While Offshore Software Development Has Been the Thing for Over Two Decades Now, Going Offshore with One’s BA Needs Has Not Been So Popular
The benefits of offshore software development have been partaken of by many thousands of businesses globally, making the topic too trite to still be seriously debatable. The offshore development scenario is increasingly opted for by the world’s leading brands and is now responsible for some of the most incredible and popular software products out there.
In recent years, the number of offshore R&D centers has mushroomed across Eastern Europe (and Ukraine is a case in point), drawing demand for offshore software development services from a couple of dozen foreign countries, including the United States, the UK, Israel, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Canada, and more. Currently, the number of overseas companies' Ukraine-based offshore software development centers is in excess of 100, while the overall number of software development companies in Ukraine is estimated at around 1500. Does that make you think its worth it to send some or all of your software development offshore?
Oddly enough, while many offshore software development companies are engaged in what can be referred to as end-to-end product development (and, often, employ qualified BAs), outsourcing one’s Business Analysis to places, such as Ukraine, has not yet become a booming trend.
Being a typical Outsourced Product Development (OPD) provider, which has a very strong BA Department to boot, we’ve been wondering why. Indeed, does it make sense to outsource one’s Business Analysis to an offshore provider? When and how should that be done?
The Cons by In-House Buffs
The issue of outsourced Business Analysis is not a new one. There has been much talk by in-house evangelists to the effect that Business Analysis is what, to a large extent, shapes your business and creates the edge that you need to deal with your competition. Therefore, it should be handled solely in-house.
Moreover, since Business Analysis is, usually, type of business- and project-specific, it is an in-house team that is better positioned to know the ins and outs of whatever you do, as well as your overall business situation. It would be hard for outsiders to delve that deep and capture the various nuances. To top it all, if your Business Analysis is handled in-house, it shall remain there for generations to come.
Seems like a pretty coherent stand, but we’ve been in this business for far too long not to discern several critical flaws in the in-house harangue.
How Is the In-House Argumentation Faulty and What Are the Pros of Going Offshore with Your BA Needs?
First of all, what most business owners, company executives, and, even, frequently, CIOs, are not aware of is that there are several different sets of BA skills, just like there are, correspondingly, several different types of Business Analysts. Some of them are totally no good at what others have as their core specialties.
Certainly, depending on the nature of your project, you may not need BAs of 6 different types. However, as a general rule, the average enterprise-grade software development project takes 4 different types of BAs to be implemented properly. This may, in some instances, be manageable for major software vendors that do the bulk of their development in-house, employ a relatively large number of IT staff, and just want to outsource overseas part of their development effort. But what if you are not so big (in terms of the number of employees, of course) a startup, or a small- to mid-sized manufacturing company? How realistic would it be for you to source the required diverse set of BA expertise and knowledgeably exercise control over these BAs work?
With major software development projects, different BA expertise is required during the different stages in the project’s lifecycle. In plain English, you will have to be continually sourcing, hiring, onboarding, and laying off most of the people you’ll find locally for this purpose. Unless, of course, you outsource the whole thing to an external service provider that can provide a flexible and reliable solution.
In the latter regard, it would, definitely, make sense to find a good offshore software company, even for the sole reason of being able to cut your BA costs nearly by half. Actually, BA and PM resources are not only extremely costly outside the well-known software outsourcing locations and can hike up the cost of development very considerably, but they also, often, account for the bulk of one’s development costs. Judge for yourself: a well-qualified BA, with relevant business domain expertise, will cost you, roughly, $ 3.5K in Kharkiv, Ukraine. In Melbourne, Australia, you will pay no less than AUD 75K – 145 K a year.
Whatever employee turnover you have, it may affect your BA human assets in the offing. The “keeping your BA expertise in-house” bit does sound a little lame in this sense. Your offshore BA team can duly document whatever needs to be documented, and transfer these artifacts to you to be stored on your premises for future purposes.
A good full-cycle offshore software development provider has amassed an amount of BA experience no hastily gathered in-house option can compete with. This is, at least, true as far as BA expertise in the company’s target business domains is concerned.
For instance, we are a typical full-cycle offshore software company, whose BA practice has largely been focused on the Telco and several more industries. Our BAs have come to grips with a b’zillion of problems in these several areas, catered to standard-setting companies that are a major influence in them, and they are well-familiar with the existing best practices. Do you think it would be easy for one to set up a team like ours from scratch? We don’t think so.
A bona fide external contractor, providing the full range of offshore software development services, is, inevitably, in possession of a much broader toolset. Their BA team would be much more likely to pick and apply a more appropriate set of BA techniques and tools, or, even, come up with some innovative technique or tool that will enhance the analysis, the way we did with our System Integration Use-Cases.
Lastly, if you are a company that relies heavily on OPD , and wants to outsource a significant part of your project’s implementation, it may be beneficial for you to send your Business Analysis to the same offshore outsourcing destination in order to ensure more smooth and productive interaction between your Development and BA teams.
If the idea of outsourcing your Business Analysis needs takes your fancy, but, you are, still, hesitant and unsure as to whether you are prepared to make this move now, a good way to start would be to outsource your PM needs first. This will give you several advantages, such as, for example, the ability to remove any possible communication barriers between your PM and your offshore team, receive a single point of contact and the ability to formulate the required tasks just once, as well as get a clear picture of what’s going on with your project.
Moreover, if your company is a startup, whose software development is handled without a detailed and clear functional specification (whether by an offshore software development team, or in-house, doesn’t really matter incidentally), you may be able to benefit from such as arrangement even more. This would happen because you would not have to be communicating your functionality requirements to your offshore team multiple times, often, the same stuff to different people.
Outsourcing your Business Analysis to an offshore software development company can be no less rewarding than offshore custom software development. Central and Eastern Europe can, normally, open excellent opportunities for you in this area, while also being able to provide extremely good offshore outsourcing options on the whole.