When it comes to making a decision, the human mind will always look for the "path of least effort". For pricing, the most immediate and simple piece of information to consider is the "sticker price"; so, it's no wonder clients look for vendors with the lowest rates when choosing a software development outsourcing partner.
However, basing your decision on "sticker prices" is misleading. When it comes to choosing an IT outsourcing services vendor, there are a number of other variables that contribute to your project's Total Cost of Ownership, and that you can't afford to ignore.Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO, is a term coined by the Gartner Group back in 1987 to help buyers determine both the direct and indirect cost of a system. What we understand as TCO for software engineering is the cost of an application, including its development, enhancement, maintenance and support. So, when you look at a "sticker price", what you may think is a definitive price is actually just an incomplete one.
We posit that to make an informed decision, you need to keep in mind the following key variables:Process
Like any engineer will tell you, the success of a project involving more than one resource will hinge on how well the team works together. That's why process —meaning behaviors, methods and practices that determine how a group performs— is critical to the success of all but the tiniest of software initiatives.
Aside from having good communication and synergy between teams, you need a support team that understands and applies the same set of principles and methodologies you do. PSL teams adhere to agile principles and are adapt to any number of methodologies, while remaining flexible in order to work in tandem with clients' teams on their terms.Productivity
What's the difference between a great development team and a mediocre one? In software engineering, productivity levels that can vary by a factor of 10, or more! Relying on a novice team will certainly rack up additional costs in the way of time lost correcting mistakes, missed business opportunities, and even in loss of credibility with your clients.
However, more important than having expert developers on your team is having one that'll scale up effectively with your project and needs. Deploying a mix of senior and junior engineers gives you a productive dynamic between team members where both sides can learn from each other and grow. It also fosters an environment of continuous learning, rising up to new challenges and being open to new ideas, which in turn provides value overall.
[ACCESS WORLD-CLASS SOFTWARE ENGINEERING TALENT: Augment your engineering bandwidth with teams in our same time zone]Quality
Developing software isn't exactly a low-cost endeavor, which is why it should be built to last. If your application is made hastily and poorly, the inherent technical debt will easily exceed the initial build cost. You could soon be faced with the need to make any number of corrections or adjustments that ultimately make your "savings" negligible.Risk
Success rates have been improving for IT projects since 2016, but ensuring your project isn't at risk still demands you carefully consider the objective quality of your vendor. Risk mitigation is a front on which transparency is critical. At this, PSL excels at, as we provide full and unrestricted, real-time access to all project repositories.
To prevent risk from carrying-forward and gaining momentum, it's essential to be able to detect and immediately correct problems. So, it's reasonable to say that paying a "quality premium" that reduces that risk is actually cheaper than opting for a lower upfront cost which includes a higher risk of failure.Cost
Finally, let's take a look at the numbers. If we're going to take cost at face value, it's simply the price paid per unit of time (cost per hour, or cost per developer per month). However, the real cost of an engineer doesn't stop at salary pay; it also includes the basic infrastructure needed for them to perform their job. An actual, fully burdened blended rate will likely go up between 50%-70% per engineer, which accounts for the cost difference between a US-based and a nearshore outsourcing vendor.
And, as we've seen, it's not enough to think about how much any given "unit" will cost, we also need to consider what the effect of that unit (hour of work or developer costs) will have on the project in the long run.
[READ MORE: Discover the real cost behind your software development project in our Total Cost of Ownership whitepaper.]
All things considered, finding a vendor that can help you achieve your technology goals at a reasonable cost means finding a partner that understands the right mix of process, risk management, quality and productivity is the key to a successful engagement. PSL's approach to engagements doesn't start off by just answering the question "What are your rates?", but rather exploring a project to ensure we can deploy the best talent and best practices, and develop world-class software engineering solutions at the lowest possible TCO.
PSL Corp is a purpose-driven software outsourcing company with 30 years of experience and 600+ driven and passionate engineers ready to tackle complex engineering challenges. Schedule a meeting with our experts to learn how PSL can help with your IT services needs.