According to Businesswire article, software development outsourcing will grow by 70% in 2023. This is a clear sign for businesses to take advantage of the global talent outreach in the face of the draining talent pools. In today’s article concerning onshore vs offshore outsourcing, we are going to primarily focus on the differences between different modes of custom software development outsourcing. 

Software development outsourcing statistics

While both onshore and offshore outsourcing have their advantages and disadvantages for custom software development projects, choosing the right strategy can be a critical factor in a project's success. In this article, you will learn the difference between onshore and offshore outsourcing to decide which one of the two models suits the needs of your project best. We will also discuss how you can select an experienced software development partner for the successful delivery of your project.

Defining benefits and limitations of onshore outsourcing

Onshore outsourcing, also known as domestic outsourcing, is the practice of contracting with an external company located within the same country or region as your business. In this model of outsourcing, the business leverages external resources to complete tasks or provide services that would normally be done in-house. 

Advantages of onshore outsourcing

The key difference between onshore and offshore outsourcing, in this case, is that the client and the vendor are located in the same area, which allows for improved cooperation and control over the development process. Let us take a closer look at the benefits of domestic outsourcing:

  • Cultural similarity and proximity: Onshore outsourcing offers the benefit of working with professionals who are more familiar with the culture and customs of the local business environment. It allows for better communication and collaboration, as well as a deeper understanding of the business's needs and goals.
  • Improved quality control: It also allows businesses to have better quality control over their operations, as they can oversee the work being done and ensure that it meets their standards and requirements.
  • No language barriers: Domestic outsourcing eliminates language barriers, which can be a significant challenge when working with foreign companies or individuals. That way, you can reduce the risk of misunderstandings or errors.
  • Improved reliability: Working with a vendor located in the same region gives a layer of reliability in terms of business interactions. These are people working in the same business environment as you, so they will be interested in keeping the cooperation as fluent and as positive as possible to maintain their reputation.

Disadvantages of onshore outsourcing

Of course, when comparing onshore vs offshore outsourcing, we have to acknowledge the flaws of the onshoring model too.

  • Higher cost of labor and production: Domestic outsourcing is often more expensive than offshore outsourcing, as the cost of labor and production tends to be higher in developed countries. Higher costs may hinder resource savings that businesses can achieve through outsourcing.
  • Limited talent pool: Such type of outsourcing may limit the availability of specialized talent or expertise, particularly in areas where there is a shortage of skilled workers. You may experience difficulties finding the right professionals to complete their tasks or provide the services they need.
  • Difficulty finding specific expertise: Domestic outsourcing can also make it difficult for businesses to find professionals with specific expertise or experience. You may have to invest more time and resources in finding the right professionals, which can increase the overall cost of outsourcing.

While onshore IT outsourcing offers some benefits, such as proximity and cultural similarity, it can also be more expensive and limit access to specialized talent or expertise. It is important for businesses to carefully evaluate their needs and goals before choosing an outsourcing strategy and to weigh the pros and cons of each option.

pros and cons of onshore outsourcing

Offshore: advantages and risks to be aware of

Offshore outsourcing involves contracting an external company in a foreign country. In many cases, this type of outsourcing means delegating your project to a vendor in a far-off country. In this model of outsourcing, businesses leverage lower labor costs in foreign countries to reduce their overall operational costs.

Advantages of offshore outsourcing

When comparing onshore vs offshore outsourcing, most businesses would recognize the improved cost-saving opportunities offered by the latter. Both models have the same core idea, but they ultimately offer different benefits to your business:

  • Lower cost of labor and production: One of the most significant advantages of this type of outsourcing is the lower cost of labor and production. This allows businesses to reduce their operational costs significantly and improve their bottom line.
  • Access to a larger talent pool: Offshore project delegation offers access to a larger talent pool, particularly in areas with a shortage of skilled workers in the domestic market. 
  • Time zone differences allow for around-the-clock work: Offshore outsourcing can also provide the benefit of round-the-clock work, as companies in different time zones can work on the same project.
  • Scalability with a global workforce: With access to the wider talent pool, it gets easier to scale the project up and add new people to the team. If the scale of your project is hard to determine from the get-go, it is best to consider scalability as one of your top priorities.

Important note: Time zone difference can be a double-edged sword as it may also hinder the communication between your business and the offshore team. While you can set up  round-the-clock project delivery, you will experience difficulties talking to your outsourced team as they’d be working during your resting hours.

Disadvantages of offshore outsourcing

Along with the benefits of far-off outsourcing comes a number of disadvantages and risks that you need to keep in mind. Here are some of the most common problems businesses encounter when working with vendors in far-off countries.

  • Cultural and language barriers: One of the significant disadvantages of this type of outsourcing is the cultural and language barriers that can arise. It can be challenging to communicate effectively and build strong relationships with individuals or companies in foreign countries, which can impact project success.
  • Risk of lower quality work: Offshore task delegation may carry the risk of lower quality work, as different countries may have different standards of quality, and quality control may be more difficult to manage from a distance.
  • Lack of proximity and difficulty in coordinating projects: Offshore teams can also create challenges related to the lack of proximity and difficulty coordinating projects. Communication may be more difficult due to different time zones, and coordination may be more challenging due to the distance between the businesses.

Despite offshore outsourcing offering significant cost savings and access to a broader range of talent, it can also create challenges related to cultural and language barriers, quality control, and coordination. When comparing onshore vs offshore outsourcing, businesses must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both models carefully and consider their unique needs and goals when choosing an outsourcing strategy.

pros and cons of offshore

Choosing the right outsourcing strategy

When choosing the right outsourcing model and comparing onshore vs offshore outsourcing, businesses must consider several factors to determine the best outsourcing strategy for their unique needs and goals. The following are some of the key factors to consider:

  1. Budget and cost considerations: One of the most significant factors to consider is budget and cost considerations. While offshore outsourcing offers cost savings, businesses must also consider the cost of travel, communication, and managing the outsourcing relationship. On the other hand, domestic outsourcing may offer a higher quality of work, but it is often more expensive.
  2. Required expertise and skillset: Businesses must consider the required expertise and skillset. If the business requires specialized skills or expertise unavailable domestically, offshore outsourcing may be the best option. However, if the business requires a higher level of quality control, cultural understanding, and proximity, same-country outsourcing may be the better option.
  3. Importance of communication and cultural fit: Communication and cultural fit are essential factors to consider when choosing between onshore and offshore outsourcing. Businesses must assess the communication channels available, the language proficiency of the outsourcing team, and cultural differences to determine whether far-off outsourcing is a viable option. On the other hand, Domestic outsourcing may offer better communication and cultural fit, leading to better collaboration and project success.
  4. Risk tolerance: Risk tolerance is another crucial factor to consider when choosing between onshore and offshore outsourcing. The latter option may present a higher risk due to the cultural, language, and distance barriers, while onshore outsourcing may be a lower risk but at a higher cost. Businesses must assess their risk tolerance and determine which outsourcing strategy aligns with their risk appetite.

You must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of onshore and offshore outsourcing carefully to determine the best outsourcing strategy for your project. By considering factors such as budget, required expertise, communication, cultural fit, and risk tolerance, businesses can make informed decisions that lead to successful software development partnerships.

The importance of an experienced software development partner for your project

Choosing the right outsourcing company for a software development project is a critical decision that can have a significant impact on the success of the project. Here are some important factors to consider:

  1. Expertise and experience: One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a partner is their level of expertise and experience. Look for the companies that have been on the market for years. For instance, N-iX has been delivering software solutions to its clients for over 20 years.
  2. Communication and flexibility: The outsourcing company should have excellent communication skills and be able to provide regular updates on the project's progress. Look for a company with mature business practices honed by years of experience.
  3. Quality assurance: The outsourcing company should have robust quality assurance practices in place to ensure that the software they develop meets the desired quality standards. N-iX has robust quality assurance practices implementing both manual and automated testing to ensure the quality of its product.
  4. Data security and protection: Data security and protection are crucial when outsourcing software development projects. The outsourcing company should have strict security protocols in place to protect the business's sensitive information and intellectual property.
  5. Cost and budget: Cost and budget considerations are also important. Even if you are a large enterprise with great financial standing, look for a vendor that would treat your budget with respect. 

Final thoughts: what is the right choice for your company?

Onshore and offshore outsourcing are two distinct strategies that businesses can use to cut costs, access specialized skills, and improve efficiency. Onshore outsourcing involves contracting with an external company or individual located within the same country or region, while far-off outsourcing involves contracting with an external company or individual located in a foreign country.

The key differences between onshore and offshore outsourcing are cost, access to talent, language and cultural barriers, quality control, and proximity. That is why you need to weigh all the factors in onshore vs offshore outsourcing and select a strategy that fits your business.

Why Choose N-iX as your software outsourcing partner?

N-iX is a leading software development outsourcing company that provides custom software development services to large enterprises and industry-leading companies. 

  • N-iX has 21 years of experience providing software development services to large enterprises and industry-leading companies like Lebara, Fluke, Siemens, Gogo, and more. 
  • We are a team of over 2,200 professionals with expertise in various technologies, including AI and Machine Learning, Big Data, Cloud, Embedded and IoT, and more. 
  • N-iX has a strong focus on security and compliance such as PCI DSS and PSD2 to protect clients’ sensitive information and intellectual property. 
  • N-iX has consistently achieved high rankings in global outsourcing rankings, including IAOP, as well as CRN and GSA UK lists for multiple consecutive years. Our team has obtained certification for the Hellios Financial Services Qualification System (FSQS).


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