Recently, there have been quite a few blogs written about the benefits of offshore software development for medium and large enterprises. Benefits such as lower cost and fast development to name a few. The challenge in today’s complex world is, just because you can hire third-party offshore vendors to develop new applications or enhance legacy systems at a lower cost, it doesn’t necessarily translate to a successful outcome.
Let me give you an example and see if this has happened to you. A client came to us for help with an existing legacy e-commerce website that had poor performance, many delays implementing new features and an overall lack of good communication with their 3rd party offshore vendor. Now, this is not a bash on 3rd party offshore firms, they have their place for help desk support and maintenance of applications. The problem occurs when a client needs new features, solid architecture, superior design, and self-sufficiency. This well-known US-based manufacturer provides a complete set of electronic solutions from parts catalogs, diagnostic tools, financial and operational reporting for their franchisees.
So, what was their application problem?
One of their largest customers requested help improving their e-commerce website to reduce order failures that affected sales. The project was assigned to one of their 3rd party offshore vendors. This low-cost vendor relied solely on emails and phone calls to organize its work and maintain the existing website. The updates and new features were consistently late and of poor code quality, requiring additional internal client resources to manage the project. These quality and performance challenges strained the overall customer relationship leading the manufacturer to determine an alternative solution.
Why onshore and Agile development?
Finding great senior developers is like finding that great orthopedic surgeon. There are many that claim to be qualified and they may have the certificate on the wall with accreditation, but ultimately how many successful surgeries have they completed? Are they available for consultation, can you meet them and see eye to eye? Do you have confidence in them and their assembled team of doctors, anesthetist and nurses?
Today, clear, concise and regular communication is critical to your overall success. Agile development with regular sprints provide the platform to deliver continuous code development using experienced developers and tools such as JIRA. For this client within two weeks of engagement, two senior software engineers at Surge proceeded to analyze, evaluate and work with the current team to determine recommendations for updating the web platform. Weekly sprint meetings allowed for better communication between the teams and ensured a timely execution of the tasks. Processes were improved, bugs were resolved and development of the e-commerce platform was put back on track. The development of the new e-commerce platform went from a non-existent schedule to a bi-weekly release schedule and the IT team regained its client’s trust and confidence that they could deliver a reliable e-commerce solution on time.
The offshore team of six developers was replaced by two senior experienced onshore Surge developers (“Surgeons”) who reduced bug resolution time from weeks to a few hours. Essentially the team eliminated order failures altogether and replaced the obsolete customer service code base (VB/Web forms) by a modern framework (C#/MVC/Entity Framework/ AngularJS stack).
Ultimately the client said it best “”We have practically re-written our website over again with two onshore developers in 5 months. The previous version took 7 offshore developers the same amount of time; except this time it works properly!”
So, before you send out that next bid or hire a new programmer, first consider the amazing talent here in the USA. You may be surprised by the ROI comparison between onshore and offshore if all factors (especially quality and maintainability) are considered. You really do get what you pay for.