It Outsourcing & Web Development

By: Jatin Patel

1. What is IT Outsourcing?

IT outsourcing, and Web Development in particular, is a most effective way to stretch your budget. If you need to have state-of-the-art IT solutions worked out and innovations implemented with fewer losses, outsourcing may be the only way out. Cutting your costs and upgrading the quality of the services you offer will allow you to concentrate on your core activities and expand the competitive capacity of your business. This is the main reason why an average Web development and/or Web development company resorts to outsourcing today.

What kinds of projects are usually outsourced?
In theory, it's possible to outsource almost any kind of project (e.g., Application development, Database design, Web development, Ecommerce solutions, Ecommerce Web site design, etc.). In practice, businesses usually prefer to keep network and database administration in house and to outsource such projects that would allow them to concentrate on their core activities. This is true for outsourcing both to domestic and offshore vendors. A middle-sized wen development company or a Web design company might outsource virtually each project, especially the company has established reliable partnership relations with the vendor.

What return of investment can I expect?
I've read that when managers of a web development company plan outsourcing, they usually make it their aim to cut down expenditures by 30% or even more. Moreover, I believe that if you count not only person hours required to implement the project but also the deployment and in-house personnel training costs, you'll be able to save about 50% of your expenses by outsourcing your project overseas.

Is there a surefire way to choose a reliable outsource service provider?
I'm afraid there isn't. However, there are ways to avoid costly blunders. Choosing an OSP that best fits your needs is a hard and responsible job. A comprehensive Request for Proposal will help you create competition between the potential vendors and, consequently, cut your costs. Contact at least one client of each potential vendor for the information on the quality and promptness of the service

Are internationally certified vendors more reliable?
International technical certification such as SEI-CMM Level 3, 4, or 5 and ISO-9001 usually guarantees that you'll have no problems with the specification, plans, quality assurance, and with the process in general. On the downside, an internationally certified OSP will charge you more, so if you're top priority is return on investment; you might want to look for a vendor that will offer you the same quality for a lower price.

Can you tell me something specific about outsourcing web development?
Choosing a provider to outsource a project to, you may ask for code samples and have them reviewed by specialists. After you've made your choice, discuss coding standards with the vendor, determine the appropriate requirements, and include them in the text of the agreement. Building mock-ups of the system and/or UI prototypes at the specification phase is one of the most important features of efficient software development. Any OSP is supposed to have a routine procedure of using a bug tracking system to manage bug reports. If they do, you should have access to the bug reports related to your project. If they don't, you might consider creating your own one and providing the vendor with access to the appropriate bug reports.

How important the specification, project plan, and other documents?
Very important. Even the way the documents are drawn up say a lot to any specialist because they're a mirror of the vendor's in-house process. The clarity and accuracy of style reflect the vendor's culture and experience. The specification must be easy to understand, especially the description of the principle of operation. The project plan should include a number of milestones and deadlines. If it's software development that you're outsourcing, your agreement with the vendor must provide for the delivery of the code after each milestone is achieved. This way you will additionally secure the project: if your vendor doesn't meet the next deadline, you can hand the project over to another OSP.

Who should I contact while the project is being implemented?
You may talk the most general issues over with the top management of the OSP, while everything else has to be discussed with the key personnel such as managers and team leaders. If you try to communicate with the rank and file, it can lead to commotion or even chaos.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?
&bullTechnical Competence: top IT professionals are available offshore and they can work for you.
&bullQuality: customers can be assured that their projects will be done on time and according to the highest quality and technical standards.
&bullCosts: customers are sure to save at least 50 per cent of all expenses if development is done in-house, not even taking into account the expenses on infrastructure and equipment.
&bullStart-up time: it is usually much easier and faster to start up a project offshore than in-house. Besides, offshore companies can take projects at any stage.
&bullProtection: all intellectual property rights will belong to the original company.

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