With the rise of the global economy, organizations across the world are always considering options that help them become more productive and profitable. Offshoring software development has been viewed as one model that helps organizations achieve both. In the year 2000, offshoring emerged as the buzzword of the millennium. The IT industry looked at outsourcing simple project functionalities, back-end processes, and simple software development functionalities to offshore locations with the main purpose of cutting costs and reducing the load of managing standardized processes. While outsourcing initially was limited to IT functions, basic application development or back-end operations and to some extended functionalities such as desk, data center, network management operations, server management, database administration, offshoring today has become vastly different.
The rise of technologies, telecommunication improvements, and growth of internet-based technologies such as video conferencing, instant messaging, etc. took care of one of the biggest challenges of outsourcing – communication. Most companies got attracted to offshoring primarily because of the cost advantage – with offshoring, companies got access to a reasonably well- trained workforce which came at a great price and helped in reducing their overhead costs – both from the financial and management perspective.
This approach began to change as technological expertise increased. With the rise of new technologies such as cloud and big data, there was a greater need for a technologically skilled workforce that could not only manage the simpler aspects of the projects but could also work on core functionalities of software development. While in the past, these core functionalities lay with the in-house development teams, the past few years witnessed offshore teams take on more key roles in the software development ecosystem as they got more skilled, more qualified and more specialized.
Owing to the growth of digital innovation, fueled by technological changes business have had to re-align themselves in order to stay relevant. Outsourcing in general and offshoring in particular thus has emerged as a competitive necessity for organizations who want to demonstrate competitive edge. This technological shift and the adoption of tech-based models in industries such as healthcare, banking and retail prompted more core activities such as software architecture development to entire product development life cycles to shift to offshore locations.
As an increasing number of industries began to realize the benefits of the technology triad – Cloud, Big Data and Mobility, software development companies realized that they needed a fully equipped workforce to develop products that the customers wanted. As organizations began looking at technology as a business driver it no longer played a supporting role in business success. This explosion of technology adoption affected the way organizations managed their legacy systems, increased application integration and gave rise to a need to build products and applications for new technologies.
Given that there are limited skilled technical resources in a specific location, it only made sense to look globally for resources who have the required experience, skill and expertise to give organizations the flexibility to meet application demands. The cost advantage thus stopped being the ultimate motivator for offshoring.
Adoption of agile methodology also made software development offshoring more manageable and convenient. Today, most software development companies follow the agile methodology that enables vastly distributed teams to achieve extreme velocities. The timely Scrum sessions act as powerful catalysts of communication that put a spotlight on everything that is working and everything that needs work and forces accountability on all levels.
Offshoring practices have also changed as the offshoring ecosystem has evolved. Today, offshoring practices are becoming more modular and flexible and are positioned as an extension of the organization’s in-house development team. The offshore teams now take responsibility of entire application development lifecycle starting from roadmap assessment, application design and development, maintenance, porting and migration, knowledge continuity and even consolidation of redundant technologies and platforms to ensure that the businesses maintain their competitive edge.
Further, QA has now become an integral and important part of offshore software development teams. This process now starts along with the project commencement where QA engineers are expected to be active participants in the development process to ensure positive testability of the final product.
Offshore product development teams have now become more focused and increasingly integrated with the client organizations. They are more like business partners who provide on-demand technical skills and a defined strategy for success. With offshoring teams, organizations today have skilled team members and specialized teams built for specific software development projects in order to build the most competent solutions, rescue the project in time when it witnesses troubled waters with their skills and ensure business continuity.