The particular characteristic of a majority of software products and allied activities – modules and integration has given a lot of developmental advantages to the software developers around the globe. The ability to distribute module development among various people allowed the big companies to opt for freelancers, part-time developers and the very fancy one – Offshore Software Development. Earlier, only big companies used to collaborate with offices, agencies and individuals from other countries for software development, but the availability of better means of communication, better technology and minimization of time required to perform client meetings (Online ones being more prevalent); has made it possible for the organizations of all kinds and sizes to opt for offshore development in software, BPO, KPO, consumer services and lots of other sectors.
Offshore VS Onshore Software Development:
Before we begin to compare the onshore and offshore software development in terms of various parameters; it is important that we understand the terms in a literal manner. Offshore software development refers to the process of hiring professional aid for specific projects and specific tasks in the regions and countries situated far away. This means that most of the communication will be carried out in the form of mails, messages, chats and online video calling etc. The need for the physical meetings is obliterated as the requirements as well as project itself doesn’t require such interaction. Major factors contributing towards opting for the Offshore software development are cost of development, overall budget for development, talent and expertise availability, utilization of time zones etc.
Onshore development on the other hand means that the project will be taken and completed in the same organization without any foreign help from outside the organization. All the aspects of project development and other allied activities are dealt with by the in-house teams. The major factors contributing towards the onshore development are local and regional influence in the project, cost and budget of the organization, professional talent and capacity of the organization, and availability of expertise in the existing team etc.
Why is the comparison necessary?
- Though the same set of criteria and pros and cons cannot be applied to all the projects; it is important to differentiate between the requirements and then make the final choice between onshore and offshore software development.
- Sometimes, we can find a better talent or professional with better deal in terms of cost, time and efficiency abroad as compared to the ones one already has or can have after hiring.
- The independent need of each project such as requirement of a Python programmer is required for a single project which is not frequent in an organization. This means that hiring of a Python Programmer is not necessary and one can easily opt for the offshore software developer. On the other hand, if the project is going to be dealt for a long term, then the cost and time balance in terms of online calling, conveyance of the ideas and requirements online can play a deciding role in choosing a local professional over the offshore one.
- Therefore, a healthy comparison between the offshore and onshore development is beneficial for all the businesses to as it allows making a choice wisely.
Parameters For Comparison:
1. Cost and Time
- The most important parameters that determine project development of all kinds and sizes are cost and time. Some projects require a particular professional for short time duration and only for development of only a few modules. In such cases hiring a developer at your own location will only be a cost overhead. Therefore, the offshore software development is better than onshore software development in such cases. Further, some projects require working round the clock so that the delivery can be timely. Offshore software development will allow the organizations to take the benefit of time zones.
- Another perspective to reflect on the cost and time analysis for the software development is the frequency of turning up of projects of some kind. For example, if the majority of projects taken up by any firm require a particular skill set, which can be found locally as well, it can be beneficial to hire some local professional. This will minimize the online communication overhead such as online video conferencing etc and the work can be accomplished in a more coherent and comprehensive manner.
2. Influence of Local or regional language and culture
- Some projects require the local or regional language or cultural influence for their completion.
- Such projects MUST be developed onshore irrespective of the costs because any foreign influence might have a bad or crucial influence on the project development.
3. Skill Set Confirmation
- There have been a number of incidents where the skills mentioned in the resume differ from the actual ones a professional has. This can lead to development errors and the whole process might have to be repeated as well.
- Therefore, it is important to confirm the skill set required for a module development beforehand and make the allotment of module development accordingly.
4. Communications Overhead
- The fact that communications are easier in a face to face manner and that online communications might not be able to convey the requirements completely; sometimes plays a very important role in making the choice between onshore and offshore software development.
- There are certain projects in which time to time communication and meetings are very crucial and sometimes, the senior software developer has to be in direct interaction with the clients for the confirmation of features and characteristics. Such projects also require onshore development.
- On the contrary some projects are easier and don’t require lot of meetings and communications between the client and developer. These can be easily transferred to offshore software development as the requirements and project features are clearly understood from the very beginning.
Therefore, there cannot be fixed criteria for making a choice between the onshore software development and the offshore software development. The demands and constraints of every project are different and the software developers should make the choice accordingly.