The Risks And Benefits Of Offshore Software Development

The Risks And Benefits Of Offshore Software Development

We live in an age of burgeoning technology – in an age where rockets are re-useable, cars drive themselves, and watches keep track of our pulse, it’s easy to imagine that developing a mobile application by partnering with an offshore development team would be easy to manage.

With VoIP technologies like Google Hangouts, instant communication platforms like Slack, and project management tools like Trello, it would seem that we’ve reached a truly global era in business and the development of products.

And in many respects, this is true – plentiful and vast industries exist today either due to the existence of global production and supply industries, or rely on the global market that fuels today’s global economy for resources, customers, or both. Many of the rare earth metals that make phones, watches, laptops, or virtually any electronic device come from regions in Africa or Australia – without a global supply line, none of us would have phones – or be reading this blog, for that matter.

What I’m trying to convey is that we do live in the future – it just isn’t to the point where we can collaborate on the level that mobile app development requires, while communicating on a global scale.

The myth of offshore development

There’s plenty of misinformation about offshore development – the main one being the quality of code. A good developer is a good developer no matter where they are or what language they speak (but they’d better know their programming languages) – offshore developers aren’t bad at what they do.

While it’s very true that applications developed by offshore companies can lead to unsustainable codebases, low-grade products, or un-deployable platforms, developers in India or Ukraine can be just as experienced (or inexperienced) as developers in Japan or the US.

The problem isn’t people – it’s the communication of ideas.

Complicated ideas and concepts are difficult enough to understand when they are presented to us in person – just think of how many companies today struggle with disseminating and promoting company culture amongst their own employees – communicating the “feel” of a company’s mission is a challenging task.

And with the addition of different time zones, and distances measured in the thousands-of-miles, communicating the high-level, detailed concepts that are crucial to the decisions of app development can become a nightmare.

So if you’re in the UK, hire a UK development team – and if you’re in Bangladesh, hire a Bengali development team. The most important preliminary step to a successful app is a throughly-vetted development partner; a company that you can trust to deliver a full-fledged product, and trust to understand the mission of your app.

risk and reward of offshore mobile app development

Research the risk & reward of offshore development

The benefits of offshore development

There are benefits to making use of offshore development companies:

  1. Cost: Development companies almost universally charge based on an hourly rate. Developers in countries with a lower cost of living will report lower hourly rates than high-cost-of-living countries. While a developer’s rate in the US may range from $100 – $150, a developer in Asia would range from $20 – $50. If managed properly, this can lead to significant savings.
  2. Quality: “Quality” could just as easily be listed in the “risks” section of this blog. By hiring an offshore developer that lives in a country with a lower cost of living, you stand the chance of getting a high-quality product for a fraction of the cost of a highly-skilled developer in your country.
  3. Cultural insight: This is the most substantial benefit to hiring an offshore development team. If you are targeting a market in Sri Lanka, you should hire a development team from the region. The insight the team will bring to the design choices of your app will help your app feel familiar to your specific audience, and increase its chances of market penetration.

The risks of offshore development

Despite these benefits, there are many more opportunities for the risks associated with offshore development to take hold.

  1. Hidden costs: While offshore development does come with a lower hourly rate, this is more often than not negated by the fact that development will usually take twice as long. The main reason for this is…
  2. Communication: Couple language barriers with high-latency internet connections and having a verbal conversation with your team in a different country, and communication can become a real challenge. Communicating the technical aspects of an issue a developer is working on can be downright impossible sometimes. For systems that require integrated maintenance provided from your own IT department, clear and efficient communication is a necessity.
  3. Management: For many of the same reasons as communication, managing an offshore team can be an organizational nightmare. It is recommended to hire a project manager that is local to your offshore team, and will work to bridge the time difference your development team and your company will experience.
  4. Data privacy, security, and governmental regulation: As unfortunate as it is, it’s necessary to be wary of IP theft when dealing with offshore developers, which makes it especially vital to throughly research your development partner. If a developer in another country steals your intellectual property, there is very little recourse available to you. Security and privacy are two other pressing concerns when utilizing offshore codebases – some countries’ intelligence agencies will work with developers to include backdoor access in order to extract users’ personal data for means of cyber espionage. 

Hourly rate, time, and scale

These are the variables to the equation for determining the cost of your app; the more time it takes to develop, the cost rises… the higher the hourly rate, the cost rises… the larger the scale of your app, again, the cost rises.

hourly rate time and scale to develop a mobile app offshore

Consider hourly rate, time and scale

When comparing the cost of developing an app using an offshore developer versus an onshore developer, the key factor is time. While an offshore developer’s hourly rate will usually be lower than an onshore developer, developing an app with an offshore developer is a longer process – sometimes adding two or three times the amount of total hours to develop. This discrepancy in development length is usually exacerbated by communication issues and time-zone differences, and in turn, significantly reduces the savings of the lower hourly rate of offshore development. 

By increasing your time to market, your app’s chances of success will lower, and by increasing the chances of miscommunication, your app’s codebase has the possibility of being less robust than an app developed onshore – leading to the necessity of almost immediately updating your app as soon as it hits the App Store or Google Play.

With these factors in mind, the cost of developing an app offshore or onshore usually even out – and while either option comes with their own benefits, the risk of miscommunication is a factor every CTO or team lead should consider when deciding between offshore or onshore app development.

NS804 Featured as a Top App Developer in DC on Clutch!

Top Mobile App Developer in Washington DCAt NS804, our experienced team of developers and designers works hard to build high-quality native applications for both small and medium sized businesses. We pride ourselves on treating our clients as valued partners, always offering insight, revenue streams, and even ways to acquire users all while delivering quality code and beautiful designs.

Recently, our success was highlighted by Clutch, a ratings and review company out of Washington, D.C., in their annual research on the top app development companies in the greater D.C. and Baltimore area.

Clutch’s complex research methodology evaluates firms on various factors, including market presence, past work, proven ability to deliver, and more. Most importantly, Clutch analysts speak directly with current and past clients to conduct full-length phone reviews for each company’s Clutch profile. These verified reviews allow potential buyers a chance to fully research available service providers before choosing a company to work with.

Top Mobile App Developer in Washington DC

So far, we are proud that our Clutch profile has received all positive reviews. We are confident that our team delivers successful and impressive products, and our Clutch reviews are proof of that.

You can read some excerpts from our happy clients below:

“NS804 was very genuine. Nick, in particular, was sincere and straight to the point. Upon telling him my situation, he helped me with my budget and provided feedback on the direction I should go. Essentially, Nick didn’t just take a paycheck, he actually gave me advice.”

“I’ve only had experience with two different companies in this business. NS804 is a 10/10 compared to the other one.”

“All of our beta testers and the other people who have seen the app loved the concept behind it, as well as its functionalities. At the end of the day, we accomplished the goals we set for the app. … [W]e are happy with NS804’s work.”

We look forward to growing our Clutch presence, and to bringing on more clients!

Richmond Times Dispatch “Getting to Know: Nick Jones with NS804 Apps”

CEO and founder of NS804 Apps, an iOS and Android mobile app development company based in Henrico County

Best business decision: “When starting NS804 Apps, I decided to make it a goal to provide employment to the next generation. I strive to give recent college graduates the opportunity to work within a learning environment where they have the support needed to grow professionally and personally. The marketplace is tough and I believe, if given a chance, the younger generation will impress us.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “Missing our first deadline. Everyone in technology told me we would miss deadlines, but I was headstrong and committed that we never would. Unfortunately in coding iOS and Android mobile apps, there is no definitive timeline and everything is subject to change. We give our best estimate, and sometimes we miss. The first deadline we missed. I overworked my staff and myself working 16-hour days trying to hit the mark. This created poor morale among my team. I will not make that mistake again. We have built in some fail-safes to better accommodate and be more flexible when building mobile apps.”

Read More Here

Richmond Biz Sense “Accounting/tech duo launching ‘mobile CFO’”

CFO Sidekick is a mobile app that can track and analyze a business’ revenue, profitability and liquidity. It will also be able to store documents and let users communicate with each other, as well as offer daily tips on business practices and a glossary of accounting terms. Users must have an account with QuickBooks online to use the app.

Steiner created the product with the help of Nick Jones from local app development firm NS804Apps. During the six-month development process the two struck a deal that made Jones a minority partner in the venture.

Read More Here

ProtectPro app works in case of emergency

Maybe Nick Jones can save your life.

He would rather not, mind you. Jones is hoping you will never need the enhanced-security app that his local mobile app development company, NS804, is working on.

Jones is collaborating with the app’s originator, Sahil Kedar, based in Charlotte, N.C.

Read the entire article.

NS804 Mobile App Featured On WTVR CBS 6 News

NS804 project ProtectPro was recently featured on WTVR CBS 6 News.

ProtectPro enables you to record an event while at the same time allowing you to provide an emergency contact with your GPS location and a link to your video. If the situation requires emergency responders you can also call 911 from within the app.

Pictures/Videos/Events/Location remain on your phone. Your video is backed up to your Youtube account for future reference; but it is not made public so you have control over who gets to see it.

Domestic Violence Awareness App

It’s hard to get most high school or college students to put their phones down.

“The way to get to them is to get inside their mobile devices,” said app developer Nick Jones.

He is helping to create an app that has a message. It’s all part of the One Love Foundation that was established after the death of Yeardley Love, the UVA student who was killed by her boyfriend.

“The concept is to take a movement that was started by former teammates at UVA, to be able to bridge that with non-athletic people and college students,” Jones said.

Read the entire article.