BHW Group Blog

7 Reasons to Outsource Software Development

Given the vital role software plays in the success of modern companies, hiring the right software developers is critical. However, many companies have a hard time finding, attracting, training, and retaining skilled developers. Furthermore, the number of developers a company needs at any given time can vary greatly. For that reason, it makes sense for many companies to consider outsourcing their software development. This article will explore 7 reasons why you should consider hiring software development consultants.

1. Maintain a modern & diverse skill set

Antique computer

When a company begins doing internal software development, they usually end up defining their software ecosystem for a decade or more. That first piece of software will act as an anchor for all future work. Subsequent software will reuse, extend, and in many ways be bound to that first application. This is not an innately bad thing. In fact, it is great that all these applications work together. Unfortunately, there is a definite downside in that your internal developers might not be expanding their skill sets.

New and existing developers will become experts on how to develop your software, rather than becoming experts in software development itself. By no fault of their own, they will spend time figuring out how to do X with version 1 of technology Y, rather than seeing if there is another technology that can easily handle the problem. By working for more than one company, on many projects, using a diverse set of technologies, developers at consulting companies can often approach problems with a current and diverse skill set. This is especially useful when your company is expanding into a new software environment, such as making its first mobile app.

2. Attract better developers

Modern & awesome computer

Many developers are aware of the situation described above. When I was in school, my goal (and the goal of many of my classmates) was to avoid working somewhere where my skills would atrophy. I knew that if I took such a position, I would have to invest substantial extra time in my abilities to stay relevant in the ever-changing field of software development. This is what attracted me to working for a software consulting company. Also, this is one reason why we are able to attract some of the top graduates from fantastic schools.

Many of the best developers want to be constantly challenged and growing by working on different projects, using new technologies. Of course, if you are a cool software company (Google, Microsoft, some startup, etc.) you can get great talent. However, if you are in a more traditional industry and do not put in considerable effort, you will have an extremely difficult time finding and keeping the level of talent that consulting companies can attract and develop.

3. Make fewer hiring mistakes

Milton from Office Space - bad employee

Attracting top developers can only get you so far. You have to be able to determine which developer applicants would actually perform well on the job. By hiring a consulting company, you are not only offloading development, you are also relying on their ability to evaluate and hire good developers.

If you are not an expert in something, it is nearly impossible to determine how talented applicants in that field are. You might be able to tell if someone is a good fit personality wise, but knowing someone can get the job done is much, much more difficult. Speaking as a software developer, I can tell you how frequently someone with an impressive looking resume can’t actually code at a passable level. Even though we are developers and interview dozens of applicants a year, it can still be difficult to get a feel for how well someone would perform professionally. I know tons of companies that cycle through developers on a regular basis, simply because they are unable to properly evaluate applicants. Finding the right consulting company can help alleviate this issue.

4. Pay for development as a service (utility-style pricing)

Cost comparison of internal development vs. outsourcing

Most companies development needs surge and sink throughout time. Even over the lifespan of a project, an internal development team might go from working double shifts to leaving early one week to the next. This results in large amount waste in the form of unnecessary payroll.

By working with a consulting company, you are able to pay for development the same way you pay for electricity or water. You only pay for what you use.

5. Hire a company, not a single developer

When hiring a new developer, you look for one who has the experience needed to fill the position. You might be looking for someone with 5 years of experience with .NET and 2 years experience doing Android development. Since this is a somewhat odd skill combination, you are severely limiting your applicant pool. Furthermore, you will likely end up paying above market value for this employee.

By instead hiring a consulting company, you are effectively hiring 2 (or more) developers that work for you half-time. It does not make a difference to you that instead of paying one person for 40 hours of work, you are paying 2 people for 20 hours of work each. Moreover, it is very likely that you will be getting two developers who will perform better at their individual tasks than the one internal employee would on either.

Good consulting companies can take this even a step further by providing multiple developers with different amounts of experience at different rates. This allows you to never overpay for a senior developer to perform a task that an entry-level developer could handle. This of course requires the consulting company to understand who can perform what tasks and what is ultimately most cost-effective for their clients.

6. Remove day-to-day distractions

Developer Distractions

Many companies already have an internal developer or team of developers. However, that does not mean that they should not consider also working with a software development consulting company. In many ways, having a slight separation from the core company might be beneficial. Often internal development teams, particularly at smaller companies, end up getting pulled in many different directions. They are supporting existing applications, managing IT, and often helping with random odds and ends. These urgent and in-person issues can derail progress on new development.

So, when the time comes to begin work on a new application, giving it to a group that is free from these distractions will help keep a project on schedule. This is even more important on projects that have a firm deadline. Few things increase programmer efficiency more than having a single task to focus on. For many developers coding is a mindset that takes time to enter and even longer to return after a distraction. Being pulled away to fix an email account might take 10 minutes, but it could easily slow the project down by 30.

7. Play to your strengths

Charles Barkley playing golf
Charles Barkley (NBA hall of famer) playing golf

A great leader understands her or his strengths. They also know when there is someone else who can perform a task better. Most companies are founded and managed by people who know their domain. By hiring a software development consulting company, you are free to focus on what you do best and let the consulting company take care of the things you have less experience with. Just like the above point discussed how eliminating developer distractions increases productivity, offloading some of your own concerns can also increase your effectiveness.

Conclusion

It would be incorrect to say that all companies face the challenges presented above. But, I think it is fair to say the majority will face some or most of these at some point. It would also be entirely inaccurate to say the above benefits exist when working with any consulting company. I would simply argue that a software development consulting company has the capacity to provide these benefits. A great consulting company understands and provides these benefits to their clients. If you are searching for such a company, I would begin your search with The BHW Group. Contact us today and see how we can help in the areas described in this article and many more!

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Paul serves as the primary point of contact for many of BHW’s clients. He assists app owners in making high-level decisions and guides them through the design, development, and deployment processes. As a developer, Paul has worked on numerous web and mobile projects, including several of BHW’s flagship applications. When not at the office, he can often be found at the Alamo Drafthouse, the Flying Saucer, The Ballpark in Arlington, or The New Movement.