John Howell

Travel Solutions Director

John Howell has been part of the Headforwards team for three years. John is an accomplished Senior Executive with over 18 years of management, strategy, product innovation delivery and operational experience in IT e-commerce with a particular focus on the travel sector. He has worked extensively with boards, supporting delivery of growth in both revenues and turnover as well as supporting with commercial and accounting processes.

Building partnerships: why you should consider outsourced software development

Outsourced software development is a growth industry that’s making its mark all round the world – and it’s easy to see why.

For businesses that need custom software but don’t necessarily have the resources or knowhow to handle it all in-house, outsourcing solves all those problems in one fell swoop. If you’re looking for a way to get a major project off the ground quickly and effectively, it might be time to consider bringing in a third-party expert.

We’ve already talked about some of the major benefits of outsourcing software development, so let’s talk about how organisations can make sure they’re getting those benefits.

There are a lot of considerations that need to go into choosing how you outsource software development – and who you outsource it to. Are you looking for a short-term boost for a specific project, or a long-term collaborative partnership? Is it best to choose a company that’s farshore, nearshore, or offshore

Making the right decisions here is crucial. If you don’t work with the right partner, you can risk getting stuck in an expensive contract that isn’t fulfilling your needs. So what’s the secret to ensuring your outsourcing partnership is well-suited to your organisation – now and in the future?

Fresh ideas come from fresh approaches

Sometimes thinking outside of the box requires a different box entirely. Transformational projects will always benefit from new ideas – from involving other lines of business to consulting with end users. That extends to an outsource company, too.

It stands to reason that organisations would want an outsourcing company that has specific experience in their vertical – whether that’s manufacturing, healthcare, government, telecoms, or anything else. But a breadth of experience is also vital for bringing fresh perspectives to the table.

There’s always something to learn from another industry, especially in software development, where tech breakthroughs are widely applicable. The right outsourcing partner can offer that balance of niche expertise and wide-ranging experience that ensures you’re seeing the best and brightest in development techniques from a multidisciplinary team.

And that’s not just for major digital transformation projects – introducing improvements and highlighting streamlining opportunities for your foundational software is just as important as creating whole new applications.

Building momentum into slow-moving sectors

Large, heavily regulated organisations often struggle with effective software development. Particularly for public bodies like the NHS or local authorities, where budgets are tight and digital transformation strategies are up against decades of legacy debt, outsourcing can both relieve a technical burden and ensure goals like the NHS Long Term Plan are met.

In government and healthcare alike, citizens are increasingly interested in using digital services – and employees are looking for the same slick working experiences that the business community is embracing. That translates into significant software demands, ideal for outsourcing.

There’s also a huge knowledge aspect to digital transformation in these sectors: as organisations like the NHS and local governments shift their data focus and pay closer attention to understanding the needs of the people they serve, they can ensure that they’re delivering meaningful support and building the software to enable it. This business intelligence approach is long-established in the business community – and by outsourcing, public services can draw on that experience to revolutionise their projects.

Continuity of code

Some outsourcing companies work on an ‘on the bench’ model for allocating resources. In short, when you need support you’ll get whoever happens to be available at the time – and that can translate into a project team that doesn’t know you, your industry, or your challenges. When you start from scratch every time, you can lose out on some of the time- and cost-saving benefits of outsourcing as you bring new people up to speed with your requirements.

What you need is a reliable, consistent team that really understands the individual quirks of the environment you’re working in, so your outsourced developers can just get to work without having to follow an onboarding process each time. (And when new developers do join the team, there’s already a wealth of knowledge about your organisation available to back them up.)

It’s crucial for ensuring code quality stays high across all your projects, regulations and security requirements are followed, and risk is mitigated.

Keeping up with the industry

Software moves incredibly quickly. This year’s ground-breaking innovations can just as easily turn into next year’s legacies – and that can make it difficult to adjust your organisation’s approach to software development fast enough to keep up.

It’s rare to be able to hire extra talent every time a new technology or approach crops up, especially in sectors where budgets are tight, and training takes time that many IT teams simply don’t have.

This is where outsourcing really comes into its own. Whether you want to dig into business intelligence, or experiment with everything from basic automation to the latest and most complex artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, the right outsourcing company will give you access to the resources and expertise needed to take advantage of new technologies.

There’s a growing collaborative aspect to outsourcing, too. As low-code and no-code approaches gain popularity in software development, there’s more scope than ever for stakeholders to get involved in the process. With more ‘citizen developers’ now within organisations, outsourcing is the ideal opportunity to offload heavy-duty development responsibilities and free up internal resources for agile innovation.

The right partnership lasts beyond the lifecycle

Good outsourcing is about so much more than launching a new piece of software. It’s about creating solutions and services that offer tangible, long-term value to your organisation and the people it serves, whether they’re customers, citizens or end-users.

If you’re interested in discussing what outsourcing could do for you – whether you’re looking to kick off a short-term project or a long-term development partnership – we’d love to hear from you.

At Headforwards, we’ve been working with clients across public bodies (including local government), financial services, telecoms, e-commerce, travel, and more, to build software solutions that bring simplicity and efficiency to their infrastructure and everyday tasks.

We work with everyone from long-established businesses to brand-new startups – whoever can benefit from that boost of bringing in software experts. Every stage of the process, from ideation, to rolling out an MVP, to iterative improvement, is underpinned by our flexible approach to designing and building software.

That means we’re no stranger to individual projects or long-term partnerships, offering a versatile, client-led approach from our base at the heart of one of the UK’s fastest-growing technology hubs.

Just visit our contact page for all the details, and let’s talk about building software that creates real value for your organisation.

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