4 assessment questions to evaluate nearshoring software vendors

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Business
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During the constant race to deliver quality software, many organizations are facing the challenges of talent shortage, product release deadlines and the pressure to optimize costs. These organizations find themselves looking towards faster, more cost-efficient methods such as nearshoring.

What’s nearshoring, you ask? It’s the practice of outsourcing your software development to another company that is geographically and culturally close to yours - let’s say 5 hours flight away, tops.

And we know outsourcing can sound like a dirty word, but in many cases nearshoring can be the only option that allows you to meet your business objectives. If you do it right.

In this article, we’d like to give you an overview of key vendor selection criteria to help you find the right nearshoring partner. What should you ask your potential vendor before you decide to hire their development services? Here’s where to start.

evaluating nearshoring vendors

This article is an excerpt from our C-Level Guide to Software Development Nearshoring. Click the link to get the free full version.

1. Do they have relevant experience?

First and foremost, find a provider that has a proven track record of delivering projects in the same technology as your project requires. Make a list of three most important technologies for your project and ask about their experience in them. Beware of vendors saying that they have experience in almost every available technology and programming language. The best nearshoring providers specialize in just a few selected technologies.

In terms of relevant experience, ask this about your vendor:

  • Do they have previous experience working for companies from your home country?

  • Do they have experience within your specific field?

  • Have they worked for companies from your industry?

If the answer is ‘yes’, you will know that they understand the challenges that your industry faces.

Another important thing is the vendor’s experience in projects of similar size. You don’t want your project to be their biggest or the smallest. What you want is a vendor that can both take your project seriously and handle its scale effectively.

2. How are their current client relationships?

Having previous satisfied clients says a lot. Consider references as a mandatory step of evaluation and don’t be afraid to ask for them.

Ask the vendor to give you some names of their past and current clients. An honest vendor shouldn't have a problem with providing that kind of list. There are also a few 3rd party services that specialize in collecting and verifying customer references, such as Clutch.co. It is strongly advised to actually call some of the vendor’s clients. Sometimes a quick 10-minute call could give you a pretty good sense of their opinion, and save you hours of desk research.

Ask the vendor about the average timespan of a client relationship and if their clients come back to work with them again. It is important to know if the vendor is able to build long-term relationships. Being a trusted vendor means being able to serve clients for a long time.

3. What level of transparency can you expect from them?

Trust and communication are crucial factors for every nearshoring project to succeed. It is important that the selected vendor demonstrates a win-win mentality and works side by side with your in-house team, sharing their goals and vision. Ask for full transparency of the project, including the work schedule and the details of which developer is assigned to create which features.

(A useful tool you can use to ensure clarity and transparency is the burndown chart, for example.)

As a client you should be provided with live access to the Scrum board and the vendor’s time tracking application so you can supervise the whole team and the project. Moreover, an informed buyer should require the vendor to clearly and openly communicate any issues encountered in the cooperation process.

On the other hand, however, it is just as crucial that you, the buyer, communicate your objectives clearly so that no time is wasted on unnecessary or poorly defined features.

4. How quickly can they scale their teams?

The ability to scale in today’s highly competitive business environment can mean the difference between hitting your deadline and missing it. Make sure that your vendor has invested in proven methodologies and strategies to be able to quickly react to your needs. Select a vendor that will allow you to quickly scale your team up or down in order to meet your requirements. Ask about team scaling and how fast the vendor is able to set up additional teams.

The secret to cost-effective nearshoring

Preparing for nearshoring is a challenging but worthwhile undertaking. The more you think about your requirements now, the less frustration you’ll have to endure in the future.

Choosing the wrong software vendor is a bit like choosing the wrong spouse. You might be able to endure it, sure. But there are other options out there where you can just ‘click’ and start working together in the most natural way.

To ensure you make the best possible decision, be sure to check out our comprehensive C-Level Guide to Software Development Nearshoring. We’ve packed it with all the knowledge you need to start nearshoring with confidence, from nearshoring pros/cons through vendor requirements to contract details. Click the link to learn more or download it straight from the form below:

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Discover the secret to effortless and cost-effective nearshoring

Of course, there are issues relevant to your specific situation and industry that are outside the scope of this article. If you have more questions and concerns, we’d be happy to help! Here’s where you can contact us.

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STX Next

Python Powerhouse

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