Which Is Right For You? Outsourcing vs. Building In-House
Sean McGowanAugust 04th, 20175 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
“Why don’t I just hire my own designers & developers to create my platform?” or, "So once the app is launched, why would I want to keep using your engineers, instead of hiring my own development team?"
We hear our clients ask us these questions often here at Codal, and for good reason: they’re excellent questions! What makes them so incisive is because there’s no definite answer—it depends on a litany of factors, from the size of your company to the nature of its business.
But we’ve been in this business for a long time, long enough to reply to these asks with an educated response about the right move for your platform’s UX design or development. To help you decide, here’s a cheat sheet comparing the pluses and minuses of both outsourcing & in-house teams.
Building an in-house team means you’re (ideally) hiring trained, talented professionals that are aligned with your business goals. An on-location team means easy access if there’s an emergency, such as a site-wide crash or cyber attack, and physically working alongside each other fosters an environment of camaraderie and teamwork.
Provided you’re employing a stringent hiring process that thoroughly vets candidates, you know the exact skills, expertise, and limitations of your team. It’s a much more transparent relationship than with a typical outsourcing agency.
Lastly, in-house teams typically have a stronger connection to your company than a freelancer, and are more likely to “go the extra mile”. Their loyalty means they’re more vested in the company’s long-term success, not just their own personal one.
I don’t want to completely subvert all the benefits of an in-house team, but their drawbacks can be aptly summarized in one household mantra: ‘easier said than done’.
Finding the right talent for your in-house design or development endeavors is already a headache, but when you factor in training and onboarding, that headache quickly becomes a migraine—and an expensive one as well.
It’s not just that an intensive hiring process wastes time, or the often high costs of training, but the additional expenses of benefits. Medical, dental, a 401(k) plan—these will be expected by the skilled professionals you’re attempting to recruit. And of course, a competitive salary as well.
The more popular of the two options, outsourcing the design or development (or both) of your platform alleviates the hassle of an in-house team and is usually much more likely to lead to a successful product.
First, finding an experienced digital agency is much easier than hunting down team members individually, hoping they seamlessly merge into a functioning team. When you outsource, you’re ensuring there’s no gaps in the skills or experience of your team—it’s already done for you.
Furthermore, outsourcing usually precipitates greater specialization. You’ll find experienced developers or designers with the exact skill set your platform needs. And if you don’t know what your platform needs, they will.
As the popularity of outsourcing increases, agencies have begun to offer more full-scale outsourcing solutions. Codal’s Amplify teams, for instance, combine the advantages of in-house teams with the benefits of an outsourced company.
Modern outsourcing services like Amplify provide the same 24/7 access as in-house teams, as well as the same level of familiarity, by assigning developers or designers that are 100% dedicated to a specific company or project.
The most common criticisms of outsourcing usually involve the cost, poor project alignment, or lack of availability. They’re not baseless critiques—our employees have seen these pitfalls happen in the industry, whether it was at a previous job or talking to clients’ former partnerships.
Similar to injecting the advantages of in-house teams into their services, modern outsourcing solutions also look to mitigate their flaws by offering a more full-scale, comprehensive service.
Companies that offer solutions like Amplify alleviate disconnect by assigning developers that work exclusively with a company. The idea is to provide an in-house team without the hassle, headaches, or cost of one. This kind of outsourcing promotes project alignment, and position the outsourcing firm in a relationship that helps achieve short- and long-term business goals.
While each option has their own advantages and flaws, Codal generally recommends outsourcing, especially through our Amplify service. We’re past the point of every company needing a digital presence—every company needs a truly robust, effective one.
Whether it’s an app or a website, whether your platform supplements your business or IS your business, your digital presence is absolutely crucial to your company’s success.
It’s simply too important to not execute perfectly—that’s why we’re seeing the popularity of outsourcing skyrocket, and why agencies are creating more advanced, comprehensive outsourcing solutions.