Which parts of your digital business should you outsource? (Which shouldn’t you?)

Repeat after me: I shall not outsource what is dear to my business.

But you can consider outsourcing everything else.

So what does that even mean? This article looks to help guide you about which parts of your digital business you should outsource — and which you shouldn’t. With a touch of how we outsource and how to make the most out of that outsourcing relationship.

IT in-housing vs. IT outsourcing

Deciding on a permanent versus temporary hire isn’t as easy of a decision as some think it is. OK sometimes it is. If you have someone on parental leave or working on a project with a fixed timeline, you may logically only need someone temporarily. But when deciding what parts of your business to outsource, if any, you need to understand your own business needs before you can look outside it.

Of course budget factors into a lot of it. Sometimes you only have the budget to outsource. But other times you may want to train a current staff for the new role or skill. Or you may want to hire someone as your business grows.

KnowTechie probably puts it best, saying kicking off the conversation by having you answer the following three questions:

  • Do you have the internal resources to handle the task at hand?
  • Does your company have the staff to take on the demanding needs found in IT?
  • Are your employees qualified to handle your particular IT needs?

But it’s more than that. It’s about truly understanding what about your business pushes the needle and provides the biggest value. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want your business to be?
  • What do you want to get out of it?
  • Is an app or website the core of your business or just something that supports it?
  • Is that integration or infrastructure part of your added-value or just something that helps you work better?

If your business is digital. If your business is the app. Then sure you probably want in-house IT. If not, outsource, outsource, outsource!

Software outsourcing and mobile app development doesn’t have to be the whole project either. You could just as easily have your own in-house team to work on the core product, but hire someone external to manage the integrations that allow you to be a part of a great, sellable workflow for your clients. And then you may want to outsource to marketing to promote that partnership.

And don’t forget about the cost of maintaining. When you are working with a digital outsourcing team, it’s not usually a one-off. You want to work with someone that can not only build whatever you need, but keep it working well. You do not want to invest in a new digital asset like an app that goes down a month later.

When it comes down to it, if your business is digital first and your product is a digital service, sure, you’ll want to in-house most things. But maybe not all.

While we are a full-stack IT outsourcing team, that doesn’t mean we provide all the services. We provide our core web and mobile app development, integrations and microservices. But we’ve even decided to rely on software testing outsourcing for our QA. Of course, we aren’t outsourcing far away. We are nearshoring to regular testing partners we’ve built relationships with over the years.

When you should avoid outsourcing

We know a lot of outsourcing is involved in hiring. We’re not saying an external recruiter is a bad idea, but these firms shouldn’t be working on their own. You should be writing your own job descriptions, with the teammates that will have to work with the new hire. Sure there are certain qualifications you want but make sure to focus more on the culture. And be careful you aren’t limiting candidates based on silly requirements like a four-year computer science degree. Some awesome candidates may have done a boot camp and worked heavily with open source code, but get filtered out of LinkedIn and recruitment software. Stress you’re looking for the best teammate first, CV or resume later.

Then don’t outsource the interviewing process! Whether it’s a new permanent hire or an outsourcing IT partner or a remote collaborator or even that external recruiter, you need to interview your candidates. Preferably in person but otherwise video chat. And you should bring everyone on the team into that final interview. Heck, even better, do some mob programming or at least pair programming to help learn about your preferred candidate’s way of working. Culture fit is the most important characteristic.

Similarly, there’s a lot of human resources that shouldn’t be outsourced. Sure, go ahead and outsource contracting, billing and taxes. But no matter how large or small your digital organisation is, you shouldn’t forget the power of a regular one-to-ones, 360 reviews, and open-ended feedback. Both top-down and peer-to-peer.

At Code4Nord, we believe great people make great software. And really the people are who make or break any great business. Yes, it’s a good idea to outsource and partner with folks like us to be able to focus on your core business. But always remember there should be a heart at its core.

In the end, trust your gut — and your budget! Because you know your business better than anyone.

Looking to join the Code4Nord family? Or are you looking to focus on your core business value and then outsource the IT stuff to us? Let’s have a conversation!

How does your org decide what to outsource or not? What lessons have you learned from it?

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