If you’ve developed an in-house solution that might be useful to others in your industry, it’s definitely a revenue stream worth pursuing, but these kinds of systems are often very utilitarian and may not appeal to the average user when putting it out there in its original state.
To really maximize your software as an external offering, you need to make it accessible and easy to use, while considering the needs of a broader range of users outside your own organization. You’ll also have to address security issues that your software could create if integrated with other systems, and think about how to create buzz when marketing your product.
The tasks involved in developing software for commercial sales are diverse. Unfortunately, too many companies find that they simply lack the time and internal resources to develop them into polished and finished products, even though it’s nearly guaranteed that other companies would benefit from them.
Taking the Solution to Market
As seen in the chart below, the process of releasing an in-house solution to the external market must be undertaken with many aspects of the traditional software development life cycle in mind, but it must also be supported and driven by the new possibilities of IoT, mobility, analytics, and social media.
Nearshoring can be an ideal solution to this conundrum, because, along with some specific conveniences, it provides sophisticated development options well beyond what you might expect.
In one recent case, we helped a client in the healthcare industry develop a program that allows patients to see all of the quality ratings for physicians in their area, and then produce quotes for the cost of medical care. This software will soon be marketed nationwide. The revenue it will bring to our client will help drive an ongoing cycle of innovation that will benefit both the company and the industry as a whole. Yet, it might not have happened if they hadn’t sought an outside partner to expedite development.
The Nearshore Advantage
Nearshoring offers distinct advantages for a project such as this, because nearshore markets boast large numbers of highly trained innovators, and, believe it or not, you can expect as much as a 40% reduction in hiring costs over an onshore team.
Nearshoring also mitigates the complications you might have heard about when it comes to relying on more geographically distant teams. Teams in Latin America are culturally similar to those in the United States, which reduces misunderstandings based on cultural differences, such as how one is supposed to relate to authority, or when it’s acceptable to offer criticism.
Nearshore locations also reduce the communication difficulties caused by far-flung time zones, which create needless silos that derail agile development cycles. In short, nearshore teams are much more closely aligned to your existing onshore agile culture. You’ll also find them well-qualified and a pleasure to work with.
That said, there are some specific considerations to keep in mind throughout your project. You’ll definitely want to determine whether the team you partner with has the related skillsets, so let’s discuss some of them here.
One of the first questions you should ask anyone you’re partnering with for agile software development is how they build and optimize their teams. All the talent in the world won’t matter if your agile team doesn’t mesh. A well-chosen team will hit the ground running, sort out roles and workflows, and reach optimum efficiency much more quickly than other teams might do.
Mobile and Wearable Technology
As an increasing number of tech users are mobile-first, a beautifully designed, multi-platform app is a necessity at this point. A team that’s well-versed in mobile can also challenge you to consider new uses for your software in the field, making it a more valuable asset.
Internet of Things
If you’re not considering Internet of Things (IoT) and how it will affect your business going forward, it’s time to start. IoT has created an unprecedented opportunity for data collection, and can be used to expedite tasks like inventory tracking. Think about how the advantages of IoT be integrated into your software.
User Engagement and User Experience
Your finished product should have beautiful and scalable architecture. It should also be a pleasure to use, intuitive in design. You want new customers to approach your product feeling confident that it can meet their needs.
If you’re looking to offer a subscription-based or high-mobility product, you need someone who’s accustomed to the specific needs of cloud-based services such as Amazon. The right team can ensure that your software will scale well within the constraints of that specific service, and that it will couple smoothly with other applications as needed.
Business Intelligence (BI)
If you developed your software with an eye of looking at operations from 50,000 feet, look for experts in business intelligence who can ensure that your product is adapted to provide the same level of intel to other organizations, and possibly even expand its scope.
While this may sound like something that only matters during retreats, gamification should be an everyday consideration. Integrating an element of gameplay into your software can be as simple as adding a function that allows workers to post their accomplishments socially, fostering healthy competition. Make sure your agile team has more than a passing familiarity with this increasingly important focus.
Ultimately, agile teams aren’t just about talent; they’re about knowing how to use it. While many companies are addressing these factors, it’s sometimes done in a piecemeal fashion. Find out if your team is truly empowered to address these unique challenges so that you don’t end up with a finished product that’s behind at the starting line.
If you’re using software that you developed out of necessity, every organization in your market niche needs it too. There’s no point in letting a good idea languish when it could be producing revenue for you, instead. If you’re trying to get a software productization project off the ground, nearshoring is a powerful and cost-effective way to make it happen.