Outsourcing or in-house app development?

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Ever wondered if you should hire a developer or partner up with a software house for an app development? Take a look at advantages and disadvantages of both solutions and choose what’s best for you.

Consider the situation where you purchased an architecturally embellished piece of China Cabinet. You spotted this wonder on the Internet and couldn’t wait to set your hands on it, ever since you hit the “buy” button. There it is, staring at you, the mahogany shade of wood a bit darker than you thought (was it your imagination?). And an assembly-instruction manual (definitely not your imagination!). You gape at the instructions to put together the intricate wood pieces. How could you have missed the fine print: assembly required
To make matters worse, this was supposed to be a surprise gift for your spouse, who would be arriving in twelve hours from T seconds! As you scramble for the toolbox, you realize you would need extra pairs of hands to pull together the Project China Cabinet. You call a few reluctant friends and manage to complete the piece just in time.

The minute your spouse arrive, they love the surprise. But now in the daylight, you can see a few cabinet doors lop-siding!

It’s the thought that counts! But had you called a woodworks specialist or a carpenter, the surprise would have been managed quite well!

This is your typical outsource Vs in-house dilemma. The app business environment can be safely based on the above analogy. The only difference is, the stakes are much higher and very unforgiving. While many companies feel they do possess the software development skills needed to build a web or mobile app, they often realize in the middle of the undertaking, that they may have used extra pair of hands!  If you think an in-house app development is usually cheaper, easier, faster and more controllable, then consider the following.

The Perils of in-House App Development

Let’s look at these briefly.

Research tells us that despite being well-equipped with programmers, organizations still suffer from a skill-gap when it comes to in-house app development. Many organizations realize the gap only when they are knee-deep in a project! App development is a serious business that requires serious skills! No two operating systems are the same. The Android and iOS are distinct coding languages and come with a steep learning curve. Android works on Java and iOS works on Swift or Objective C. Crossing over the two languages to build the other operating system is not feasible. Additional training is required for effective programming for both operating systems. Creating apps for either platforms requires formal training.

Hiring someone for in-house app development to work with your existing team of developers many not be free of challenges either. First of all, the hiring process is quite expensive and time consuming. Think about the process of advertising, listing, background checks, salaries and perks for the newly hired personnel. You may not have the required expertise within your desired time-frame. It takes on average, 3 – 6 months for a person to come completely on-board.

In-house app development risks

Did you ever consider the risk associated with in-house placements for a new app project? How can you be so sure that your development team would have the expertise for app projects? Sometimes just “trying out” a plan leads to fatal mistakes. Can your company afford a delay in the app launch? Can your company afford a bad reputation associated with a bad app? How will your marketing effort be effected? The answers to these questions will further clarify your decision making process.

Another common area easily overseen is the scalability. What is the project needed to expand beyond the original scope. Who would work on the project then? If you do decide to broaden the scope, will outsourced hires be able to take over from your in-house team smoothly? Mobile programming, just like any other programming environments, comes with its own coding conventions and communication protocols.

Think of the future and beyond before deciding to go in-house.

The Outsourcing Advantage

Now outsourcing really means handing over the reins to a foreign company. How comfortable are you? Better yet, how can you achieve the comfort level of handing over your organization app project to external personnel? Outsourcing is really a strategic decision that stems from performance and knowledge gaps within an organization. Such decisions are taken with deeper thought and greater confidence.

Let’s look at some of the advantages of outsourcing your web or mobile app development to an external software house:

The main advantage of outsourcing is the fixed cost quote you may receive, especially if your project is a standard app. An experienced app development company will have an existing library of these standard features that will share with you happily. These have been tested and optimized to handle all imaginable errors in the app world. You may not need to build certain features of your app from scratch. The developers will customize the proven solutions for you. Also, you can have a clear idea of what your finished product will look like. A good software house will provide you with a concrete contract with clearly demonstrated milestones. They also have mitigation plans in place in case something goes wrong. They believe in communicating often and coming across as accountable teams.

The other one is a quicker start and a quicker finish. Experienced software houses are capable of beginning the project as soon as it is handed over. They also have the right collaboration protocols for a smoother and efficient working environment. Also, with their history of work, they will bring with them the best practices they have acquired over the years of working on creating apps.

The bottom line

the decision to choose between outsourcing and in-house really depends on the cost and the risk associated. How high are your stakes? You may have the best programming team, but app development is an entirely different ball game.  Think of the lop-sided China Cabinet doors that will not be overseen if your spouse were to be replaced by a customer!

Not sure if outsourcing your project is your best option? Take a look at who we work with and decide if we’re a match for you: United Ideas | For Whom?

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