What is an Offshore development partner’s purpose? To guide you through the process and to take care of your entire legwork. So you want a company with years of experience developing productive offshore teams.
They are supposed to understand the business, the culture and have seen everything before. Unfortunately, while many companies are calling themselves “offshore construction specialists” or others are providing “offshore outsourcing,” some are far away.
Let’s look at how to test early doors for an offshore partner – ensuring that they’re genuinely trustworthy and professional – before you’re in too deep.
Are You Certain You Are Offshoring?
Offshoring and outsourcing are two very different models although they are often used interchangeably. The problem is that as offshoring becomes more popular, outsourcing firms want their pie slice, misleadingly advertising services “offshoring” or “offshore outsourcing.”
Offshoring: Building a dedicated software development team in another country (complete with office space, administration and management). Offshoring has many advantages, most importantly the savings and exposure to a vast pool of talent. You own the entire team and they are fully integrated into your company but your Offshore Production Partner handles the administration.
Outsourcing: Hiring vendors to cover a power deficit temporarily. These are more like freelancers. They are called in when necessary, but independent of your organization. Workload is outsourced in all industries, typically due to lower costs. And this is always fine. As a result, investing in a great offshore company has major cost benefits.
How to Evaluate Offshore Partners For Compliance
1. Test Their Demonstrated Expertise
It’s 2020: there’s no reason why your offshore partner’s website doesn’t display portfolio items or case studies. These can provide a perceptive view on what your offshore partner can do, and how well they are doing it.
Your prospective partner should be able to showcase their productive offshore development team building experience. The most important information, such as project strategy or relationships, schedules, outcomes achieved, should be highlighted. But check their delivery as well. Do they sound competent and confident, rude and showy, or maybe lazy and insolent?
Keep an eye out for fakes. If an organization really knows their job and accomplishments, they will be able to explain it concisely and make it easy to understand. Rambling words, ambiguous definitions, and unrealistic claims should all be red flags!
Take the time to research their past clients. What kind of feedback do they provide? It’s smart to check online reviews and double client testimonials that you see on their website. This legwork can save you a lot of trouble later.
2. Strike the Quality vs. Cost Balance
While cost saving is often the biggest incentive to offshore your work, it should not be at cost of quality. You don’t want to work with vendors who are cheap but can’t deliver quality work.
So, how can you ensure that you’re getting value for money when you hire an offshore partner?
The cost of living in developing countries like India and China is lower than in developed nations like USA and Germany. So, you can be rest assured that offshore labour will be lower priced than domestic workers.
Even if you add taxes, utilities, administration, and duties, the grand total can be 50% to 30% lower than indigenous teams. Suppose you land a partner who offers to work for 10% of the domestic cost, you will be tempted to take up the offer.
But you need to look more closely before jumping the gun. Ask the vendor some questions:
What is the work-cost breakdown?
Are there any additional or hidden costs involved?
What are the timelines and quality standards you expect?
Does the vendor have the essential skill set and infrastructure to deliver the quality your expect?
Will you be asked to pay for hiring and training new people required for the project?
Get all terms and conditions written in a formal contract and iron out all the kinks beforehand. In this way, you can avoid disputes later and get the most bang for your buck.
3. Proactive about Communication
When your vendor is working thousands of miles away, communication becomes the key to smooth working. You will be surprised to know that one in five offshore projects fail due to poor communication. Clear communication cultivates trust between both parties.
How do you gauge if your offshore partner will communicate proactively once the project commences. You will get inkling about this during your initial communication itself. Do they answer your emails and calls promptly? Do they adhere to the set meeting schedules? Any red flags at this stage should be considered seriously. If the vendor is careless about communication in early stages, they are bound to follow the same pattern later too.
4. Factor in the Culture Gap
Cultural gap can be an impediment to a great working relationship between offshore partners. But there are ways to work around it. The first step is that you need to acknowledge each other’s differences and be committed to bridge the gap.
When we talk about culture gap, it could be as wide as language barriers and as narrow as national holidays. Educate your vendor about the tenets of your culture and ask them to do the same. if the vendor has prior experience of projects in your country, it is a definite plus.
They will have a pulse around the market condition and audience taste of the area. They will also possess knowledge about the communication protocol prevalent there. All these things become critical when you plan to spend months or even years working together.
This list is by no means exhaustive. We have not touched upon technical competency and hiring, but those factors are already widely explored. It is the finer details covered in this article that we often miss when vetting offshore partners.
To sum up, you want an offshore vendor who is stringent about quality, communication, and commitment. At the same time, they need to have requisite experience and demonstrated performance.
If you’re lucky enough to spot such a vendor, it makes sense to hire them even for a higher cost.