8 Companies That Successfully Outsourced Their Development
Starting a company successfully often requires developing and innovating quickly and accurately. Hiring skilled developers as full-time employees for an in-house team takes a lot of time and a good chunk of capital, which eats up the limited resources available to start-ups.
Big and small businesses, established and start-up alike, have chosen the alternative route and outsourced their development to get the job done quickly and for lower costs. Many business leaders have built multimillion-dollar companies by outsourcing some of their essential tasks, reaping deep savings in operating costs by picking outsourcing service providers with a skilled talent pool.
Let’s go over some successful companies that did their outsourcing strategy right.
Slack is a communication channel used by organizations of all sizes all over the world. With over 12 million active users, it’s the world’s most popular business chat platform. What many don’t know is that Slack was built on outsourcing from the start.
Slack started with just a prototype and began outsourcing software development to create the essentials, which helped them become the tech giant they are today. Slack outsourced many of its development needs, including its website, app, and logo. Basically, most of what users see while using the technology was built by an outsourcing company.
Slack’s strategy to outsource development has paid off big time. The truth is, they might not be the success story they are today without outsourcing. It’s proof that outsourcing, even for a start-up or small company, is beneficial and helps a business scale.
Google was founded in 1998 and has become the largest search engine used today. The tech leader successfully outsourced some of their development, and still does today. Google has partnered with remote developers overseas for years for their development needs.
Google has the world’s largest team of developers but still turns to outsource providers for specific development projects to cut costs. Even though Google generated over 256 billion dollars last year, they still understand the importance of lowering expenses to improve the bottom line.
WhatsApp is the top communication choice for many people looking to stay in contact with friends, family, and businesses all around the world. WhatsApp relied heavily on developers overseas for their app development needs to quickly complete the essentials at an affordable rate.
As a result of the work of the outsourced developers, WhatsApp broke the list of the top ranking apps on the App Store and Google Play. Facebook acquired WhatsApp for 19 million dollars to eliminate them as a competitor to their Messenger App.
Skype was one of the first to bring us access to widely-used video conferencing, which is now something we all use today. Skype built the foundation back in the 2000s that other video conferencing technology grew from.
Skype co-founders outsourced development to outside professionals responsible for the site’s entire back-end development. Without the skilled developers on the project, Skype wouldn’t have developed and innovated so quickly, or maybe even at all. Having access to highly skilled outsourced developers made it all happen.
Unilever is a consumer goods company providing food, beauty, cleaning, and personal care products. With hundreds of brands and bringing in billions of dollars annually, Unilever still chooses to outsource some of its development needs.
Unilever employs over 149,000 people globally and outsources software development, IT, and HR to scale and cut costs. Outsourcing development has helped the company innovate while remaining focused on core business functions and strategically planning growth.
SeatGeek is a digital platform where users can buy and sell tickets to live sporting events, concerts, and other events. SeatGeek has a mobile app and website where users can browse events, view seat maps, and buy tickets that they can print or receive digitally.
SeatGeek founders understood the benefits of outsourcing, so they outsourced the development of their website, mobile app, and database structure early on. IT outsourcing allowed SeatGeek founders to put their idea into action successfully and quickly.
Apple is another giant tech company that saw the benefits of outsourcing. In its development stages, Apple outsourced work to IT service companies. Apple is a US company based out of California, but its products get assembled in China, and software and engineering get outsourced globally.
Apple has roughly 28 million users today and has steadily increased annually. Without the help of international developers, Apple might not be the mammoth of a business they are today.
Alibaba is China’s largest online retailer, bringing in around 31 billion US dollars annually. While most of their sales come from Chinese consumers, they are an outsourcing example where the US is the staffing region — they choose to outsource web development to US developers, hoping their site messaging will appeal to an international market.
While many companies choose to outsource development to cut costs, for Alibaba, that wasn’t the case. The founders decided to outsource web development as they knew their business would scale higher if they could sell to Chinese and English-speaking consumers.
Why Companies Outsource Their Development
Nowadays, most companies outsource at least one business process such as building out an e-commerce platform to building a customer support team, and for various reasons.
Cutting costs is the primary reason organizations choose to outsource. Outsourcing development is no different.
Here are top reasons companies outsource some of their essential tasks:
- Reduce costs
- Save time
- Get projects launched faster
- Focus on core business functions and innovate
- Access to skill-set needed
- Ability to scale easily
What Can an Outsource Development Provider Do?
When you outsource development, you might think you have to come to a provider with a concrete plan of precisely what you need. That’s not always true. The right provider can help you brainstorm to develop the best method for what you are looking to accomplish with your project.
Reputable development providers have a team of creative and skilled developers that can take an idea and bring it to life. The developers can collaborate with you and provide expert input on your project’s details and features.
Development providers help with all the essential steps, including:
Ensuring each one of these steps is completed with the highest quality will give your project a fighting chance to improvise or scale your business or even disrupt your market completely. Hiring the right developers is key.
By outsourcing development, companies can also reduce their risks. Imagine spending the time and money on hiring in-house developers that work for months on a project only for it to flop. For some companies, it can be impossible to recover from such a loss.
When you outsource development, the provider takes on all the risks. The development team ensures they use effective project management tools and workflow systems to reduce mistakes. They also use their past proven success in creating software that helps their clients succeed.
How To Successfully Outsource Development
So, we went over some companies that successfully outsourced their development. That doesn’t mean outsourcing development is always a success.
There have also been companies that had development projects completely flop due to reasons such as:
- Hiring the wrong outsourcing provider
- Under-skilled developers
- Poorly written contracts
- Poor communication
- Inadequate project description or details
When you are outsourcing development for your business, it must go well and be planned and thought out accordingly. If not, your business might never take off or may crash, and it’ll leave you scrambling to fill a leaky bucket.
Learning from the trials and errors of other companies will help you ensure your software development outsourcing partnership is a success.
Let’s go over some tips for how to outsource development successfully.
1. Hire right
The development outsourcing provider you hire can be the difference between your business succeeding or not. Yes, it’s that important when it comes to development. You must hire a company with the skills and expertise needed to handle your development needs successfully.
Have a meeting with the provider to learn their capabilities and experience before you choose to hire them for your development projects. Ensure they understand your wants, needs, and vision. Pay close attention to their interest level in your project and goals.
You should feel confident the development team understands the risks involved and your expectations for the project. You also want to ensure the provider can deliver your project in the timeframe you need. Of course, there are sometimes bumps in the road, which might delay the project slightly, but an expected completion date should be discussed early on.
2. Be efficient
You may have a clear vision in your head of how you want your software to look and operate with specific features to ensure it’s user-friendly. But, most developers are not mind readers, so you must clearly explain it to them. You’ll likely be geographically far from your outsourced developer and communicating primarily through email, phone, chat, and video calls.
Before hiring a developer, put all the details of your development wants and needs in writing. Don’t leave out anything you wish to see in your software, including look, feel, colors, specific features, and verbiage. When you’re super-efficient in providing accurate and detailed project outlines, your developer is more likely to deliver exactly what you envisioned, or even better.
3. Communication is key
Before your developer gets to work on your project, it’s best to nail down communication. Having an understanding of how and when you will communicate will ensure everyone is on the same page. If you’re working with a developer overseas, you’ll want to keep in mind the time difference.
Find out when and how you will receive updates on the progress of your development project. Ask if there’s a project management tool they use where you can see progress and updates whenever you want.
When hiring developers overseas another thing to keep in mind is possible language barriers. It’s best to hire a developer that speaks fluent English to avoid any miscommunication that can cause discrepancies and issues with your development project.
4. Nail down contracts
Once you choose which outsourcing developer you want working on your project, it’s time to get contracts in writing. The contract is to protect your business and your investment. A reputable company will have the contract drawn up for you pretty quickly for you to review.
You’ll want to be sure the contract outlines the development details, features, and timelines to ensure you get what you want. The contact should also have the exact costs for the project and how and when you will pay. The more detailed the contract is, the less chance of headaches later on hashing out specifics.
Ensure there is a clause outlining what the course of action will be if you are not satisfied with the work, and avoid making a full payment for the project up-front, if possible.
5. Be flexible
The truth is, many companies that successfully outsourced their development had a slightly different vision at the beginning than the final product – which paid off! It can be beneficial to listen to the ideas of others that have the creative talent and experience — it may provide you with different yet valuable insight than what you saw before.
Being flexible also means not getting discouraged as project hiccups are bound to arise during development. Experienced developers know what it takes to overcome issues and strategically implement solutions. When you hire a reputable developer, have confidence in their ability to deliver in the end the product that meets or even beats your expectations.
When a Company Should Outsource Development
It’s not always obvious to a business leader that they should outsource development. It can be an intimidating decision to pass off such a critical function to a third party.
However, once a business leader takes the initial plunge to outsource, they typically see it as an excellent decision. Fortune 100 companies to entrepreneurs with a prototype have outsourced development successfully for decades as technological capabilities continue to advance.
There are a few signs that will point you in the right direction of whether to outsource your development or not, such as:
Speed – If you need your development project completed yesterday, outsourcing is usually the fastest way to get it done.
One-time project – If you only have one or two development projects that shouldn’t take more than a year to complete, hiring developers on-staff doesn’t typically make sense. Outsourced developers are best for these projects to cut costs.
Niche expertise needed – If your development project requires a niche expert for successful completion, outsourcing allows you to hire that exact talent easily thanks to a wider market.
Multiple projects simultaneously – Start-ups especially often have numerous development projects they want worked on simultaneously to get their products on the market quickly. Outsourcing providers with a team of expert developers will make this happen.
From large companies with thousands of employees to entrepreneurs with just an idea, outsourced development has played a role to help businesses grow. Saving money isn’t the only reason companies choose to outsource development, either. Outsourcing provides access to highly skilled developers all over the world.
Are you ready to build and strengthen your business through outsourcing development? If so, contact AwesomeOS today!
We have a team of creative and skilled developers to provide design, development, testing, and support services for mobile, web, and cloud software. We have a proven track record of delivering to companies the software needed to take their business to the next level!