The terms ‘Outsourcing’ and ‘Outsourced Product Development’ are not new to the IT industry. In fact the term has become quite common and organizations are reaping high benefits out of this both in terms of cost and quality. When discussing outsourcing work, it doesn’t necessarily refer to complete outsourcing. It can also work as an extended product/service development team of dedicated digital experts where both the onsite and offshore team work in tandem and coordination to achieve the end goals. We had a similar experience while working for a client, a leading product based identity solutions check provider from the UK. On the client-side, there were a couple of developers, a manual tester and the product owner. From our end, we added a Business Analyst, a front end developer, a backend developer, a Xamarin developer, and an automation engineer. We worked as a part of the product development and support team.
Having said that, an idea is considered to be successful only when it produces outstanding results. Likewise, having a team of dedicated digital experts could benefit the business in several ways possible. This could be better explained with reference to our previous experiences of setting up an extended team of digital experts for clients from all over the world. Read on to know more.
Benefits of Outsourcing
As mentioned earlier, the term ‘IT Outsourcing’ has caught on like wildfire and the reason for the same is the considerable amount of benefits that come with it. Some of the immediate value additions of outsourcing work are as follows:
Knowledge Sharing – For a client who was a new entrant to the IT industry, we could add a lot of value additions by sharing their knowledge and expertise in product management and cross-functional engagements. One of the major findings of our team was the need to create a product roadmap and add tentative timelines to the same. Once that was done, the marketing team of the client went ahead and published the ads targeting the user groups which had a significant increase in the click-through rate and app downloads.
Increased Productivity – With the increase in team size and knowledge sharing the combined team had a good grasp of the business requirements and it led to greater productivity and in turn quicker release of product features. On average a new feature or bug fix was released to the customers every 2.5 weeks from the previous 4.5 weeks. Also, the TAT for production issues was reduced from 4 hours to 2.5 hours due to the extended team and wider working hour range.
Process Improvements – The client did follow Agile development methodology, however, it was not well defined. Our team could add value by conducting sprint ceremonies – Daily standups, Sprint planning, Sprint grooming, Sprint demo, Sprint retrospective meetings, etc. Apart from this, with the addition of automation QA, several suites were developed which were run on the test environments before QA sign off was shared. Builds were shared on a per sprint basis which led to improved overall product quality. The client appreciated the change and the improvements involved in the overall delivery and accountability in the project.
RACI Matrix – Clear distribution of tasks and responsibilities were laid down from day zero of the project and a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed) matrix was created which led to better risk management and quality project governance.
Below is a sample RACI Matrix. This is used to clearly demarcate the tasks and owners of various activities involved in the whole project. This led to greater accountability of work and in turn better risk governance.
Detailed Documentation – The client uses SharePoint for document management. However, the requirements, technical specifications, product features were not well documented. We added value here by putting together functional design documents, release notes, product understanding document, configuration and setup documents for easy on-boarding of team members in the future, etc. All these documents were versioned and updated at regular intervals. Any new member joining the team could follow these documents and it led to smoother handover activities.
Technical Expertise – The offshore team could bring in sound technical knowledge in product development by following industry-standard coding with regular code review from senior developers, architecture building of the entire ecosystem, automation in deployment and functionalities, etc. Our experience of working with similar clients enabled us to provide constructive suggestions for feature development.
Reduced Costs – Per resource cost and overall monthly billing were well within the client’s budget. There was an overall decrease of 30% per resource cost due to the offshore-onsite vendor-client model. The client used the saved revenue for marketing activities which led to greater reach in the market.
Extensive Research and Outstanding Results – Our pre-sales team conducted a detailed market research and could come up with a comparison report of the client’s competitors and products. This included the study of various articles and focus group discussions on the usability and popularity of the identity check products and services. The beta version of the product was shared with the internal team here and they used the applications and came up with suggestions. Likewise, the product roadmap was modified and backlogs were created. This added a lot of value as conveyed by the client and it did lead to a wider customer base and in turn, increased revenue.
In conclusion, setting up a dedicated team of digital experts has enabled businesses to be profitable and that stands as testimony to the fact that IT outsourcing is a trend that is here to stay. Increased efficiency, better productivity and improved results are the reasons why more businesses are opting to outsource their work. Businesses could also exercise control over the progress by not completely outsourcing the work and having a well-coordinated offshore and onsite team. Therefore one could safely bet their money on an extended product development team to immediately add value to a business.
To know more about how setting up a dedicated digital team could aid in enhanced product development, click here
Business Analyst, RapidValue