Outsourcing – the process of contracting a third party to carry out a particular service or function for your business – has become a very attractive industry in recent years. Outsourcing companies are able to take on the jobs that you cannot, or may not want to, in-house. In the world of online business, hiring another company for digital service is especially beneficial, allowing you to focus on the core issues of the business (i.e. the product and the customers) while a white label operative takes care of the social media, hosting, SEO, and web development aspects.
Web development, in particular, is a much-outsourced service. It is estimated that the industry is worth in excess of £13 billion, with businesses relying on the experience and expertise of the third party, reducing the burden of management and considerably reducing production costs in the process. However, as good as it can be, outsourcing is not without its risks or its disasters, some of which can have catastrophic consequences for your website, and ultimately your business.
Here are seven of the most common web development outsourcing disasters if you don’t do it right:
7. I thought you were experts?
When you outsource web development, you do so on the basis that the company handling the back-end of your website are experts; after all, that’s what it says they are on their website! But what if the company you hire don’t know their CSS from their HTML? Your website could end up being one that actually loses you business as opposed to generating it. Make sure you know the credentials of the third party companies you are hiring!
6. Data security/protection
Outsourcing generally requires you to hand over sensitive data over to a third party – one that is often thousands of miles away. The contracted party will have access to critical files and there is no telling what they may do with the information, including using it to their own gains.
5. Where has the company gone?
Hiring a company is generally based on the credentials on their website and a phone call. There is often no way to tell if an outsourcing company are who they say they are, and this can lead to potential disaster. Some businesses have been known to hand over money to an outsourcing organisation only to find that the company has disappeared the next day. Don’t get hustled; make sure you can trust the company you are using.
4. Hidden costs
Outsourcing is often done to save money. Services in Europe and India in particular seem much cheaper than hiring in-house office staff, but don’t forget about the hidden costs. It is often a problem that services cost much more than you expected, sometimes to a point that outsourcing does not save any money at all. If the work isn’t done properly and to a high quality standard you may end up spending more of your time and resources rectifying issues, thus creating additional hidden costs for your project.
3. Lost in translation
Although many countries speak English and are trained to deal with you in your language, there can still be misunderstandings in communication or your instructions being interpreted in a completely different way. The result can land you with a website that does nothing that you wanted it to. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a company you can pick up the phone and speak to.
Trust is a major thing in business. With an in-house web development team, trust is something that is built instantly as you can watch over and manage operations. However, trusting a company who might be working remotely is rather more difficult, so meet up with the company you will be using, get introduced to the team, see their work and build up that trust.
1. Unethical practices
There is nothing like unethical web development to wipe your website off the face of Google and drive your customer base over to the competition in the process. Unfortunately, there are as many bad outsourcing companies out there as good ones, and those using methods and technologies that belong in the 1990s can result in disaster for your business. One classic case of unethical practice is an outsourcing company ripping off other websites by using templates and code for their own benefits.
Be sure to thoroughly research outsourcing services and always ask to see actual examples of work before hiring any third party. The risks of not doing so can be disastrous!