First what is Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is a very common practice which involves contracting out business functions and processes to third party providers. Sometimes these are in the same country, in other cases the developers will be in other countries, the latter being known as ‘off shoring’.
There is no doubt as to the benefits obtained by using outsourcing. The main ones are reductions in costs and improved efficiency. Some businesses also gain competitive advantages through access to more highly advanced technologies / ideas.
But there are times when outsourcing is not a good thing at all though. A good example of this is when a business having given the job of creating their new website to a web design agency, finds that they are in turn getting other agencies to do some of the work, but more on that later.
There are, of course downsides to any sort of outsourcing, these being amplified, as you imagine, when a business you have ‘outsourced a task too’ then does the same, the usual potential problems of loss of control being increased in such cases.
Overall though, you therefore need to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing before deciding to use an external company for any of your business operations.
What are the advantages of outsourcing
When it comes to web design and development there are many reasons why businesses outsource this task, the most common being that they simply do not have personnel with the appropriate skills . However, besides this basic reason, there are other recognised benefits of outsourcing:
- Allowing an improved focus on core business activities – putting it simply if you outsource, your staff are not taken away from their normal activities so can concentrate on their main tasks.
- Enhanced efficiency – This is a really obvious benefit. If a business chose to build their own site, using staff who don’t have the necessary skills or experience, they are pound for pound more likely to end up with a less effective site.
- Access to better technologies – In house staff are unlikely to have access to the latest software, applications and training. Outsourcing solves this problem and allows you access to capabilities and facilities which are otherwise simply not accessible or affordable.
The Disadvantages of outsourcing
The most obvious disadvantage is that outsourcing requires that you hand over direct control of the business function (in this case your website) to a third party. This means that you don’t have the same direct control you have when using your own staff.
Thus, when outsourcing, you could experience problems such as:
- Poor service delivery – the project could be delivered late.
- Business confidentiality and security – sharing sensitive data can be a risk for any business (a real concern when using an off shore company)
- Reduced flexibility – you need to be sure that any contract you sign is not too rigid and can accommodate change
- Management issues – like any business, the outsourcing company will more than likely experience staff changes, this potentially leading to problems
- Instability – although unlikely, the outsourcing company could go out of business, this again being more of a problem when choosing an off shore company
Additional problems associated with off shore companies
Offshore outsourcing companies often provide services at lower prices, at least that is how it appears at first glance. However, there can be many hidden costs, paying for travelling costs (theirs or yours) being the most obvious issue.
There are others though:
- Difficulty in managing the relationship – due to different time zones,
- Language Issues – the supplier having a different native language
- Cultural differences – whilst not necessarily a big issue it has to be considered and taken into account
The benefits of using a web development company who have an integrated team
It stands to reason that if you choose a web design company to create your website that itself has to outsource (in other words use another company to provide some of the services needed to build your website), that additional potential dangers to the whole project are added.
Besides the issue that yet another link in the chain (to develop the site) has been created, there is also the fact that the two businesses and the teams within them are going to find it more difficult to communicate and work together than if they were a part of the same organisation. This is the benefit of using a web development company that has team members that can provide all the required resources in house.
At Rouge we have team members who can provide all of the resources required-
There are a substantial number of disciplines needed to build a website. In all cases they have to work closely together throughout the project, but besides this close working arrangement, they also at times form ‘sub teams’ where they all sit together to deal with two of the highly important stages, that of discovery and planning.
The Discovery Stage
As covered in our tips for best web development, Rouge do not provide a firm quote until the process of ‘discovery’ is completed. This is a vital stage in any web project. Without it, the development of the site will commence without a full understanding of what it needs to do, how it will work with the business and how it will integrate with the other marketing and business activities of the client.
We have all seen what happens (just look at any of the Government’s IT projects) when a system’s requirements have not been fully ‘scoped’. As the name suggests, this discovery phase allows Rouge, together with the customer, to find out all the potential issues and to build them into the process. This in turn allows Rouge to create a quote that can be relied on.
As you can imagine, this process takes some time and needs the input of all the different disciplines used in web development. This is why Rouge brings all the necessary people together to form this important sub team.
The Planning Phase
This is another highly important phase in the project, it being where the order of development is decided, time scales being allocated to each phase, with those that can be carried out in parallel and those that have to wait for the completion of another phase, identified.
Here again, all of the members of Rouge’s integrated team are called upon to attend, each one supplying their particular type of expertise. All of which ensures that everyone knows what they are responsible for and when they have to complete their tasks by.
Once this stage has been completed and the client is happy with the timescales, the project can commence, the website then being created using the skills of the team members listed below:-
- Visual Design
It is essential that a website looks good, the colours, images and even the buttons used on the site being a vital part of the whole. It takes a special type of person to be able to create the right look.The ability to create wireframe designs is a major requirement, as is the skill to create mock ups of the site using Photoshop, Illustrator as well as packages like InDesign.
- User Experience (UX)
UX is a hot topic at the moment for many reasons. One is that the web design has to have an interface that will work on mobile devices just as well as it does on desktops and laptops. Another is that Google are now using how good a UX is when deciding on how high to rank a page in the SERPS.
- HTML / CSS Coding
When the look and feel of a site has been created and agreed, you need a coding expert who fully understands HTML and CSS , someone who can build the site at the nuts and bolts level.
- Application Development
- Database Management
The use of databases then requires personnel that can manipulate the tables on the databases used, this requiring skills like SQL.
- Testing and Publishing
Then there is the need for a team member to run a whole range of tests on the site to ensure that it works on the major web browsers, is secure and runs smoothly and fast.
- Project Management
Last but not in any way least, is the need for a project manager. It being their responsibility to run the entire team, communicate with the customer and agree any changes to the projects costs, timescales and features.
So if you are thinking about a new website, please bear in mind that Rouge have all that you need and are waiting for your call.