What are the pros/cons of building a website in-house as compared to outsourcing it?
There are many people making assumptions about website development, that may not be valid.
We don’t know the location of the questioner. If I assume that they are in Silicon Valley, and we are comparing that against outsourcing to India, or China, some of the criticisms may be valid. But many businesses are not in Silicon Valley.
The first problem with any software project, is finding talented people. If you’re going to do this in house, it means that you have to recruit the proper project managers, people to do needs analysis, and the actual computer programmers. Because of the talent pool, and the budget allocated to these type of projects, normally there are many compromises made. Sometimes these compromises are so great they jeopardize the project completion.
If I am a manufacturer in northern Minnesota, or Northern Michigan, or Tennessee, I may not have the access to a talent pool of top programmers, managers and other people necessary.
But through outsourcing, I can find top talented people to work for me on a limited basis. Something that’s very hard to do internally. It’s difficult to hire someone and say, we have this nine-month project we want you to do. Or even a two-year project. People don’t want to get hired for a short term assignments. They want to be hired for a career. But in 2012, few employers want to make career hires.
With outsourcing you can limit your employer liability. If you want to create a project for nine months to two years, that’s no problem. It’s not necessary to outsource directly to India. There are many steps in between.
For instance you can outsource the needs analysis to a part-time American, located somewhere in America. You can outsource the management, to an American on a part-time basis, or full-time basis for much less than an internal worker. There are also opportunities to outsource to an American living overseas at considerably less money. Now less money, means that the company can afford to do some things, that would have been too cost prohibitive by hiring inside the firm.
An American manager can oversee many programmers, some of them possibly specialists in their field, and manage the entire project. Because we can afford, a higher quality manager, it is possible to get a better quality product, done under budget and ahead of schedule. I didn’t say this was the majority of times, but it is possible.
In 2012 there are more opportunities available to the company who wants to outsource. Few people are aware of all of these opportunities. There are some outstanding programmers, outside the boundaries of the United States, who are willing to work for less money. Far less money than a top programmer in America charges.
Many people are not aware of the quality that is available to them today. Companies like Odesk, are opening up the possibilities of outsourcing in entire team to many parts of the world. It’s possible to pick very good people, people that you would not be able to afford ordinarily.
If a company does its research, or even hires someone to do the research for them, and then they plan out there moves very carefully, they can actually get a better quality product for far less money by outsourcing. It may not work in every situation. But people need to understand the world is changed.
The best automobiles are not built in Detroit. They’re not engineered in Detroit. The people in Detroit have figured out that you can use the entire world as a basket of components and services.
Small business is just beginning to understand this.
We are entering a new phase of outsourcing. When the Japanese cars came to America in the 1970s, they were not widely accepted. But they changed. The companies learned from their mistakes and developed better policies and systems. In the years after 2000, the Japanese automobiles had a firm stake in the American market.
We’re going to see the same with outsourcing. People are learning from their mistakes and developing better systems. The world is changed. Outsourcing is changing. It’s getting better and better. It’s the wave of the future. Some people may not like that, but for small business it’s a great thing.
As somebody who has over 20 years experience managing software projects, I’m excited about the future.