Although software consulting constitutes a significant proportion of the IT market today, whether to use third-party consulting services - or not - remains one of the more difficult decisions for businesses on the lookout for innovation.
The consideration for external software development often arises when a company seeks digital modernization but handling it internally turns out too challenging, expensive, or not strategically wise. The reasons for considering software consulting can be many, as are the fears surrounding it.
The mythology around third-party consulting spans a wide range of monsters. Among them are the low-quality vampire, the security and privacy goblin, and the sweatshop outsourcing griffin. But are they real?
While these creatures are products of our imagination, they are rooted in some real-life worries. Let’s take a look at the 7 most common myths about software consulting and development - and check whether these monsters are really living under our beds.
1. It’s only for large enterprises
Software development consulting makes sense for enterprises, but not for small and medium businesses - that’s probably one of the most widely spread misconceptions out there. The stats speak otherwise. About one-third of small businesses use external IT services, and half are planning to expand their work with third-party service providers.
In fact, using software consulting makes a lot of business sense for all types of companies. In the case of smaller teams, the benefits are indisputable. Employing third-party development services significantly reduces the time-to-market needed to bring a new product or service from idea to realization. This makes companies more agile and adaptive. Additionally, hiring development specialists is a notoriously difficult and lengthy process, and working with external consultants saves time that teams can dedicate to their strategically important tasks.
Moreover, a small company may struggle with the cost of on-boarding all the necessary experts with technology-specific skills, which usually leads to compromises. Working with third-party consulting instead allows you to access a wide range of specialists who have the right skills and tools to achieve your goals. You get an on-demand, full-fledged development team that allows you to operate with great flexibility and increased business agility.
2. Innovation can’t be achieved with third-party services
Some business owners still don’t believe that they can innovate their companies successfully unless they have internal software development talent. The stiff idea that third-party service providers cannot deliver meaningful results is still out there. Yet this myth cannot be further from the truth.
A number of multi-million companies have been built with the help of external software development. Google, Skype, Whatsapp, and Slack are some of the biggest names in both the tech field and consumers’ everyday life. They’ve delivered unforeseen innovation in how we use technology - and they’ve practically changed how we go about our days. And all of them have relied on third party software development at different stages of their growth.
The same goes for a long list of other renowned tech companies, such as GitHub, Basecamp, Opera, AppSumo, and MySQL, among others. Many other hugely successful startups have also based their development on external services, including Fab, Klout, and Staff.com.
3. The service quality is not up to par
Some people may imagine that working with a third-party software development company can only mean trusting their crucial projects to an outsourcing sweatshop with no quality standards. While there are such harmful practices around the globe, high-quality software consulting is abundant.
One of the best ways to avoid falling into a quality trap is to ‘test’ your consultancy of choice early on in your relationship. You can try them out with a smaller task before entrusting them with a full-blown project like your business’ digital modernization. Solid consultancies would also provide modernization assessment services that can guide your innovation efforts.
Moreover, the top consulting firms out there offer status quo assessments that can demonstrate a proof of what their skills, knowledge and understanding of software development are. Most of them have invested heavily in obtaining cutting-edge infrastructure and ensuring uncompromising quality control. It’s important to do your due diligence in advance, though, so that you lay the foundations for a good working connection with your software consulting partner.
4. Using external development compromises data privacy and security
Another common mythological creature that pops up in the discussions around external development services is that security and privacy are jeopardized. But the reality speaks differently.
Software consulting is a type of business that relies heavily on word of mouth and references for leads and customer relationship building. That’s why good software development and consulting companies obsess about their customers’ privacy and safety. They adopt strict measures to ensure the intellectual property of clients is protected.
You can also take specific steps to ensure how your classified business data is treated. One important requirement that you can demand from your third party consultants before contracting them is proof that they adhere to proper security policies and procedures. You can make inquiries about the security certifications they have, as well as require them to sign a non-disclosure agreement that binds them legally to protect your sensitive business information.
5. Transparency and effective communication are missing
Other perceived issues with software consulting include that the communication with third-party providers is difficult and that transparency is lacking. However, high-quality development companies prove this wrong. For solid consultants with impressive track records, smooth and timely communication with the customer is of utmost importance.
At Resolute Software, we have a distinct engagement model that focuses on establishing transparency and a strong communication process.
6. Third-party workforce means inexperienced staff and lack of business domain knowledge
One of the horror stories about third-party software development paints a picture of overcrowded sweatshops that exploit inexperienced employees. These boast unimaginable attrition rates and offer low-quality services that have a one-size-fits-all approach. While that certainly may be the case with outsourced sweatshops, that’s not the only approach to software consulting. It’s just the worst example of it.
Prudent and high-quality software development businesses focus first and foremost on people. They invest heavily in building a trusted and close-knit team of experts rather than a group of disgruntled factory workers. Such consultants grasp that they’re able to satisfy their customers’ needs and raise their business to the top only by betting on the development of their own people. That’s why they make sure to provide continuous learning and upskilling for their staff.
Basing their work on a people-first approach, outstanding software consultancies thus boast solid and experienced team members. They have the time and abilities to understand a customer’s business, market and competitive landscape in-depth instead of offering a quick, generic fix for all. Their working process is set up in a way that fosters effective communication and collaboration with the client, allowing the team to provide the best possible services.
7. You cannot practice agile and DevOps
Another common misconception about external software consultants is that they don’t use the agile methodology and DevOps practices for process automation. This myth is founded in fact, stemming from low-quality consultancies who bulldoze through projects using their own methods with limited client feedback. When consultancies fail to incorporate themselves into existing agile teams, it prohibits alignment with the client. They will likely be inflexible, unaware of modern tech and development approaches beyond agile and DevOps, and will communicate poorly.
For the solid consulting companies out there, these statements cannot be further from reality. Top-level service providers often invest heavily in agile techniques, as it has proven its transformative power for development teams. Iterative development allows them to involve their customers adequately, as well as to be flexible and able to scale their efforts. Additionally, consultants who understand and utilize DevOps practices will likely have experience with the most modern automation and delivery toolsets.
In the case of Resolute Software, agile and DevOps are part of our DNA. Not only do we follow the Agile methodology, but we also help train our customers’ teams on how to best take advantage of it. We realize and employ the power of the latest methodologies to speed up and improve product building and quality assurance.
Working with the right software consulting partner
Leveraging the benefits of third-party software consulting is essential for the successful digital transformation for hundreds of thousands of companies around the world. While the mythological creatures surrounding external software development are abundant and all proclaim how risky this business is, real-life examples show that trustworthy consultants do exist.
Resolute Software is here to help with your company’s unique development needs. Get in touch with us to experience the flipside of the myth.