Finding the right software development outsourcing partner is hard. With so many vendors promising the world, how do you cut through the noise? How to Find the Right Software Development Outsourcing Companies comes down to aligning on your specific needs and doing your homework to find the ideal fit.
But with countless options across geographies and specialties, where do you start? What criteria matter most? Do you want an onshore team or is offshore talent the way to go? Does partner size and project budget even make a difference?
Here is a Table Summary that answers: “How to Find the Right Software Development Outsourcing Companies”:
|1||Identify your software development gaps and needs|
|2||Determine if you need ongoing or short-term work|
|3||Consider internal systems vs. external products|
|4||Evaluate partner size, budget, and flexibility|
|5||Choose relevant industry experience|
|6||Assess onshore, offshore, or hybrid models|
|7||Vet capabilities beyond pure development|
Follow these key steps for a systematic approach to finding the right software development outsourcing partner for your needs and goals.
This guide will provide a systematic approach to evaluating your needs and assessing potential partners.
- How to identify your specific software development gaps
- Key factors to weigh like expertise, delivery models, culture
- Tips for evaluating industry experience
- How partner size and budget impact fit
- Pros and cons of onshore vs offshore teams
- Methods for vetting capabilities beyond pure development
- Ways to align partners with your preferred processes
- Guidance on asking the right questions to avoid pitfalls
Follow our methodology to take a 360-degree view of your requirements and objectively evaluate partners. You’ll gain clarity on your needs and a data-driven framework for selecting providers that check all the boxes.
With the high demand for skilled developers today, building a strong technical team is more challenging than ever.
Hundreds of companies offer outsourced software development across the world. But with so many options, selecting the right partner for your specific needs can be difficult.”
Step 1: Identify Your Current Software Development Gaps and Needs
Taking an honest inventory of your in-house capabilities is crucial before determining where an outsourcing partner can add value.
“We brought our full development team together and mapped out all ongoing projects and upcoming needs on a Kanban board. Seeing the backlog visualized made it clear where our resource gaps existed.”
Some key steps to identify gaps:
- Catalog all current applications – List all software products and systems you are actively maintaining and enhancing.
- Capture new initiatives – Note any new development projects planned for the next 6-12 months. Prioritize by value to the business.
- Map to existing team – With your current developers’ skills and availability, estimate how much of the work they can handle.
- Find the mismatches – The leftover work that cannot be handled internally represent gaps to potentially outsource.
You should also drill down on technology stack capabilities required for the gaps.
- Ongoing maintenance of legacy Java applications
- .NET resources to upgrade internal ERP system
- PHP/Laravel skills to rebuild customer portal
- Blockchain architects to develop decentralized ledger proofs-of-concept
- AI/ML engineers to inject intelligence into products
Having granular insights on the tech stack abilities needed will guide your search for partners. Fully identifying your software development gaps ultimately enables you to maximize value from outsourcing relationships.
Step 2: Determine Whether You Need Ongoing Work or Short-Term Projects
Once you’ve identified your software development gaps, evaluating whether you need ongoing managed capacity or short-term project support is key for finding the right outsourcing approach.
Ongoing Managed Teams
For long-term, ongoing software development needs, a dedicated team via a retainer agreement is often the best approach. You want to effectively hire and integrate external team members who will work closely with your internal staff long-term.
We use an outsourced provider to manage a full stack web development team for us. This gives us the flexibility to tap into extra capacity as needed for our core products.”
Cultural fit and communication abilities are key for these extended engagements. Favor providers experienced in Agile methodologies for seamless collaboration.
Short-Term Project Outsourcing
For short-term, fixed scope software projects, the project requirements and contractual deliverables are most important. You may want to fully outsource the staffing and execution of niche initiatives to an external provider.
Defining the detailed specifications, budgets, timelines and acceptance criteria upfront is crucial. Use fixed bid projects for well-defined efforts under 3 months.
“We opt for project based engagements when we have a distinct body of work and clear milestones to hit,”
This flexible approach allows you to tap into targeted talent and quickly scale up or down as needs change. Evaluating managed teams versus project outsourcing will lead to finding the right software development outsourcing companies for your needs.
Choosing Outsourcing Partners for Internal Tools vs. Commercial Software Products
When evaluating outsourcing partners, it’s important to consider whether you are building internal systems or external customer products. The right provider mix will vary.
Internal Business Systems Development
Building internal tools and systems differs greatly from commercial software aimed at customers. Internal applications usually don’t need extensive UI polish or creativity. The priority is efficient, stable systems that support business operations.
Outsourcing partners that specialize in robust enterprise solutions like ERPs and CRMs are a good fit for these initiatives. Focus on proven expertise over creative design capabilities.
External Customer Software Products
Launching external products aimed at customers requires deeper understanding of end user perspectives and pain points. User experience, engagement, and design are critical.
For software products targeting the market, choose an outsourcing partner experienced in that domain. They will bring a product-focused mindset with sharp creative and analytical skills – beyond just completing assigned development tasks.
“We partnered with ABC Outsourcing because of their track record building innovative consumer apps,”
Evaluating these differences will help you find the right software development outsourcing companies for internal vs. external facing work.
Step 4: Evaluate Potential Partner Size and Budgets
When evaluating outsourcing partners, assessing size, scale, and budget fit is critical for finding the best match.
“We wanted an agile outsourcing provider that could scale up and down flexibly as our needs changed.”
Typical Size and Budget Factors
Some guidelines on partner size:
- For a small company with $100k budget, a mid-size outsourcing firm often works best.
- For a medium company with $1M budget, a large multi-national partner makes sense.
- For an enterprise with $10M+ budget, consider global partners.
Of course, assess each provider individually across capabilities, industry expertise, and cultural fit. But use size and budget as an initial filtering criterion when researching outsourcing companies. Finding the right partner – not too big, not too small, but just right – takes evaluation across factors.
Be Flexible as Needs Scale Up and Down
Consider partners able to flexibly scale up and down as your needs change over time.
“We value outsourcing partners able to quickly ramp up for big projects, then dial back down during maintenance mode.”
The right software development outsourcing companies will grow with you over time.
Step 5: Choose Industry Experience
Domain expertise goes a long way when evaluating software development outsourcing companies. Partners experienced in your specific industry vertical will understand the business context and nuances.
“We required an outsourcing provider intimately familiar with healthcare systems and regulations. This enabled faster development and go-to-market.”
Key Tips for Assessing Industry Experience
When researching potential partners:
- Review case studies and client lists mapping to your vertical
- Request references from companies similar to yours
- Ask about regulations, trends, and domain knowledge
- Evaluate experience across all relevant sub-verticals
For example, a healthcare software product requires knowledge across:
- Clinical systems
- Insurance claim processing
- Hospital workflows
- Patient portals
Deep expertise across these healthcare sub-domains will facilitate development. Take time validating targeted industry experience when selecting your custom software development outsourcing partner.
Step 6: Evaluate Onshore vs. Offshore Models
When evaluating software development outsourcing companies, a key decision is using an onshore, offshore, or blended engagement model.
We leverage a hybrid approach with an onshore program manager coupled with offshore development teams. This balances communication and cost.”
The Onshore and Offshore Pros and Cons
- No language or cultural gaps
- Easier travel for in-person meetings
- Limited talent pool availability
- Higher salary costs
- Abundant skilled talent
- Significant 60%+ cost savings
- Communication and language challenges
- Can require extra oversight
Hybrid Models Offer the Best of Both
A blended engagement with an onshore program manager providing oversight along with offshore development teams offers advantages:
- Onshore engagement lead
- Offshore team scale and costs
- Balanced communications
Assess each partner across onshore and offshore capabilities to find the right mix for your needs. The best outsourcing firms offer flexible delivery models.
Step 7: Vetting Outsourcing Partners on Capabilities Beyond Development
When evaluating software outsourcing companies, you need to look beyond pure development capabilities and dig into key company-specific factors like:
Management and Processes
“We needed a partner aligned with our Agile culture that could deliver rapid iterations.”
Ensure fit with your preferred development approaches like Waterfall, Agile, DevOps. Look for expertise in project management and robust processes.
Location and Talent
Consider offshore partners in tier 2 or 3 cities, instead of overloaded tech hubs:
|City Type||Talent Competition||Costs|
|Tier 1 Tech Hub||Extremely High||Higher|
|Tier 2 Emerging City||Moderate||Lower|
Retention and Learning Culture
Evaluate employee churn rates and commitment to training.
“We invest heavily in professional development and certification programs.”
This translates to lower attrition and higher competencies. Taking a 360-degree view of outsourcing partners beyond pure development ability is key to finding the best fit.
Wrapping up – How to Find the Right Software Development Outsourcing Companies
I’ve seen the trials and triumphs of software outsourcing done right – and wrong. There’s no one size fits all solution, but using a systematic approach focused on your unique needs is key. Aligning on expertise, delivery models, culture, and vision matters just as much as technical competency.
Treat your partners as an extension of your own team, not just vendors to manage. With the right partner, outsourcing can unlock innovation, skills, and savings impossible to achieve alone. But it requires trust, transparency, and collaboration every step of the way.
If you take the time to find an outsourcing provider that feels like family, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish together. Focus on the long-term partnership, not short-term price. The results will speak for themselves. I’m hopeful this guide provides a blueprint to find your ideal software outsourcing match.
FAQs – How to Find the Right Software Development Outsourcing Companies
How do I shortlist potential partners?
Start by identifying companies that meet your basic criteria like location, size, industry expertise. Then narrow down further based on capabilities, culture, and references. Aim to shortlist around 5-7 companies to evaluate in-depth.
What are warning signs of a poor partner fit?
Red flags include high attrition rates, lack of industry knowledge, poor communication practices, misaligned processes, and unclear intellectual property protections. Trust your gut if something feels off.
Should I hire a single provider or multiple?
Using multiple outsourcing providers can mitigate risk. However, it also requires more overhead to manage. Working with a single, trusted partner is often easiest long-term.
How can I compare offshore cost structures?
Ask for detailed rate cards accounting for roles, experience levels, and geographies. Require transparent pricing with no hidden fees. Cost savings of 60%+ over onshore is achievable.
When is outsourcing not recommended?
Outsourcing may not work well for highly custom projects without clear requirements. Building core IP or platforms is often better handled in-house initially.
How can I manage distributed teams effectively?
Focus on over-communication, collaboration practices, and relationship building. Bridge cultural gaps. Invest in tools for tracking work and enabling transparency.
What contract terms should I include?
Cover IP protection, quality expectations, HR practices, pricing structures. Include flexibility for scaling capacity up and down. Add early termination clauses.