A Hybrid Outsource Development Model

If you’re considering outsourcing application development for SaaS or other software in your organization, you will find a wide range of possibilities that could keep you up all night worrying. Not all providers will match your development needs. For example, you may have a pre-defined system architecture like cloud native or a specific language like JavaScript (and a particular flavor/framework of that too). You also may face corporate, regulatory, or compliance rules, like HIPAA or domestic-only vendors. We’ve had experiences with these options ourselves, as we occasionally contract firms or consultants to fill gaps too. The lessons we learned over the years is what led us to create our hybrid development outsource model, which brings numerous advantages to our clients. That said, we occasionally face pushback for a variety of reasons. We’ll break down each of the outsourcing models to help you make a more informed decision.

We also encourage you to review our other article on how to find a GOOD partner for development.

Onshore Software Development


As an American company, we love being able to support domestic clients with U.S. based personnel. The advantages are numerous — time zone compatibility, native language speakers, familiarity with models, and good ol’ American ingenuity. The tradeoff is primarily cost. US developers are the highest paid in the world.

Highest Paying Countries for Software Engineers
Country Avg. Developer Salary
USA $110,638
Switzerland  95,394
Israel 76,791
Norway 64,202
Denmark 72,151
UK 68,462
Germany 60,162
Netherlands 54,025
New Zealand 46,229

Offshore Software Development


As Tom Friedman wrote many years ago, the dotcom era enabled a global marketplace for technology workers. India was an early success story, but today, you can engage developers from virtually anywhere. A study in 2020 estimated the global IT outsourcing market to be around $92.5 billion, growing at 3-5% annually. With a global well-trained development workforce, projects can move faster and cheaper than ever before. Years ago, global organizations were using “tagging” to work on code around the clock — US engineers worked 9-5, then a team in the Phillipines took over, and then a team in India took over. Code was tested and built 24/7. That was happening 20 years ago! The downside is that there can be communication issues, cultural barriers, and time zone differences. Consequently, managing an offshore development team requires more attention.

Nearshore Development


To overcome the time zone challenge, a new movement arose — using developers in closer proximity. Brazil, Argentina, and Costa Rica are all closer to US time zones, and they also overcome many cultural and language barriers. Rates are competitive too. We’ve experienced it firsthand, and it works well. Like offshore, though, managing these nearshore development teams also incurs additional oversight overhead.

Hybrid Outsource Development


Webapper built a hybrid outsourcing model for application development. The concept we embraced was much like Apple’s “Designed in California. Made in China.” We have senior developers, software architects, business analysts, database administrators, project managers, and systems administrators scattered across the US.

Our primary software development team is offshore in Southeast Asia. Our offshore team is “our team” (employees of Webapper, onboarded in our company culture and values), with oversight from the US. Webapper built its team from the ground up — so it’s our proven processes that drive everything. We use virtual channels at all hours of the day and meet using online conferencing when needed. Our ticketing system, code repositories, and knowledgebase ensure we are all on the same page. Clients interact almost exclusively with our US employees. Requirements gathering, design, documentation, and project management are almost entirely done in the US. We find it works best that way to address cultural expectations — some ideas in the States don’t always happen in other countries. Other outsourcing firms may offer variations on this model too. With our model, clients get the best of both worlds with a “blended” rate.

Choose the Right Outsourcing Model for You

We don’t think one size fits all, or even one size fits most. It’s imperative to match your needs to what vendors offer, from tech stack to help desk response times. You’ll inevitably deal with trade-offs, just as you do with in-house personnel (you know, like that guy who drinks all the coffee and swears too much but writes fantastic Python code). When you find the right balance of service delivery and cost, your outsourcing decision will help you avoid late night worrying.

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