Mobile App Development: Should I Go Onshore Or Offshore?

Outsource work

With more than 3.1 million Android & iOS applications available in both Google Play and Apple App Store, one cannot question the popularity and utility of mobile apps in this era. In fact, our lives revolve around smartphone apps. Let me put this through with a few examples.

When we feel like chatting with a friend, what we usually do, is pick up our cell phones and ping them straight away using WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, or any other messaging app.

If you want to see your one-month-old baby and beautiful wife while on an official trip, it’s simple, pick up your phone, and have a video call with them via Skype, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and other available applications.

If you want to book a cab, you simply take out your phone and book the nearest available one. These examples show that we can’t think of our lives without mobile applications.

Understanding the current need, there are a lot of potential mobile app developers who have stepped into this market to launch their mobile app ideas. While the number of applications available is large, it is important that you serve something really good in front of the users to nail it.

Once you have made up your mind about the concept of your smartphone application, the next step is to determine whether to create the app locally or find an offshore mobile app developer. The decision seems to be complicated, as there are a number of factors associated with it.

You need to analyze your project in detail and then take the final call. When deciding between onshore or offshore app development solutions, it is critical to define what you need in terms of both product and project. Let us understand some of those few important factors which can help you take that important decision.

1. Complexity of the project:

You can always break your project in terms of complexity, low, medium, and high. High-complexity projects are likely to be kept local. A complex project requires proper planning and execution, which is only possible with in-person meetings and communication. It is less hard to communicate a complex or a new idea to someone in the same room than to the people on the phone or on email in another country.

But if I talk about fewer complex projects, you can always opt for an offshore app developer, as it would be much easier to make him understand your requirements without the need to communicate frequently.

2. Different Time Zone

One of the most important issues that you may face in the case of an offshore project is the difference in time zone. If you have opted for an app developer whose time zone is different from yours, you are probably going to face a lot of issues in communicating with each other. There will always be a time lag between any query raised by you and being answered by your app developer.

World map with time zones
World map with time zones

While with an onshore developer, you are likely not to face such issues, as he/she will be available in the same time zone as you are and hence, the communication becomes quite feasible.

3. Mobile App Cost

Every individual wishes to reap the maximum benefit at the minimum possible cost. As you know, mobile app cost is one of the root causes of outsourcing any mobile app project. Since labor is cheaper in Asian countries, as compared to western countries, most companies, whether big or small, prefer to outsource their work these days.

Apps development cost
Mobile application development cost

Other than cost, outsourcing a project can help you to get multi-fold benefits. People in Asian countries are more dedicated to the work they do and prioritize it before anything else.

While low cost at the beginning may attract you, it is important to ensure that there are no hidden costs involved with outsourcing.

Cutting costs is important, but not by giving up on the value. Most of IT companies these days are cutting their costs by compromising with their value. So you must make sure the app developer you are hiring is not weakening the value of the project.

4. Quality Control

One may seem to be ignorant about the quality at the beginning, but once you start driving toward the end of the project, quality becomes the most important factor.

It is vital to make sure that your smartphone app works in the same way you want it. In the case of an onshore project, you can always ask your developer to test the application before launching it and rely on the test results, as you may be aware of the testing processes.

However, in the case of offshore app development, you are not fully aware of the testing processes, so you may not be able to trust the results. Hence, make sure that your offshore developer has understood your requirements aptly and is designing the product, keeping that in mind.

5. Innovative Ideas

A considerable advantage of offshoring an application project is innovation. As people residing in different countries have different sets of minds, they can come up with something new and different.

If you are seeking something out of the box, then outsourcing your project to developers outside your country is the best solution. Innovation can work as a success mantra for you, as people these days often get bored by using the same type of applications.

6. Duration of the project

If you are very strict with your deadlines or timelines and want to launch your application quickly in the market, then I would recommend you to keep your project local. An offshore project is likely to take more time than a local project. Setting up the expectations and receiving the output in time is much easier in local projects as communication is faster and simpler.

While in the case of offshore projects, sometimes it becomes impossible to cut off the legs in communications and responses.

7. Language barrier

This is one of those issues which you are definitely going to face if you go for an offshore app developer. This could prove to be harmful to you, as there is a high probability of miscommunication in such cases. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the person at the other end has understood things in the same manner as you wanted to interpret them.


Image source: YouTube

Language barriers are an obvious obstacle, but you should also be aware of potential cultural barriers as well. Communication blockades and cultural differences when dealing with an overseas developer can increase your chance of ending up with a poorly designed app.

On the other hand, language can never act as a barrier in the case of onshore projects. In fact, it will prove to be an added advantage, as you will be able to interact frequently and effectively.

One helpful tip, which can save you from this blast is to keep it documented or communicate through emails, while I understand that written communication may take some time and the person at the receiver’s end may take time to respond, eventually, you will be sure that whatever you have communicated will be executed.

Bottom Line:

In the end, I would like to reiterate that both options have their pros and cons. While onshore developers are much more reliable, and ensure quality and timeliness. Offshore projects come at a reasonable cost and innovation. The decision simply depends on the features and requirements of your project.

Image source: Bigstock

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