When deciding to build their next app or software product, every business owner tries hard to analyse the challenges, risks and benefits of all options available to them. Good business decisions are made when all options are explored, information is at hand and it is clearly understood.

The opportunity of getting your work done offshore is no doubt something that will come up early on in your research, and with your chosen supplier being such an important step, you need to understand where the risks are.

There are lots of different perspectives on offshoring. In our books at Spring Digital, it’s not about hiring staff for a dollar a day or engaging in any sweatshop style development. We wholly stand against modern slavery and everything that it is. Instead, we see offshoring as a chance to give your business access to a global talent pool, regardless of location, race or culture.

The prospect of hiring a global team can be both daunting and exciting – there are usually two core drivers in this decision.

1.  Lower Labour Costs

Where cost is concerned, the financial benefit is usually the first thing that gets people’s attention. Due to the lower cost of living, the rates of development in Eastern Europe, Asia or India are usually lower than their Australian, American and Western European counterparts.

2. Access to the Talent Pool

With remote and hybrid working now being commercially acceptable, even with a large group of in-house or local talent, major companies and even start-ups have adopted offshoring strategies to access a larger pool of skills from every corner of the world.

As a business owner, you can easily make a case for the benefits. So today let’s take a look at some of the risks to be aware of to help in your decision making.

Risk #1:  Language barriers

Unless you’re fluent in your offshore team’s language, there will be issues. It is not just the basics of spelling and grammar that can be a problem but everything from the tone, slang and speed too.

Risk #2: Control

Control of the employees working in any company largely depends upon the company’s recruitment process and its management style, however, with an offshore company, it’s practically impossible to monitor and manage the team day to day, have a quick face-to-face catch up, or visit the office and explain your idea on a whiteboard.

Risk #3: Time zones

When you work with an offshore development company, the time difference will become a challenge. Your usual work day extends after hours as developer questions need answering, and project and status meetings regularly needed after hours.

Risk #4: Security and IP

IP, security and data protection are some of the most pressing challenges today in the IT space –  whoever controls your code has control of your business’ greatest asset. No matter how tight the non-disclosure agreement is, or how well you get on with them, there is risk in this space with cross-border enforcement and litigation being very costly.

Risk #5: Testing and Quality

Quality is a combination of how well it’s coded and how well it’s tested. Many offshore teams have a lack of structured testing or no testing at all. In our experience, offshore teams are quick to tell you they have the team to build it or the project systems to manage it, but often testing is overlooked. Unless you like the prospect of 400+ hours of testing your product and reporting bugs, watch out for this risk.

“Yes Sir” or “Yes Ma’am” culture

 A final, bonus risk is one that isn’t common with all offshoring, but is something that can come up with some countries.

The “Yes Sir” or “Yes Ma’am” culture is when you’re sitting in a meeting with the team in front of you listening to them say yes to everything you say. At the end, it’s all smiles and no questions – it can be painful!

Communication is a two-way street when dealing with technical experts, and not getting those indicators that they understand by way of good questions, constructive criticism and feedback, leaves a sinking feeling in your chest. So watch out!

There’s a n old saying we use in the IT space: “It can be built fast, cheap and well, but you can only pick two”.

As you start your next project, consider these risks and whether you’re able to overcome them with a system, a process, or a person.

Want to talk more about offshoring and the risks involved? Feel free to get in touch with us at Spring Digital to find out how we can help you get your project completed with less of the stress.