This is a guest blog from Rohit Sharma, global head of the mobility practice at IT services firm Virtusa, giving a list of reasons why businesses should outsource mobility work.
10 Benefits to Outsourcing Mobility Projects
By Rohit Sharma
"1. Mobility strategy - no application is an island
Organisations need a mobility strategy in place to prioritise their use of resources, identify areas of the enterprise that need to be mobilised, provide consistency and branding for mobile applications and to re-use the platform, framework and assets that get built. An outside mobility partner can help accelerate the development of mobility strategy, thereby lowering total cost of ownership (TCO) for such programs down the line.
2. Building the mobility platform
Most organisations start mobility projects by creating a mobile-friendly version of their website. As a result, many lines of businesses, divisions and departments spend their time and resources building things that others in the organisation duplicate rather than re-using. An external vendor or partner has the expertise and experience to identify and build a mobility platform that will define the path of future reference in compliance with the overall mobility strategy.
3. Sharing knowledge, expertise and experience in key critical areas
A mobility partner has existing knowledge from past work with clients about the 'do's and don'ts' of implementing a program; this experience and knowledge can contribute significantly to the success of the program, ensuring that easily avoidable mistakes are not made.
4. Solutions, frameworks and methodologies
An outsourced partner may have solutions, frameworks and methodologies that can be used to accelerate the time it takes to develop a custom application or a mobility solution. Examples of solutions and frameworks in mobility include payment solutions, mobile wallet solutions, voice-based interaction frameworks, and QR/bar code and solutions.
5. Consistency in UX, visual design
In large organisations, many different lines of businesses come up with their own set of UX and visual designs for mobile apps; some of these applications will also end up in public app stores. Each of these may have a different look and feel, and different UI and visual design; causing inconsistency and confusion amongst app users. To solve these issues, an outsourced partner will help to build solutions using consistent UI and UX design guidelines, policies and governance. Back-end services are also re-engineered or a layer built on top of them for mobile enablement. Different departments often have no visibility on what others in the organisation are working on or have already built, resulting in duplication of effort and fragmentation of the service layer. A partner will help organise and consolidate services into a single unified web service gateway and manage the backend APIs by using API management tools.
6. Mobility governance
Mobility governance assures you have sound policies; including UX and visual design, architecture, BYOD policy, application distribution and management. Also, complying with all the desired diverse features and functions of such applications (like an enterprise app store) is very difficult for an in-house team who may not have the resources or expertise required. Outsourcing this function to a third party ensures that a thorough audit will be performed to make sure there is policy compliance.
7. Quality management, customer satisfaction, and production support of mobile apps
It makes sense to have an external team outside of design and development to test the application to ensure its quality; particularly if the application was built in-house. In fact, many successful mobile applications have been built by firms that outsourced development and quality management. In this case, competition drives efficiency.
8. Optimum utilisation of resources
Utilising all the mobility resources in-house is an issue as they may be over-stretched, and not have the time or resources to meet all the desired objectives. Outsourcing to an external partner eliminates the challenge of having a lack of qualified resources and reduced the burden on the in-house team.
9. Pooled knowledge and collaborative problem solving
External firms may have key partnerships with vendors and solution providers. This combined knowledge and collaboration will accelerate development of your mobility programs and projects while avoiding critical mistakes that are more easily made when 'going it alone'.
Lastly, the cost factor demonstrates why outsourcing may be a good option. Mobility resources are not cheap. If they are over-utilised, the organisation runs the risk of attrition or decline of productivity. If you hire more people to satisfy current demands and requirements, those resources may then be under-utilised further down the road. It can be more effective then, to have a small, skilled core set of people in-house while outsourcing extra projects or the major portion of the work to a trusted partner."