Outsourcing: how to keep up with the competition
Jan 08, 2014
If at first, the economic climate forced more companies to outsource their IT departments towards outsourcing software companies, now outsourcing has become a viable solution for having access to a multitude of skills and expertise. So apart from being cost efficient, software outsourcing companies provide greater flexibility of the allocated effort, continuous support, as well as an entire set of services, such as: architecture, implementation, testing and maintenance.
However, in order to stay ahead of the competition, a software outsourcing company needs to prove that it is able to deliver quality software products, can communicate efficiently with its customers and ensure the security and privacy of the customer's information. So in this article will further detail these three points that we consider to be paramount when providing software outsourcing services.
A study revealed that 25% of the reasons for failed outsourcing projects are due to poor communication. This is to be expected, especially when the two parties have different languages, cultures, backgrounds and live on different time zones. Communication is a key element for reaching success when doing software outsourcing, so what can a company do to distinguish itself on the software outsourcing market?
First, it's highly important to establish with the other party the communication channels that are going to be used, such as email, instant messaging (Skype etc.), video conferences etc., taking into account the time differences. Then, you must delegate and present the key persons who are going to represent the two companies and will be the contact persons (if it's possible try to keep the same contact persons for the duration of the entire project, as this will give the project more stability).
Another good approach when communicating is to use standardized formats (for example in your emails), so that the most important information is easy to find and understand by the other part. Such an example are periodical reports, which will keep the customer informed on the latest advancements regarding the software development process on a weekly / monthly / etc. basis.
Also, having constant meetings – using various meeting applications, such as: Skype, GotToMeeting, or AnyMeeting – between representatives of the two companies is a great way to discuss and level certain aspects (software quality, delivery dates, and so on), preventing this way possible misunderstandings
Quality software product
A quality software product can be considered a software that is stable, easy to use and that meets the end user's needs. Of course that from the moment a software is born and its first RTM (release to manufacturing) version, many changes take place, some are due to a shift in the customer's perspective and some are triggered by the limitations of the technologies involved in the development process. So to be a good software outsourcing company, means to also be a good consulting company, providing expert advice, reviews and viable solutions / approaches for every issue that may appear along the way, and communicating these clearly to the customer, so that he can take a final decision.
Security and privacy
It is true that outsourcing can make the outsourcer (the customer) vulnerable to security and privacy issues, due to the fact that confidential company information, data and access to private areas are provided when the software is outsourced. However, with the proper security regulations, such as secure infrastructure, information sharing policies and data storage procedures, this "threat" can be easily prevented.
The ISO 27001 security management system certification is the kind of tool that proves that the company that obtained the certification is capable to prevent software security risks inside and outside the company. Also, an ISO 27001 certified company will permanently monitor the software development process and perform constant risk assessment in order to prevent and treat any issues that might affect the stability of the software product.
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