Inhouse Development Vs. Outsourcing Software: A Tale of Two Approaches

When you embark on the journey of commissioning or creating a custom software solution, the questions don’t stop after the initial decision. Perhaps the biggest question at this point in time is: Should we explore ways to do this inhouse, or should we try outsourcing software?

To complicate the matter, it is rarely a clear-cut decision due to the staggering amount of variables involved. However, some guidelines hold true across the board. Let’s start with an overview of the two methods, with their advantages and disadvantages.

The Overview

To a point, the names give their own definitions. In-house developers become part of your home team, working side by side with the other employees. Outsourcing covers a much larger array of options. Those developers may be freelancers you employ as outside contractors or an agency that supplies your company with developers. They can be halfway around the world or just offshore.

In-house developers are found just like the other employees at the companies were found. They become a part of the home team. Outsourced contractors, on the other hand, can be hired for as long as they are needed and no more, depending on the terms of the contract.

The Advantages

A team of in-house developers or a developer has the great advantage of working directly with the rest of the team members. Communication flows more quickly, meetings are easier to set up and everything is in one centralized location. The flexibility and visibility of the project also tend to be more easily achieved when the team is in-house.

On the other hand, outsourced teams have the potential to have much wider skill sets at lower prices than anyone locally will offer you. There is no commitment beyond what your company needs from them. No need for extra office space, equipment, benefits, and all the other requirements that come along with new hires.

The benefits are very different from each other. What does your company need? Take a moment to think about the items or areas that you value above all else. How do they fit so far?

The Drawbacks

The drawbacks to a team of in-house developers start with the high cost of finding the people you need. Talent is not easy to find and local developers tend to be in high demand. Many custom solutions only need to be built once. That will only take a finite amount of time. Does your company need a team of developers long-term? Or would it be better for your company to look for a shorter-term solution–such as outsourcing software?

On the flip side, outsourcing software brings its own set of challenges. Communication and  transparency can slow down to a crawl, languages barriers loom, and maybe you can’t even get into contact with the people you want to talk to about these problems. Many of these issues can be easily avoided by dealing with an established company or agency, greatly reducing the potential risk. However, the questions still lurk in the shadows, particularly during the research process. How can you be sure?

Many of these concerns simply cannot be addressed without more context. You could hire the best outsourcing team for your needs and they could blow the work of an in-house developer out of the water. Or you might need people who will be working on sustaining the custom application for years to come and an outsourcing team may not want that kind of commitment. It all depends.

Which?

To reiterate, at the end of the day, it all depends on your company’s unique needs. If you have the budget and time to assemble a crack in-house team, that may be the best answer for you. For the ones who have more limitations, the advantages of outsourcing with a reputable company cannot be understated.  

Keep in mind that this is not an “either-or” dilemma as well. Variations abound, both for in-sourcing and outsourcing software. The distinction remains, but it does not limit the possibilities after the decision is made. Rather, it provides clarification to you and your team as you continue to work through discovering what you need.  

If you are curious to learn more, want to start the discovery process, or simply want to understand your options in a better way, contact our team of professionals at Swan Software Solutions. We are more than happy to help in any way that you need us, whether that is uncovering what you need, helping you explore your options, or demonstrating what we offer. We look forward to getting in touch!

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