Recent data shows that 60 percent of companies outsource at least part of their app development strategy. These businesses resort to outsourcing for various reasons, from wanting to save money to not having an in-house expert who can assist with app development.
Are you thinking about outsourcing app development or software development (for any reason)? If so, this article is an excellent starting point.
Our guide breaks down everything you need to know, from the benefits of outsourcing to choosing the best development agency.
Why Outsource App Development?
Outsourcing is on the rise, in part because it’s so beneficial to companies of all types and sizes. If you’re considering outsourcing app development, here are some specific benefits you might experience:
A desire to save money is often at the heart of businesses’ decision to outsource anything, including app development.
Consider the average cost of a mobile app — between $15K and $60K. Then, consider what you’d spend on annual salaries for an in-house app development team. Add the cost of benefits for these employees, plus the cost of setting up their offices, buying their equipment, etc.
After doing that math, outsourcing is starting to look pretty good, isn’t it?
You’re already a small business owner who wears many hats. What’s wrong with adding one more and learning how to build your own app?
It takes a lot of time and energy to pick up a new skill like coding. Do you really have the bandwidth for that?
Before you say that you can use one of those drag-and-drop app building tools, remember that they offer limited options and might not work for the type of app you want to create.
When you outsource app development, you buy back time to focus on your business and use your existing skills. You can also rest assured you’re getting a high-quality, unique product.
Speed Up Time to Market
In addition to saving you time, outsourcing can also speed up the time it takes to get your app to market.
When you work with an app development team, you have a group of professionals dedicated to creating your app, testing it, and preparing it to launch. Instead of waiting a year or longer to design and launch your app, it will take around 3-4 months (on average).
Work with Experts
By outsourcing app development, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing experienced professionals are creating your app.
App development agencies employ skilled developers and project managers who know how to build an impressive app. They also provide their employees with the latest and greatest equipment, further speeding up the development process and ensuring a great product.
Enjoy Ongoing Support
The best app development agencies offer ongoing support to the clients who outsource to them.
With this support, you’ll be able to connect with a member of the team whenever you have questions or want to check on your app’s progress. You’ll also get support after the app has launched in case you notice bugs or want to make an update.
Maximize App Security
With quality equipment and years of app development experience, the team you work with to create your app knows what is required to build a secure app.
It doesn’t matter if you’re concerned about losing your business’s data or protecting your customers’ data (or both). The best developers will know what to do to provide a high level of security.
Types of App Development Outsourcing
App development and software development outsourcing come in a few different forms, including the following:
The onsite outsourcing model involves an outsourced team reporting to your office and working alongside your in-house employees.
If your business is located in the same area as the agency you’re working with, onsite outsourcing can be a viable option. It can speed up the learning process and help outsourced staff understand your business, its mission, and your goals.
Onshore outsourcing involves working with a third-party agency or development team located in the same state or country as your business. This approach allows for more accessible communication because you won’t have to worry about cultural differences or language barriers.
Nearshore outsourcing is one step removed from onshore outsourcing.
This version of outsourcing involves working with a third-party agency or development team located in a neighboring country. If your business operates in the U.S., working with a team in Canada or Mexico would be an example of nearshore outsourcing.
Nearshore outsourcing can be more affordable and helps to minimize the risk of time zone differences. However, you might still have to deal with language barriers.
Offshore outsourcing involves working with a third-party agency or team in a distant location. This option is often the most affordable. However, it also comes with the most challenges, especially regarding language barriers and cultural differences.
How to Choose the Right App Development Company
No matter what kind of app development outsourcing you’re leaning toward, you must pick the right company or agency to create your app. Without the right team behind you, you won’t enjoy all the benefits outsourcing offers.
The following tips can help you vet app developers and choose the best team for your needs and goals:
Clarify Business Objectives
You could be working with the best development company in the world. However, if they don’t know your business’s mission and objectives, they’ll struggle to meet your needs and create a quality product.
Before you reach out to developers, sit down with your team and clarify your reasoning for developing an app. Think about your goals, the problems you want the app to solve, and your target app audience. The more information you can share with your developers, the better.
Ask for a Referral
Because so many businesses are interested in developing apps these days, there are tons of development agencies out there advertising their services.
If you’re unsure how to start your search, begin by reaching out to people in your network who have recently built apps for their businesses. Ask them about their experience with a particular developer and if they would work with that company again.
Look at Each Company’s List of Services
Whether you build your shortlist of candidates from referrals or your own online research, the next step to choosing the best development company is to visit each one’s website and look at their list of services.
Make sure they offer app development services that align with your needs and goals. For example, if you want to cater to customers who use iOS devices, you should ensure the developer creates iOS apps.
Ask About Developers’ Experience
While you’re on each development agency’s website, look around and see if you can find information about their team’s experience.
How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in a particular service (app development, software development, etc.)? What kind of training have their team received?
Request Proof of Certifications and Accreditations
Take things a step further and look for verification of certifications and accreditations the development agency claims its team possesses.
Requesting proof helps you weed out candidates who might be editorializing their experience. It also allows you to narrow down your options and choose the agency that’s the best fit for your business’s app development needs.
Learn About the Development Process
The best development agencies are transparent regarding their development process. Look for agencies that outline their steps to ensure a quality product.
At a minimum, the list of steps should include the following:
Research and Prototyping
Steer clear of development agencies that don’t prioritize client research. They should get to know your brand and audience before beginning work on your app.
Once they’ve done sufficient research, it’ll be easier to create a prototype (a model of your app), so you can get an idea of how the finished product will look.
If you’re satisfied with the prototype, the developers will move on and start backend development.
The backend is all the aspects of an app that users don’t see. It controls the app’s functions and ensures it works properly.
The developers will move on to the front-end when the backend is complete. The frontend is the part of the app users see and interact with.
Look for development agencies with a rigorous quality assurance process. They should put your app through a series of tests to ensure all elements work correctly and are bug-free.
Once your app has been tested and proven effective, it’ll be ready to launch.
The developer will assist with releasing your app on the App Store or Google Play Store. They should also work with you to address any bugs or customer issues post-launch.
Consider Communication Protocols
The app development process requires ongoing communication, especially when outsourcing the project to someone else.
Before agreeing to work with a particular developer, ask about their communication protocols.
What methods do they use? Email? Phone? Chat?
During what hours are they available? 24-7? Monday through Friday from 9-5?
Look for a developer that gives you multiple ways to communicate with them. Make sure they’re available when you’re on the clock, too, so you can get in touch quickly if you have questions.
Ensure Emphasis on UI/UX
User interface or UI refers to how your app looks. User experience or UX refers to your app’s functions and whether users enjoy interacting with it.
UI and UX matter when creating a quality app, so look for developers that emphasize both during the development and quality assurance processes.
Pay Attention to Price
Naturally, you’ll want to know how much it’ll cost to outsource app development to a third party.
There’s nothing wrong with asking about pricing. In fact, most developers expect it, so don’t shy away from the question.
When deciding which development agency to hire, ask for a detailed quote. The quote will help you understand how much the agency’s services cost and what you’re paying for, specifically.
Don’t be afraid to get a few quotes before making a decision. Many developers offer free quotes, and there’s no risk or obligation to work with them after you’ve received one.
Talk About the Timeline
When you’re thinking about working with a developer, talk about the project timeline.
The developers likely can’t give you an exact date when they’ll be finished. However, they can estimate when they’ll complete the app.
This information will help you plan the marketing strategy for your app and ensure you don’t hype people up prematurely (or wait too long to tell them an app is coming).
Schedule a Consultation
You can learn a lot about an app development company by simply perusing their website or reading online reviews. Before you make a final decision, though, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation so you can talk in person, via video chat, or over the phone.
A consultation gives you a chance to ask any lingering questions. It also helps you get a feel for the developer(s) who will work on your app.
If you seem to get along well with them and have a good rapport, trust your gut and consider giving them a chance. On the other hand, if they seem hard to communicate with, that might be a sign that they’re not the right fit for you.
Common Outsourcing Obstacles and How to Avoid Them
Choosing the right app development team is one of the most critical aspects of successful outsourcing. However, you should also be aware of common challenges companies face when outsourcing.
Here are some of the most well-known outsourcing obstacles you might encounter, with tips on avoiding them.
Time Zone Differences
When most people think of time zone differences being an obstacle, they think of offshore outsourcing. However, you can also run into time zone differences in nearshore outsourcing.
For example, if an agency is based in a different part of the country, you might not be able to reach them when you have questions.
To avoid this issue, consider working with an agency in your same time zone. If they’re not in the same time zone, address your concerns during your consultation and ask how they deal with them.
Language barriers can also be challenging, particularly with offshore and nearshore outsourcing.
During your consultation, ask about the language most commonly used by the development team. If you don’t speak the same language, you might want to ask about translation services to ensure everyone stays on the same page throughout the project.
You can still encounter communication issues when outsourcing app development without language barriers or time zone issues.
Perhaps the developers aren’t responsive to questions. Maybe they don’t give clear answers.
Pay attention to how the developers communicate with you when asking questions or seeking information. If it seems complicated to keep in touch, that’s a red flag.
Unclear or Unrealistic Expectations
Communication is a two-way street, and you need to make sure you’re communicating clearly with your developers if you want them to do great work.
Set clear expectations immediately, and be realistic about what they can accomplish. Clarity and realism set everyone up for a better, less frustrating experience and ensure you’re not disappointed.
Some businesses hesitate to outsource app development because they’re worried about the agency stealing their secrets.
The best agencies have stringent security protocols to protect your data and ensure you trust them. You can also ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before your consultation.
Remember that research is one of the most critical parts of the app development process.
Be wary of development companies that don’t seem to have a clear plan for conducting market research and learning about your business, products, audience, etc. Without in-depth analysis, you might end up with a generic app that doesn’t meet your goals.
Even the best developers may incur surprise expenses when working on your app. However, you can minimize the number of unpleasant surprises you receive by asking for a detailed quote at the beginning.
Looking for the Lowest Price
When collecting quotes, you might be tempted to choose the developer that offers the lowest price for their services.
Beware of this mindset and resist the urge to save a few dollars (or even a few hundred dollars).
Cheaper does not always mean better, especially for app development. It’s often worth spending a bit more to work with experienced professionals who value quality assurance and care about your vision.
Outsource App Development Today
Are you convinced that outsourcing app development is the right choice for you and your business?
Use this guide to choose the right app development agency, avoid common outsourcing mistakes, and set yourself up for long-term success.
Alpha Bravo development is here for you if you want to outsource app or software development to a trustworthy, experienced company. Contact us today for a free quote, consultation, and technical analysis.