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How to benchmark software outsourcing companies

The challenge isn't just finding an outsourcing company — it's about picking the best one for your unique needs.
Daniel Zacharias

Alex Petrovic

November 6, 2023
Team benchmarking software outsourcing companies

Did you know that the global business process outsourcing market isn’t just growing, but booming? According to a new study by Grand View Research, the market is expected to skyrocket to an astounding USD 525.2 billion by 2030, expanding at 9.4% per year from 2023 to 2030. 

With such a colossal market, the challenge isn’t just finding a software outsourcing company — it’s about picking the best one for your unique needs. The secret to navigating this overwhelming maze? Benchmarking. In simple terms, it’s setting a standard and measuring everyone up against it.

Why you can’t afford to mess this up

Look, a bad choice can do more than just burn a hole in your pocket. You’re risking your project’s quality, your team’s morale, and, in some cases, your entire business. There are many startups that didn’t do their homework before outsourcing. The result? Missed deadlines, shoddy code, and a six-month delay in launching. That’s a lifetime in the tech industry. So, let’s make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.

What’s your benchmark? Establishing your north star

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s figure out what you’re looking for. Benchmarking isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. You need to properly define your requirements, which will serve you for comparison later on. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What’s the scope of your project?
  • What skills and technologies are essential for this project?
  • What level of experience do you expect from the team?
  • What’s your budget?
  • How important is time-to-market for you?

Write down your answers. They’re going to act as your north star in the benchmarking process, helping you separate the contenders from the pretenders. In the coming sections, we’ll delve deeper into various criteria that can make or break your outsourcing experience.

Stay tuned for a multi-faceted dive into everything you need to know to make an informed decision, from evaluating technical skills to understanding the value of good communication and flexibility. And remember, this isn’t just about ticking boxes: it’s about finding a company that fits with your business like a glove.

It’s not just about the money: The multi-faceted criteria you can’t ignore

Alright, you’ve got your baseline criteria in mind, thanks to your shiny new north star. Now, let’s get into the specifics. Sure, cost is a factor, but it’s far from the only one. We’re talking about a project that might very well define your business’s success in the tech industry. So, you want to get this right.

Here are some criteria you can’t afford to ignore:

  • Technical skills and expertise: Can your potential partners walk the walk or just talk the talk?
  • Track record: What does their history reveal about their performance?
  • Communication: Are you on the same wavelength, or will this be a game of broken telephone?
  • Flexibility: How well can they adapt to curveballs?

We’ll break down each one in the following sections, but keep these in mind as your multi-faceted measuring stick.

Talent and expertise: Why skillsets matter

When it comes to technical skills, don’t settle for jargon and buzzwords. You want developers who know their stuff inside and out. Look for:

  • Diverse tech stacks: The more, the merrier—though related to your project’s needs, of course.
  • Certifications and training: Paper isn’t everything, but it can be a good indicator.
  • Problem-solving abilities: Can they think on their feet, or do they crumble?

Arrange some technical interviews with potential team members to gauge their expertise and how well they’d mesh with your in-house team. Remember, you’re not just looking for hired guns: you want collaborators in the true sense.

From sprint to marathon: The long game of track record

Having a track record in the tech industry is like having street cred—you earn it, and it speaks volumes. Go beyond just glancing at a portfolio. Dig deeper by:

  • Checking case studies: Do they demonstrate long-term success and client satisfaction?
  • Asking for client references: If they’re hesitant, that’s a big red flag.
  • Searching for reviews: Platforms like Clutch and Glassdoor offer invaluable insights.

You want a company that has been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale—successfully. Experience matters, especially when the going gets tough.

Clear as a bell: The underrated power of communication

Ever had a relationship go south because of poor communication? Well, that can happen with your outsourcing company, too. It’s not just about speaking the same language — it’s about effectively conveying ideas and feedback. Good communication means:

  • Quick response times: No one wants to wait days for critical updates.
  • Transparent processes: The more open they are, the fewer surprises you’ll have.
  • Active listening: They should absorb your feedback and act on it, not just nod along.

There you have it, folks. We’ve laid out the parameters to gauge your prospective outsourcing companies. Coming up, we’ll dive into flexibility, testing the waters, and making that all-important final decision. 

Stay loose: The imperative of flexibility

You’ve got your eye on the ball, you’re clear on what you want, but what happens when life throws you a curveball? You want an outsourcing company that can adapt, not crumble under pressure. Check their flexibility by considering:

  • Contract terms: Are they rigid, or do they allow for adjustments and recalibrations?
  • Tech adaptability: Can their team adjust to new tools or changes in project direction?
  • Project management: Do they have agile methodologies in place for swift pivots?

Don’t underestimate the value of a flexible partner. In an industry that’s forever evolving, adaptability isn’t just a good-to-have: it’s a must-have.

Testing the waters: Why a pilot project is a game-changer

Let’s talk about commitment for a second. You wouldn’t marry someone before going on at least a few dates, right? So, why dive headfirst into a long-term contract without testing the waters? Here’s how to go about it:

  • Start small: Opt for a mini project that mirrors the larger task at hand.
  • Evaluate performance: Track deadlines, quality, and communication throughout this phase.
  • Review outcomes: Meet with your internal team to gauge if the pilot was a success or not.

If the pilot project goes wrong, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble later. And if it’s a resounding success? Well, you’ve just hit the jackpot.

Of course, you won’t always have the possibility to engage in a pilot project. If that’s the case, don’t panic. You can always test a lot of the items outlined here in the meetings you’ll have with your prospective partners. 

Seal the deal: Making your final pick

Alright, folks, you’ve run the gamut. You’ve weighed the technical skills, scrutinized the track record, judged the communication, and even put their flexibility to the test. Now comes the moment of truth: making that final decision.

  • Review your north star: Go back to your initial criteria. Does this company tick all the boxes?
  • Consult your team: They’ll be working hand in glove with the outsourced team, so their input is crucial.
  • Trust your gut: Sometimes, your intuition knows what checkboxes can’t capture.

A road map, not a treasure map

And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to benchmarking software outsourcing companies. Remember, this isn’t about hunting for hidden treasure — it’s about following a road map to your ideal destination. You’ve got the tools, the tips, and the talking points. Now go out there and make an informed choice that’ll pay off in spades for your business in the tech industry.

So what are you waiting for? The clock’s ticking, and there’s no time like the present to start your journey. Cheers to a future of outsourced projects that don’t just meet, but exceed your expectations!

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