Business growth brings in new demands every day. Can't keep up? A software solution can do it for you.
Aside from easing management practices, it also increases your ROI, security, and scalability. Moreover, it cuts down costs significantly long-term. But how do you build this type of platform? And should you offshore or invest in training your own team of experts?
Table of Contents:
1. How custom software development can help your SME expand.
2. Common myths that probably swayed you away from offshoring (and why they shouldn’t).
3. Choosing the right software development methodology for your business.
How custom software development can help your SME expand
Finding the right technology for business operations can be tricky. Especially if ready-made software on the market is not compatible with your system or flexible enough for your requirements.
It makes more sense to use a platform that's highly adaptive and specifically tailored for your needs - so you can have full control and keep your growth on track. With this type of software, you can improve internal communication, boost productivity and increase customer satisfaction.
It's important to note that the needs of a startup when it comes to custom software differ greatly from those of a big company.
An established business can work with offshore developers to automate warehousing and fulfillment, as well as to streamline complicated operations and information from one source.
The custom platform can also enhance cloud technology and eliminate most back-end development using APIs.
Giants like Amazon now focus on convenience and on implementing a comprehensive e-commerce strategy on multiple channels.
On the other hand, a startup or smaller enterprise uses software development to:
optimize all workflow and implement customized features
- automate low-level tasks that do not require specific skills
- gather and analyze data efficiently
- strengthen cybersecurity and data protection
- sustain technology updates and demands long-term
- intuitively respond to minor and major changes required by your business framework
- facilitate integration and improve overall performance
So, the main difference between a big company and a smaller enterprise when it comes to custom software is that when we talk about small businesses, there's no standard solution.
Transitioning from a startup to a bigger enterprise comes with its fair share of both opportunities and challenges. In order to overcome the latter, you almost always need a custom software solution.
And the best place to get it is from a skilled offshore team.
Common myths that probably swayed you away from offshoring (and why they shouldn’t)
You might have already seen outsourcing and offshoring used interchangeably online. But they actually mean different things.
Outsourcing stands for delegating work to an external organization.
Offshoring refers to obtaining services or products from a company that’s overseas (and can include outsourcing).
Here are the most notorious misconceptions surrounding offshore software development:
- Language barriers – offshore developers don’t know English
When you hear offshoring, you most likely instinctively think of communication issues.
However, research suggests that an increasing number of offshore teams speak English fluently and have loyal employees with excellent work ethic.
If you are from Europe or the US, choosing a CEE country will easily eliminate any cultural differences. In fact, Poland was ranked 13th in the world for English skills and Krakow is slowly becoming known as the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe.
Moreover, 39% of Polish people (aged 25-34) have university degrees and account for 10% of all EU graduates. They also focus more on automation and developing innovative technologies that maximize code quality.
- Offshoring development is for big players only
It’s true that offshore teams generally find large companies more appealing. But they’re certainly not turning their backs on startups.
You might think that overseas companies are not accessible to your small business, but
SMEs are the primary customers of BPO Companies.
What you will find is that the industry is open to so-called “small players” and that offshoring is no longer a preserve of bigger enterprises.
- Delegating implies a loss of control over business operations
This critique has more to do with what you are delegating than the act of delegating itself.
As a growing business, you constantly outsource your work. The issue comes when you give unnecessary authority over your product or services.
And the solution is simple – only delegate non-core activities. Meaning tasks that your clients wouldn’t pay you for, and that do not cause any major change in your service or product.
Meanwhile, your direct employees have more time to focus on work that is intimately aligned with your brand’s goals and vision.
- Low price means low quality (and cutting costs is the only advantage)
Offshoring industries have a bad reputation, but it shouldn’t be the case anymore.
Foreign IT, in particular, is considered to be low-value. However, the evidence suggests otherwise – although workers do receive smaller salaries, their living expenses are also reduced.
The main benefit of delegating is exactly this – that you don’t have to settle for poor output. Instead, you can choose a firm that consistently works to improve quality standards and performance.
Research shows that 78% of companies claim that they feel positive about their outsourcing relationship. Many offshore developers are highly-qualified – and will easily prove this if given the chance.
- Offshore companies can compromise privacy and intellectual property
There are a number of security risks associated with offshore software development.
Some are unfounded, and some are reasonable.
The most efficient way to overcome this obstacle is to have your partner sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Breaching it can have serious consequences for their business.
But what happens once you start working with a designated company?
What methodology do you plan on using?
Choosing the right software development methodology for your business
A smart approach to the development process will reduce your risks and minimize the chances of a bad outcome.
Here’s what you need to know: there are two methods primarily used by companies.
One is waterfall (popularly known as the “traditional” approach), where every activity is defined at the start of the project and executed consecutively, with each stage having to be finalized before the next one begins.
The other is agile (much faster, as the name suggests), where there is a collection of short iterations (also known as “sprints”), each of which involves a different phase of software quality improvement. The key difference here is that agile allows you to make changes throughout the development project.
Here’s what each of these methods can do for you:
- Easier planning and progress evaluation
- Better software design (that prevents the “piecemeal effect”)
- Saves time and money
- Easier to manage and adapt for shifting teams
- Faster delivery
- Transparency and user-focused development
- Improved communication and quick feedback
- Higher software quality
- Fixed schedule and predictable costs
- Early delivery of the basic software version
- Beta test option after every “sprint”
- Reduced risks (output is constantly reviewed and adapted)
Offshoring opens up the door to endless opportunities for growth. It helps you connect with highly proficient and innovative developers, reduces infrastructure costs and, most importantly, allows you to focus on the core mission and objectives of your business.
Hiring a development company can enhance productivity, build high-tech security and give you the chance to discover new talents.
So basically, it’s all about finding the right team. That’s what effective offshoring ultimately boils down to. If you manage to do that, it’s a win-win for both of you - and a worthwhile long-term investment.