Finding great offshore software outsourcing partner for agencies, software shops, and other resellers is one of the toughest challenges we face at SourceSeek.
We refer to any client that will ultimately resell the work to their own clients a ‘reseller’. These clients are usually independent/freelance developers, small web shops, big software companies, or advertising/marketing shops that don’t have their own technical teams.
The reason these types of clients can be so hard to work with is that they bring a lot of pressure and constraints to the relationships. For example, resellers will typically offer very favorable terms to their clients, i.e. fixed-bid contracts with hard deadlines, then want to ‘pass through’ these terms to the offshore team. This forces the offshore software outsourcing team to work within expectations that are not always reasonable, and forces the client to be feeling pressure from being in the middle of the arrangement. Typically this becomes a pressure cooker for both the client and the team, who may not agree or support the scope, budget, or schedule that was promised to the client.
Another issue with reseller clients is inconsistency of work. Many reseller clients are constantly chasing jobs and may not be able to support a full time, ongoing team. This poses a challenge for the outsourced team, as managing resources is one of the biggest challenges in running a software team and intermittent work makes that much harder.
To succeed with this kind of arrangement, we always start by digging deep into the inner workings of the client. How do they manage clients? How do they do estimations? How do they manage QA and release? Once we understand how they work, we can usually find a vendor who understands all of this, and can roll with the challenges of that client.
On the vendor side, we generally counsel teams only to consider this kind of work if they are extremely clear about how these clients function, and are ready for the challenges ahead. Reseller clients can be very lucrative but only for a vendor who knows the ins and outs of the reseller world and won’t get frustrated. We also advise teams to raise their rates a bit and to try and engage the client in a way that will allow them to help with the estimation process and with setting client expectations.
Despite the challenges, we see a lot of offshore software outsourcing success with these types of client. Still, it’s definitely the hardest type of matchmaking we do!
Latest posts by Dave Hecker (see all)
- Empowering Developers: The Software Estimation Hotseat - April 18, 2017
- Impressions from Lviv IT Arena 2016 - October 11, 2016
- Contracts with Russian Teams: Interview with Gene Taschkinov - September 30, 2016