So you feel your business idea is ready to hit the market, but product development somehow takes longer than you’d wish for. Your tech team’s capacity isn’t sufficient, but somehow finding reliable external IT professionals doesn’t seem like a simple task either.
In fact, the whole process of finding the right technology partner can be a tedious and exhausting endeavor. It’s almost the same as trying to pick the best product in the supermarket.
So how do you go about finding the IT partner your business needs? How do you even start this process? Should you search on Google or rather rely on Clutch.co? And once you shortlist your potential partners how do actually decide on the winning one?
Of course, the more you get into this process, the more complicated it becomes. But fret not and let us guide you. Read on to learn the key questions you need to ask yourself to find a reasonable technology partner, but also name the most important aspects to help you assess such cooperation.
How to start your technology partner search
So you think you’re ready to begin? Great! But before taking any action, make sure you take time to stop and think. What are my needs? What do I require of my technology partner? What do I want to achieve with them and how do I plan to communicate with them?
IT outsourcing requires a lot of work. You have to answer two crucial questions – which of the IT companies will be the best match for your needs as well as requirements and what are the benefits of this cooperation?
Delegating strategic tasks and processes to someone else is always a tough decision to make. It’s especially so when it comes to developing your product with an external service provider.
Before you actually do that, you have to ask yourself what kind of company you should hire – an insource or an outsource one? I’ll try to answer this question in the following section.
To insource or to outsource, that is the question
The difference between insourcing and outsourcing is primarily how work is divided between departments or people. Assigning a project to a person or department that works inside your company is considered insourcing. Hiring someone from the outside is considered outsourcing. It’s usually more cost-efficient since you don’t need to account for the overhead costs of having a person do a certain job as a member of your team.
On top of that, external partners can provide you with extra capacity, flexibility and skills that your existing team might be lacking.
If you’re running a small business or a startup, external IT outsourcing will probably be the best option. Building and retaining an internal IT team can be a challenge these days, as specialists need to constantly develop their skills, which can increase the overall cost for you. Add to this the fact that software development has repeatedly been identified as the industry with the highest turnover rate due to the increasing demand and compensation.
Going for a long-term cooperation with an established software house will give you the assurance that you’ll receive a team of stable IT specialists – tech-savvy and motivated.
Mature tech companies have their proven ways to keep their engineers happy, in many cases almost eradicating the risk of churn. And even if it occurs, you’ll be offered a replacement.
One more thing to ask
You should obviously look for key skills that will be needed to develop your project. So if you know you need Magento 2, you could check the list of partners and get in touch with them. But there’s another important thing you should take into consideration.
Do these software houses know anything about the industry you’re operating in? Have they actually collaborated with clients from your segment?
When you hire a development team that’s great at technology X but doesn’t understand the market you’re operating on at all, you’re running the risk of having to spend extra time to explain everything again and again. And then imagine how quickly you could set things off with a technology partner that’s served clients in your sector.
Key aspects to help you assess cooperation with your technology partner
So you’ve found the right software company and they’re about to start working for you. Congrats!
But now you need the tools to assess their work. And to do that you could use a few metrics that will give you a proper way to evaluate if it’s going in the right direction.
Onboarding time / ramp-up time
Every new member of the team needs time to get used to the project. But how much time does it actually take before your new software engineers start to deliver business value? When hiring an external IT partner, you obviously want this period to be as short as possible.
So how much time does it take? Is the rate satisfying? And if not, what can be done to accelerate it?
Bug fixing vs. development time
Before assessing team velocity, i.e. the number of “units” of software the team delivers in each iteration, make sure you consider the time that your developers must spend on fixing the actual bugs.
Many companies don’t estimate how long bug fixing may take. Instead, they delegate some time to do it without really digging into the issue they’ll be working on. Of course, it’s hard to always precisely estimate how much time your external team could spend fixing bugs. Anyways, make sure that you make it a part of the schedule while booking your chosen team instead of creating poor assumptions that cannot be met.
Managing a remote development team is often considered a challenge. The main issue named by businesses here is communication. Overall, it’s said that communicating with a remote team requires 15-20% more effort than in the traditional onsite model (a.k.a face-to-face). Check if it works and if you’re satisfied with the quality of communication with your technology partner.
As Unity Group, we’ve worked remotely for the majority of our clients. One tip that’s proved particularly helpful has been to organize workshops and integration trips for the extended teams to build strong connections and trust between the members. This usually results in improved work efficiency.
To sum up
As you can see, finding the right technology partner for your business can be quite complicated. Since it’s rather a serious, long-term investment, you definitely want to take the time to research and ensure that your decision is the best for your business. Good luck!
If you’re looking for a remote development team feel free to contact us directly and we’ll be happy to help you!
Piotr is a Managing Partner at Unity Group. Omnichannel Commerce expert, Piotr co-authored the advisory methodology for development and implementation of omnichannel strategies. For over a dozen years in the online business, he’s worked as an analyst, adviser and project manager, participating in creation of some of the very first B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions in Poland. Evangelist of e-commerce and omnichannel, Piotr regularly delivers talks and keynotes at industry conferences, he’s also an expert lecturer at WSB Universities in Wroclaw.