Why In-house Versus Outsourced Web Development is Really No Debate

By Vsourz - 25 June 2020
As the post COVID-19 ‘new normal’ begins to take shape it seems clear that more and more businesses will be pivoting toward or accelerating their digital provision. In the first instance this means that a website which may, in the past, have been created as part of the wider communications mix will now provide a central focal point across marketing, retailing and service provision.

For some companies this may even be the first time they’ve contemplated having a website or developing it much beyond the most basic model. Whereas others may be looking to progress at pace the features, function, and performance of their website to meet growing demand. Similarly, those less directly impacted may be looking to pivot or evolve their online operations and customer experience to better match changing behaviours and the changing world we live in.

Wherever you are on your online journey, from time to time, you’ll be faced with the question of outsourcing v in house website development.

Initially, the choice of an in-house web developer may seem obvious. In house website development keeps things simpler, allows full control and utilises your team strengths.

Or so you might think. The reality is that employing a team of specialists is an expense which many smaller businesses simply can’t afford, even if the option is only to employ them part time. Given the necessity of web development for business success, the only other option is to outsource the work involved, in which case the big decision facing a business involves choosing the right partner to deliver what they need.

For a larger company dealing with bigger budgets, the choice is based not simply on expense but on value, and the question of how that money will be best spent. If the right balance between outsourcing and in-house development is struck, then the company will be able to concentrate on their core business activities at the same time as accessing the quality web development they need.

The truth is that outsourcing vs in house development is nowhere near that simple. If you choose the right outsource web design & development company to work with then you not only get a better website at the end of the process but you also save money, free up your own team to concentrate on core business activities and start a partnership that can be scaled up or down as your business needs dictate.

These are just a few of the facts to be considered when deciding whether to work with in house web development or access the expertise of an outsourced web development company:

Lower Costs

The cost of any outsource web development company stays lower for two reasons. Firstly, they are often based in countries like India where the cost of even expert web development labour is considerably cheaper.

The second aspect which drives down cost is that a specialist outsource web developer will have the expertise needed to build exactly the team you need, rather than you having to take on more employees. When the project ends, you stop paying for the service, instead of keeping staff on until another need arises, or going through the motions of hiring and then letting go either full time or freelance staff at the beginning and end of every project.

The Skill Sets You Need and Nothing More

Having an in-house web development team with a fully developed skill set may well enhance your business, but knowing in advance exactly what skills will be needed for every project is pretty much impossible.

As the demands of website, app or social media change, the make-up of your in-house web development team will have to change, which will mean taking on more members of staff or investing in on-going training. An outsource web development company, on the other hand, will have maintaining an up to date and relevant skill set at the heart of everything they do.

A Guarantee of Quality

The quality of the finished product is probably the most important aspect of the outsourcing v in house development debate. While an in-house team will naturally have your best interests at heart, an outsource web development company will have invested in every specialist skill-set needed to deliver the best quality.

To put it simply, this is what they do, and they live and die on the quality of the work they deliver. The combination of expertise, the latest technology and the experience of delivering projects across a wide range of industries means they’ll be able to deliver the kind of quality you’re looking for.

A Genuine Collaboration

On the topic of collaboration, it may seem as if the in-house option is going to come out top every time. After all, they are based in your office and ready to communicate and work on iterations of a product whenever needed. The same is true, however, of the best outsource web designers. The use of tools like video conferencing and messaging platforms will keep communication flowing transparently and easily, and the best outsource developers will have experience of building teams designed to engage in close collaboration with clients, with points of contact and channels of communication established at the earliest possible stage.

Skills to Match the Workload

Unlike many aspects of running your business, web development is a demand which can rise and fall over time. The skills needed to push a website or app through design and development and on to launch will not be needed once support and subsequently maintenance is the key.

Using an outsource company means only having to pay for the expertise and services which your workload demands at any given time, rather than having to employ a team full time and paying them to do not very much when the workload slackens. You only pay once for the work which you need, rather than paying all the time for the work which you might need in the future.

Forget About Staff Turnover

Staff turnover has always been extremely high within the tech sector. That’s because, despite the on-going rise in demand, there’s still a skill shortage at the highest level. If a key member of your team is poached by a rival, the development of a website or app could come grinding to a halt, or go forward lacking the necessary expertise.

When you outsource web development, on the other hand, absorbing the impact of this kind of turnover becomes their responsibility, and with a team of experts hand chosen to put together project-specific teams, they’re perfectly placed to simply slot in another expert and keep things running smoothly.

Open Lines of Communication

Of course, communicating with your in-house web developers is extremely simple – as simple as strolling over to their desk or calling them in to your office. The best outsource web development companies know that this is the case, however, and so they have systems and processes in place to ensure that their lines of communication are just as open and simple.

They’ll offer a range of tools – from email to Zoom and messaging platforms like Slack – and will have a project manager assigned to your project to act as a single point of contact. The best outsource development companies will be happy to establish the ground rules of communication at the outset – discussing issues such as the times at which they will be available, the channels to be used and, vitally in many cases, whether they can communicate fluently in English.

Ease of Scalability

As your web site grows through the development process it may emerge that you need more experts, designers, technicians or coders than you at first thought. If you’re using an in-house team a change like this this will mean calling a halt to proceedings while you advertise a job vacancy, interview candidates, take on a new member of staff and bring them fully up to speed.

An outsource web development company, on the other hand, will already have extra capacity built into their existing structures, and the team working for you will be able to grow and shrink as the needs of any given project dictate.

Speed of Delivery

The final point is that working with specialists means that, as well as saving money, you’ll be cutting the time to market. Because the outsource developers you’ve chosen are working on just your project and nothing else (unlike an in-house team which will have to deal with all of your IT demands), they’ll be able to speed up development without dropping quality or cutting corners.

When all of the aspects of web development are considered, it becomes clear that the question of outsourcing v in house development is really no competition.

On everything from cost to quality, flexibility to expertise and scalability to speed of delivery, an outsource web development team, if chosen correctly, will be able to deliver more than an in-house team.

Perhaps the most important part of that sentence is the phrase ‘if chosen correctly’, because all of this only applies if the right development company is chosen. Ask questions when you’re considering working with closely with a development partner, using a checklist for this to confirm that they offer the skills, communication and track record you’re looking for. If you make the right choice, you can expect to take delivery of a first-class online presence at the same time as being free to concentrate on your core business.

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