, or bot, is an application that has the ability to automatically route transactions, work with data, initiate responses and collaborate with other systems as and when required. Such a technology can provide an alternative way of performing high-volume IT support, and dealing with workflow and back-office processes.

Some experts think that the introduction of such artificial intelligence will kill outsourcing, taking over some of the functions of modern outsourcing companies. Today, according to the study, Outsourcing 2020 Research, more than 80% of the respondents believed that robotic process automation (RPA) will be of greater significance in the next decade and especially to the outsourcing industry.

But as for today, these technologies can certainly start working together. Even though it is not yet a widespread practice, AI developers can use outsourcing tools as effectively as any other IT company, outsourcing R&D software services to third-party companies.

Looking at these examples, it it clear that whatever tech business you decide to start and run, there’s a huge variety of tools to ease the way, save money and time, and find skillful people to help you out. Outsourcing is just one of them, but we think it's one of the most powerful.

Written by Denys Krasnikov

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