Despite being a newer concept than contracting, outsourcing has proved popular with large organisations in terms of relinquishing non-critical business processes. There is even some speculation as to whether IR35 will bring an end to the traditional contracting model. However, an air of trepidation and misconception still seems to be a barrier when it comes to outsourcing software projects.
To demonstrate the potential benefits that companies, such as Zircon, can provide, we have pulled out a few key examples that can be overlooked.
Access to a mixed skillset across multiple IT technology disciplines
At a time where the demand for digital skills outweighs the supply, ensuring constant access to resources is a growing concern.
When you outsource, you bring in the expertise of a team. You don’t limit yourself to the experience and knowledge of just one person, but every engineer by proxy. Just because a particular individual hasn’t been offered as a resource for your project doesn’t mean that they will not offer their advice or insights to those who are.
Although the autonomy of contracting is widely considered to be a benefit, it is also something to be cautious of. When a contractor leaves your employment they will take their knowledge with them. Unless care is given to ensure documentation is maintained, there is the potential for important information to go missing. Additionally, you face the fact that contractors are unlikely to wait around between contracts and there is no firm guarantee that they will be available as and when you need them.
Outsourcing offers ready access to a team of people, with the capacity to share knowledge and train other team members, so should one engineer become unavailable there will already be another capable of filling this space.
A cost-effective way to manage spikes in demand
When increases in workflow are only temporary or tend to fluctuate regularly, resource management can quickly become an ongoing chore. Increasing the quantity of permanent staff is far from ideal, with significant up front costs for very little short-term returns.
With fewer obvious financial repercussions, contracting has always been a popular method for addressing spikes in demand. However, outsourcing comes into its own in situations where time would be wasted on familiarisation by bringing in new contractors. In these cases, companies like Zircon are well placed to do one of two things
Collate key project experience and information into a knowledge base outside of current team members to aid the onboarding of new employees.
Take the impact of staff movement within project teams away from your organisation.
It is also worth mentioning that the cost effectiveness of outsourcing becomes more apparent as resource numbers increase. While individual contractors attract a cost for the time spent getting up to speed, this cost is often reduced for an outsourced team as it tends to be carried by the supplier.
Combat the headache of management
Where clients are able to define and group requirements into work packages, companies like Zircon can take these on for a fixed price and help you manage the risk.
By opening up a relationship with an outsourcing partner, you gain the opportunity to relieve yourself of the responsibility of the day to day management. It will be up to your chosen company to ensure progress is maintained, in turn allowing more time for key business activities.
While this may sound like an ideal outcome, the inflexibility that stems from defining work upfront and the feeling of decreased control is frequently an off-putting factor. In reality, this needn’t be the case. A good outsource partner will work closely with a client to ensure constant communication in regards to; the current state of your project, the next steps, changes in risks and issues, and the confirmation of the project schedule. In regards to the issue of inflexibility, we recognise that requirements can change rapidly. Which is why we feel that a good outsource partner should be flexible and adaptable, willing to manage changes with their client in a controlled way.