Outsourcing Cloud Application Development

If you’re evaluating cloud application development, you may consider outsourcing some or all of the programming effort. An outsourcing firm can supply needed additional technical talent, making it more efficient than using inside resources. Outsourcing is not for everyone, although it offers great benefits to many aspirational cloud organizations. To help our colleagues better understand the how and why, we share our views on outsourcing cloud application development from our many years of service.

Cloud Application Development Defined

Webapper has provided cloud consulting services for over a decade. We initially provided managed cloud hosting services, but as an application development firm, we ultimately became adept at managing the full lifecycle of cloud applications. These cloud native applications are flexible, scalable, reliable, and fast, tapping into the latest methods in modern application development. We’re using microservices, containers, and robust APIs, deployed using best DevOps methods.

Outsourced Cloud Development Services

Building cloud applications can take many paths, and the available outsourcing options can be optimized to suit your needs. Examples include outsourced cloud development services like these…

Cloud Readiness Assessment and Consulting Services

Not all applications belong in the cloud. Cloud migration may include a variety of steps like rehosting or replatforming or decisions like using a hybrid cloud configuration. A cloud readiness assessment determines the best course of action for each workload.

Migration of Apps to The Cloud

Your cloud readiness assessment will drive decisions for each of your workloads. In some cases, you must choose whether rehosting, replatforming, or rearchitecting [https://www.webapper.com/rehost-replatform-rearchitect/] makes the most sense. You may retire or replace others. Experienced outsource teams have seen many projects through migrations, and that saves time and avoids mistakes.

Cloud Application Development

Whether building an application from scratch or rehosting/replatforming/rearchitecting, having experienced cloud engineers on your team brings huge advantages. We often hear about abandoned cloud migrations, burned by old school developers who hadn’t crossed the chasm before.

Integration of Cloud Applications

APIs are everywhere and being able to leverage them brings tremendous value. Tying cloud workloads together effectively is part art and part science (but mostly science!).

SaaS Implementation

If you’re building software as a service, odds are good that you’re cloud-based (or wish you were). Not all SaaS solutions are cloud native, but it should be a goal.

App Support and Maintenance Services

Cloud workloads need ongoing care — so retaining help for maintenance can make sense, especially if the original work was outsourced.

Advantages of Outsourcing Cloud Application Development

Experienced Software Development Team

A book of hard lessons learned is the best cloud teacher. Taking an AWS course on Udemy is cool, but building applications in complex cloud environments is far superior. An experienced cloud team knows what to ask, where to invest time, and how to work around issues.

Increased Reach

Outsourced cloud application developers move from project to project and industry to industry. That is, they know more than one approach to a problem. They can increase the reach and velocity of your development effort.

Product Mindset

The best outsourcing teams think like product owners. Yes, some consultants like to ‘run the meter’ but the real professionals think long-term and build robust product roadmaps. We have that long-term mindset, and that’s why we’ve been retained to work on some solutions for over seven years.

Proven Workflows & Processes

Process > Effort. For example, we are proponents of agile process. Why? Because we’ve tried others, and agile gets the best results in the shortest time. Teams know what to work on. Ultimately, clients learn how to communicate their needs into it to maximize their ROI. And high-quality results come from good process too.

Focus on Business Goals

If you do everything yourself, you have 100% control but also 100% of the work. If you outsource cloud application development, you free up internal resources for things like sales & marketing.

Meeting Deadlines

Presuming the outsource team uses good process (see above!), you have more resources and skills available to keep the trains running on time.

Staying within Budget

Like meeting deadlines, a well-run outsource team can stick to your budget. Internally, you avoid employee overhead costs too.

Scalable Services

Need to add more manpower or reduce your budget? It’s certainly much easier to manage outsourced team size than in-house!

Information Security

An experienced cloud engineering team understands the importance of baking information security into the cake. If the subject isn’t discussed early on, run away! 🙂

Disadvantages of Outsourcing Cloud Application Development

Communication Barriers

Easily the biggest hurdle with outsourcing is communication. It can appear as weak design, missed requirements, or blown deadlines. It’s bi-directional — the vendor must regurgitate requirements, gain approval, build to spec, and report progress regularly.

Different Time Zones

In many cases, outsourcing includes remote teams. Factor it in to planning. We use an outsource design service, for example, which works well — we submit requests by day and get them back in the morning. That sucks if you want a bug fixed in production, so set expectations for delivery.

Code & Documentation Quality

We’ve outsourced to remote teams ourselves, and we know how poor code qualty can be (brittle, untested). And don’t get us started on poor documentation. Make sure you don’t let these items slip.

Confidentiality and Security

Exposing your infrastructure and workloads to anyone outside your office opens you up to potential losses. Protect yourself by minimizing points of risk (e.g., limit access, use VPNs & IP whitelists). Restrict confidential information from anyone outside need-to-know.

Vendor Stability

We often get inquiries about our financial stability. It’s a good (although not necessarily predictive) question to ask. You don’t want to risk important cloud development projects with vendors who are insolvent. Look at track record and ask for references to get a sense of recent success.

Hidden Costs

Your bill may exceed what you budgeted if you aren’t paying attention. Vendors may add resources or charges not previously disclosed or contemplated.

Lack of Focus

Especially with large outsourcing consulting firms, your project may occasionally end up slipping down the priority list. Vendors juggling multiple projects may lose focus on yours.

Different Motivation

Although your incentive may be adding hundreds of new users and increasing recurring revenue each month, your outsource provider may want to run a steady development workflow. Make sure you align your priorities to the outsource development team so they understand your motivation (staying in budget, keeping new users happy, maximizing uptime).

Deciding to Outsource Cloud Application Development

Enabling your organization to fully integrate cloud application development means you may need a third party to handle some elements for you. Companies outsource to save time, allowing their internal teams to focus on other priorities, and to extend their reach into new skills. Outsourcing can also provide cost savings by not having to hire employees if they’re not needed long-term. Outsourcing can be a bit daunting, and it might not be the easiest process. The benefits, however, often outweigh the troubles you’ll go through along the way.

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