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In-house vs. Software Outsourcing Development: Which is best?

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Developing software has become necessary for most businesses with increasing internet usage. A famous example is Netflix. What made Netflix stand out was an online service that allowed users to order DVD sets compared to offline stores like Blockbuster. 

Software development allows organizations to streamline processes, enable advanced functionalities, and improve user experience. However, what follows once you develop software is trickier than the decision itself. 

Yes, deciding whether to choose an in-house team or outsource development can be tricky. In-house development requires higher investment upfront as you must hire a development team. 

Software outsourcing is gaining popularity due to the flexibility of hiring developers with different engagement models, reducing costs, and improving access to talent.

According to Statista, the outsourcing market in Canada is set to reach $10.39 billion by the end of 2023. It will get a whopping $17.31 billion in revenue in the next five years, growing at a CAGR of 10.75%.

However, software outsourcinghas caveats like lack of control and collaboration issues. So, which one to choose? This article will help you decide on or outsource house development and the key factors that affect the decision.

The importance of development in business

Businesses faces the challenge of digitization of most functions. Higher smartphone usage and interface-based interactions across business domains make software development crucial.

IoT software development has transformed business operations from wearables to automated manufacturing devices.

Take the example of a chip manufacturing giant like Mediatek. Software development allows Mediatek to increase sales by 10x, reducing the cost of developing a digital product and optimizing performance.

The challenge most businesses face while developing software is to find a reliable team. With the advent of distributed teams, CEOs must find the right team for digital transformations. 

This includes careful analysis of project requirements and deciding whether to hire an in-house team or outsource. Comparing both will provide a better understanding of how they impact software development.

In-house development: If you need it, you need it!

In-house development is the process of hiring an in-house team within the organization. This team includes all the developers, designers, testers, and QAs.

However, whom to have in the team will depend on specific requirements, but creating such teams is often time-consuming.

You must recruit talents according to your development needs and ensure all the resources are in place.

In-house development can be costly, mainly due to the upfront costs of hiring developers. Apart from the hiring costs, you have to spend on training them and the resources they need to develop software.

CEOs and CTOs look to build teams with full-stack capabilities for their software development projects.

However, finding and integrating the right talent into the team is grueling. At the same time, if done right, in-house development can provide several benefits.

Benefits of in-house development

The in-house approach has several advantages of better control, training, and higher quality software.

#1. Better control of the outcome

An in-house team provides better control of the outcome of development activities. In-house teams offer control over processes, workflows, and development methods to ensure higher ROI.

For example, you can apply agile methodologies with the in-house teams and ensure faster development for your projects.

#2. Process alignment and streamlined workforce

Enterprises follow specific processes for business operations. Take an example of the CMMI level standard.

It evaluates enterprises on the assumption that process quality will improve business growth. So, enterprises need to maintain a high level of process standards.

In-house teams allow you to train employees according to process standards and ensure you follow guidelines to become a CMMI-level company.

This is also important from the sales point of view because many large enterprises work with companies that follow specific process standards.

#3. Better domain expertise

Domain expertise is crucial for your projects, and in-house software development makes it possible through control of hiring decisions.

You can hire subject matter experts per requirements without relying on third-party service providers.

#4. Custom team requirements

You can handpick an in-house team, which is beneficial if your project requirements are unique.

For example, handpicking the team is the right option if you are developing custom AI-based software. Because you need to build a custom algorithm, integrate it into a software product, and create a custom API.

#5. Team collaborations

Team collaboration in in-house development is better than outsourced software development.

Your in-house team works as a single unit with a cohesive and collaborative effort, which is challenging for an outsourcing service. 

Collaboration is also better in in-house development because all the employees are in the same time zone, while remote developers in the outsourcing approach may be scattered. 

Limitations of choosing an in-house development

In-house software development has disadvantages, like limited talent access, flexibility, and customization issues.

#1. High cost

A significant disadvantage of choosing an in-house software development team is cost. You need to hire the entire team directly, which includes recruiting costs, on-boarding costs, and training expenses.

The lifecycle cost of an employee for any organization is higher than software outsourcing. 

#2. Unexpected attrition

Developer attrition is a significant challenge for many organizations, and if you are choosing an in-house development team, you need to be mindful of attritions.

Developer attritions at a crucial juncture of software development can cost your organization the entire project, which is why choosing outsourced resources makes sense.

#3. Lack of flexibility

As the user base for your software grows, and there are changes in market demands, you need to add new features.

This will require adding resources and talents to your team, which is costly if you use an in-house development approach. 

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Software outsourcing development: A choice you can’t resist!

Where in-house development falls short, outsourcing excels. For example, if your in-house team needs more flexibility, the software outsourcing team offers ease of adding developers anytime during the project. 

Software outsourcing is where service providers outside your organization oversee the development activities.

Outsourcing your software development can help you reduce costs, improve flexibility, and access a vast pool of skilled professionals.

Advantages of software outsourcing

Software outsourcing has become the go-to approach for many organizations because it offers advantages like lower cost, risk mitigation, and improved efficiency.

#1. Optimized costs:

Whether you are a small business, startup, or large enterprise, costing is a significant consideration when choosing a development approach.

So, if you select an outsourcing strategy, cost optimization is a factor to consider.

Software outsourcing allows you to reduce the cost of hiring, onboarding, and lifecycle expenses for each employee.

Outsourcing development ensures that you only pay for the resources you use. You can engage with developers according to your requirements, which also helps save money.

For example, you can hire developers from outsourcing companies hourly/monthly/yearly according to project needs. It also reduces training expenditure for your organization. 

If you compare the cost-effectiveness of in-house development and outsourcing, choosing the latter will help reduce the overhead costs.

For example, if you hire in-house developers, you must pay their salaries, insurance, and other overhead costs.

Outsourcing reduces such costs as you only pay for a specific time a developer works on your project.

Plus, you can easily choose developers from different locations, reducing the development costs

For example, hiring a software developer from Canada can cost you  $91,130 annually. At the same time, hiring a software developer from India can cost you approximately $4680.49 per year.

#2. Access to skilled professionals

Software development projects need different types of talents for optimal results. For example, two developers with different expertise are required if you are choosing to build software with React on the front end and Node.Js on the back end.

Similarly, if you need to test your software, there are different types of testing, and based on this, you need to find an expert.

Outsourcing makes access to talent easier by offering many options for development requirements.

So, whether you need front-end developers, backend, or full-stack developers, hiring them is easy through an outsourcing service provider. 

#3. Ease of Customization

Outsourcing offers ease of customization by allowing you to leverage multiple technologies and development methods.

For example, outsourcing makes it easier if you want to develop custom software where features are added in the later stages or you want to integrate a third-party service.

You can outsource software development and customize features anytime during the development life-cycle

#4. Rapid development

Software outsourcing helps you with faster time-to-market through rapid development. Outsourcing service providers leverage agile methodologies to ensure faster feedback integrations and improve time-to-market. 

The lower time-to-market advantage of software outsourcing makes it a key differentiation compared to in-house development.

Rapid development also ensures that you need resources for shorter periods, reducing costs.

For example, outsourcing can reduce the instances you need if you leverage cloud storage for growth.

This is possible for in-house software development, but you must train employees to achieve such efficiency.

#5. Risk mitigation

Outsourcing helps you mitigate the risks of delayed delivery and security. Outsourcing service providers follow security best practices and improve software delivery. An in-house approach can lead to risks of data leaks and delays due to process flow disruptions.

In this engagement model, you need to define the period for the project and budget. Outsourcing services ensure the project is successfully within a predefined timeline and budget. 

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Advantages of software outsourcing

Software outsourcing has its limitations in communication, collaboration, control, and quality.

#1. Collaboration and communications:

Outsourcing software development can be challenging due to collaboration issues. Most outsourcing service providers offer developers from locations worldwide, like the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Collaboration and communication become a significant challenge if the development team you hire is within a different time zone than yours.

#2. Quality control:

The outsourcing service provider manages the team and resource allocations for the project. So, quality control becomes challenging for you.

An outsourcing company must follow your process standards to avoid impacting the final outcome.

Now we know the two contenders in the ring, so if you are to pick a side, knowing the differentiators becomes essential.

Factors to consider when deciding between in-house and software outsourcing development

Both software outsourcing and in-house approach have perks and shortcomings. However, choosing between the two needs consideration of cost, time-to-market, risks, quality, and customer support.

Cost of development

Most significant consideration for comparison between in-house and software outsourcing development is cost- WHY?

According to CNBC, most small businesses and even large enterprises face rising taxes for software development.

This means that the economy of software development is becoming a significant factor for businesses to consider. 

One of the key reasons to choose software outsourcing is its cost-effectiveness. Reduced development costs mean that the burden of taxation and other overhead costs does not break the business. 


Ensuring a competitive edge is a significant challenge for any business, and time-to-market becomes crucial.

You will have a competitive edge if you can introduce your software product within a specific time.

Software outsourcing provides better time-to-market through rapid development compared to in-house development.

Risk mitigation

Security risks are not the only risk you may face, so you must consider holistic risk mitigation before choosing in-house or outsourced development.

For example, businesses must ensure compliance with data regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

With in-house development, you must train the entire team, implement best practices, and monitor compliance.

Outsourcing reduces all the above activities by ensuring compliance without burdening your organization.

Software quality

Comparing in-house and outsourced development based on software quality is tricky.

In-house development provides better quality but has challenges in training employees to maintain it. At the same time, outsourcing offloads training requirements but can have quality issues.

The best way to ensure higher software quality with outsourcing is to choose a service provider that aligns with your process standards.

Customer support

Customer support considerations for both approaches are vital because it helps you get repeat customers. How quickly you respond to a customer query becomes essential, which is why the Outsourcing approach makes sense.

Many outsourcing service providers have dedicated teams and experts for customer support, which improves the response time.

At the same time, an in-house development approach requires training and creating a customer support system, which can prove costly.

Making the right choice for your business: What to choose?

After a detailed comparison between the two approaches, it’s clear how outsourcing software development is beneficial.

However, you must consider factors like cost, risks, quality, and customer support before deciding what to choose.

Another vital aspect is choosing the right outsourcing company that aligns with your process standards and offers top talents in the industry.

Zennaxx is an outsourcing service provider that provides top-of-the-line skills to your software development. Contact us now for more information. 

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Divyesh Ghediya

Project Manager
Divyesh Ghediya is a highly motivated Project Manager who prioritizes achieving results and adopts an innovative approach to ensure the success of software development projects. With 10 years of experience in the industry, he possesses a wealth of knowledge across various technologies such as NodeJS, ReactJS, PHP and its frameworks, PgSQL, version control, and comprehensive testing and debugging methodologies.


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