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5 Things Startups Should Consider Before Outsourcing Software Development

5 Things Startups Should Consider Before Outsourcing Software Development

It is not unheard of for startups to outsource some parts of their software development. There is a host of reasons why most startups resort to outsourcing rather than hiring an in-house software developer. The reasons could range from cost, the need for different expertise, a lack of time to develop the software alone, to the need to put the task in more experienced hands.

For whatever reason, there are key factors a startup should consider before taking the plunge into outsourcing software development. Below is a rundown of some of those key considerations startups should consider.

1. Nature of the Software

Before you outsource your software development to another company, it is important to understand if it is your key competency/competencies. (“Key competency” means are important qualities deemed by the company that an employee should possess.) The rule of thumb is that you do not outsource your key competency/competencies whatever the circumstances.

Entrusting your startup’s ‘secret sauce’ to a third party is similar to relinquishing control of your company.

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If the software is not at the core of your business, you may proceed to hire an independent software developer.

In the same vein, is the software operational or creative? Good practice is only to outsource operational products such as reservation systems or process automation— systems which may be large but mundane. For creative products like chip design programs, consumer games, or architectural renderings, do them in-house.

Also, is it a software product or a software service?

Software developers will agree that once a software product is written, it usually doesn’t need lots of effort and skill to deliver it to clients.

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Not so with software service. Software service is often customized for a specific need. Therefore, outsourcing service software almost always never works and needs to be managed carefully.

2. Technology Standard

Whether to outsource or not is also predicated on the technology standard of the software. If you intend for the technology to feature the most up-to-date technologies; to be scalable to handle many millions of users, and to feature multi-system failover and recovery, then you need to do it in-house. Don’t outsource. However, if it is simple software, opt for the lowest cost solution which is outsourcing.

3. Cost

Cost is among the most crucial considerations when it comes to getting any service or product. Outsourcing may provide you a cheaper cost depending on what you want accomplished.

When considering outsourcing, always think about the costs in the short run versus the long run.  Usually, outsourcing tends to provide better costs in the short run, but may not in the long run.

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You should also be able to identify what the other indirect costs are to see if outsourcing is the best option.

4. Intellectual Property Considerations

As you prepare to entrust your software development to a different independent company, it is important to understand that some legal jurisdictions have little, if any, respect for software as intellectual property. For instance, you may be aware that approximately 90 percent of software used in Vietnam and China is pirated.

Fortify your intellectual property against any theft and misuse by coming up with contracts and non-disclosure agreements.

 5. Ability to Get the Skills When They Are Needed

Most businesses need the input of a diverse range of resources and skills which you might not be able to acquire full time.

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For example, you might not be able to afford software architects, designers, and testers as full-time employees. The beauty with outsourcing is that it will permit you to access the resources when and as you need them.

Conclusion

If you have a typical startup and you agree with your co-founders to work on the first product without pay, that’s fine. Software outsourcing in such a case may not be appropriate.

However, if your firm is not software oriented and you need some software-related work to be done, you can consider outsourcing rather than hiring a team of software developers.

It’s for you to decide!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

1. ScheduleOnce

    ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

    ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

    ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

    Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

    Available on Web

    2. Calendly

      Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

      You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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      Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

      3. Assistant.to

        For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

        From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

        While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

        Available on Web

        4. Acuityscheduling

          Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

          It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

          Available on Web | iOS | Android

          5. Pick

            Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

            At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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            Available on Web

            6. X.ai

              For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

              This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

              Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

              Available on Web

              7. YouCanBook.me

                is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                Available on Web

                8. Doodle

                  Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                  It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                  You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                  While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                  Available on Web | iOS | Android

                  9. WhenAvailable

                    WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                    Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                    Available on Web

                    10. Rally

                      Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                      Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                      Available on Web

                      11. NeedtoMeet

                        Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                        NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                        While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                        Available on Web

                        Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                        In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                        To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                        Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                        A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                        Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                        If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                        Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                        With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                        The Bottom Line

                        Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                        Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                        Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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