In today’s hypercompetitive business environment, no organization can afford to lag in adopting cutting-edge technology to meet business needs. Web and mobile applications that drive communication and transactions are a must in all industries. A well-designed web or mobile application differentiates an organization by boosting customer satisfaction, reducing friction in the supply chain, and building trust among stakeholders.

Most enterprises have existing technology infrastructure and a full-time IT staff, but building new mobile and web apps takes them from their comfort zone. Making the best apps almost always requires outside development resources. But what’s the best approach to hiring a development team to build apps for your enterprise?

Reasons to outsource a project

A typical IT staff is not set up to pursue innovations on the edges of an enterprise. They focus on building and maintaining the heavy-duty technology infrastructure of an organization, and their expertise and attention map to this mission. They tend to have limited bandwidth for projects like a one-off application, even one that can yield immediate benefits to the company. Most are very good at what they do, but building a new app may be entirely out of their wheelhouse, or they may be too busy rolling out an enterprise ERP to devote much attention to a new app.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you may want to hire a development team. By enlisting a dedicated development team, you can focus on your new app and get started right away. Unlike an in-house project, an outsourced app doesn’t compete for internal resources and eliminates the need to hire new employees for the short term. You can deploy specific programming expertise immediately without adding long-term costs or overhead.

Here’s a quick list of some of the advantages of outsourced application development:

  • Focused, high-quality talent.
  • No added overhead.
  • Immediate start and rapid completion.
  • Lower costs.

What to look for in an outsourced development team

If your company decides it’s time to hire a development team, what are the most important things to look for? While requirements and circumstances will not be the same for every company and outsourcing models can vary, here is a shortlist of core competencies that your outsourced team should bring to the table.

  1. State-of-the-art programming expertise. A superior app requires programmers who are experts in the latest and best languages and tools. The programmers on your team should know how to use multiple languages or programming tools and which one is the best choice for your project.
  2. Meticulous project management systems. Development projects can succeed depending on attention to detail, effort coordination, and deadline compliance. Project management is a crucial success factor for your application.
  3. Innovative UX/UI design skills. Whereas programming is more of a science, user interface/user experience design is more of an art. A successful application requires both.
  4. DevOps and cloud expertise. A life-cycle approach to DevOps and the cloud ensure that your application is built for accelerated and trouble-free deployment.
  5. Life-cycle quality assurance and software testing methodologies. QA and testing are more effective when built into the development process than added on at the end.
  6. References. Your outsourced team should be able to provide case studies or put you in touch with existing clients to support their performance on similar projects.
  7. Domain expertise. An outsourced team that knows your industry can be instrumental in delivering an application tailored to your specific business needs and conditions.

These best practices can be a helpful guide as you select an outsourced development team.

How to manage an outsourced team

Managing an outsourced team takes a combination of diplomacy, well-designed procedures, and attention to detail. Meticulous project management systems and flexible communication channels are critical. Excellent SaaS tools can empower you to manage both and are an essential component of any successful outsourced development project.

Equally important are the soft skills that a high-quality outsourcing team can bring to the project to ensure harmonious interaction between in-house staff and outsourced personnel. Alternatively, exchange rules for a particular project may dictate a more autonomous role for the outsourced team and minimal interaction with the enterprise or IT personnel. In those cases, a company will hire a development team and take a more hands-off approach to the project. The outsourced team should also be adept at handling this more independent yet accountable approach.

Final thoughts

Business and technology can change quickly, but enterprises typically move slower, especially their IT teams. Building mobile and web applications requires a different mindset and a more specialized skill set than what a typical corporate IT staff possesses. Often, the fastest path to creating innovative apps to meet business needs is to hire a development team. For more information, contact us.