Pros and Cons of Offshore Software Development

Why Use Offshore Software Development Services.

Pros and Cons

Thinking about sending your next big software development project overseas? If you are, you’re not alone.

In the last decade, offshore software development has become immensely popular for companies operating in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Savvy business leaders see it as a way to not only develop high-quality solutions, but save on key resources like time and money.

To help you evaluate whether offshore software development is right for your company, Fogsoft has put together the following comprehensive list of pros and cons so you can make your decision with total transparency.

Pro #1 – Quality

Of course nothing is ever guaranteed, but if you’re meticulous in your evaluation of potential partners, you should end up with a final product that is of exceptionally high quality.

If possible, look to form a partnership with a Russian software development company, as Russian developers are widely recognized as some of the most creative and technically savvy in the world (this is because Russia is a world-leader in IT-based higher education).

Unlike their onshore competitors, offshore software development companies know a single mistake can do irreversible damage to both the project and the client relationship. That means each developer on the team will hold themselves to highest possible standard.

The result?—you get a product and a customer experience that is well-beyond what your budget could have afforded using a domestic development company.

Pro #2 – Cost

Speaking of budget, there’s no point ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room any longer…

…The main reason companies look to outsource their software development is cost.

Onshore development services are NOT cheap. In the United States, for example, the average salary for a software developer (remember, that’s the average…not the best) is more than $100,000 per year.

And that’s just for a single developer.

Overseas, the cost of hiring a software developer is much cheaper. In Russia, for example, the typical software developer earns about $25,000 USD per year. In India, the gap is even wider, with the typical developer earning closer to $10,000.

By partnering with an overseas development company, those savings in salary are passed directly to you, the consumer.

Pro #3 – Speed

Offshore software development companies like Fogsoft tend to work fast.

Really fast.

Significantly faster than their onshore competition.

There are a few reasons for this.

  • Offshore companies want to leave you with a great impression.
  • Because onshore companies typically ask for large, non-refundable deposits, they can afford to be slow, and even unresponsive
  • Offshore companies know their access to your market is almost entirely reliant upon referrals—that means leaving you, their customer, both impressed and satisfied is essential.
  • Because employment costs are lower, offshore software development companies can keep a larger full-time staff of skilled employees, all ready to work at the drop of a hat. It’s a level of responsiveness onshore companies can’t compete with.

Pro #4 – Turn-Key Development Team

The market for onshore developers is stupidly competitive, which means software development companies are going to have to pay top-dollar to lure top-talent.

Rather than pony-up and hire additional talent to meet the robust demands of your project, these companies are more likely to stretch their existing resources thin, forcing their salaried employees to work long-hours that jeopardize the integrity of your software.

Offshore software development companies don’t have this problem—with lower employee salaries, and a less-strained but equally-talented labor pool, businesses like Fogsoft employ turn-key development teams ready to meet any technical need or timeline.

Pro #5 – Save Resources Other Than Time and Money

Sending software development overseas means you and your onshore employees are free to invest your mental and physical energy elsewhere.

That means more focus and better results on higher-level tasks and big-picture strategies.

Pro #6 – Improved Industry Awareness

Because they deal with a broader array of clients with diverse needs, offshore software development companies have to be on the cutting-edge of what’s happening in the software industry at all times.

Con #1 – Still Takes Time and Attention

For all the advantages that come with sending your project to an offshore developer, there are still some less than ideal realities to face.

The first “con” you’ll need to come to terms with is this—your project is going to require some of your time and some of your attention. An offshore developer can do a LOT, but not everything. They will still need your input and feedback if they’re going to be truly successful in the creation of your software.

To that end, it’s best to find someone on your internal team to act as the lead representative for your interests. This someone should be able to answer questions expediently, take phone calls as necessary, and sit in on video conferences with the developers.

Who you specifically appoint to manage the project on the internal end doesn’t really matter (they don’t even need to be in IT), just as long as they own a clear understanding of what your company is looking to accomplish through the partnership with the offshore developer.

Con #2 – There Will Still be Frustration. There will be Setbacks

No project is perfect, and for all their talents and advantages, the project you undertake with an offshore software developer won’t be perfect either.

Mistakes will be made.

There will be setbacks.

You, and your team, may get frustrated.

You aren’t going to be able to flawlessly convey everything you want to your offshore developer, and they won’t be able to perfectly understand everything you want. There will be some back and forth—some iterations—before your solution is finalized and ready to go.

Of course, it bears mentioning this Con is universal. Whether you ultimately work with an onshore or offshore software development company, this is something you will run into.

So, if you’re expecting the first version of your product to be flawless, you’re in for some serious disappointment.

Fortunately, Con #2 is one of the easiest to side-step. To avoid falling into the well of frustration, simply temper your expectations at the front-end of a project. Remind yourself that the first version of any product or service isn’t perfect, and that time, patience, and refinement are what build a truly winning piece of software.

Con #3 – Time Zones and Languages can be Tough

Typically, there are going to be both time-zone and language differences that can pose challenges to your project, particularly at the front-end when things are just getting started.

These challenges are unique to partnering with an offshore developer, but are far from insurmountable.

Scheduling regular meetings (at least one per week) is a great way to bridge time zone differences, and check-in a project.

Additionally, responsiveness to emails first-thing in the morning can help close what might otherwise be 24-hour communication gaps.

And if something is really pertinent, let your offshore development partner know you want an immediate meeting—they will likely bend over backwards to accommodate your request even if it means a late-night or early-morning call for them.

As far as language is concerned, English is the language of business. Any offshore software development firm worth its salt will have at least one employee with above-average (if not fluent) English skills. So, even if you don’t have someone on your team that can speak Hindi, Mandarin, or Russian, the company you partner with should have someone who’s comfortable speaking English.

In Summary

Like onshore software development, offshore development isn’t perfect.

  • It can require an investment of time from you and your team.
  • Frustration and setbacks can still happen.
  • Time-zone gaps and language barriers can be annoying.

However, when looking at the picture holistically, it’s readily apparent that the advantages of working with an offshore software development company…

  • Higher quality
  • Lower costs
  • Faster turnarounds on tight deadlines
  • Access to large, turn-key development teams
  • Improved developer awareness of key IT-related innovations
  • Additional savings on key resources beyond time and money

…greatly outweigh the disadvantages.