Outsourcing has been around since businesses discovered they could task other business to do those things that they did not have the skills or cost-effectiveness to do. Software development has been one of the biggest outsourced functions because many businesses do not see the advantages of hiring in-house programmers to create software.
Offshore outsourcing was in vogue some years past when outsourcing to Asia and Eastern Europe was very cheap. However, businesses have also discovered they can get the same benefits outsourcing in their home country (onshore), or neighboring countries (nearshore). But there are some differences among these outsourcing models that you should be aware of when considering it.
This is tasking a company in the same city, area or country to do a job. The advantage of onshore outsourcing lies nearby, which makes it easy to have a face-to-face meeting. Your interests and rights are also protected better because the company will be bound by the same contract laws. The disadvantage lies in higher costs compared to other nearshore or offshore outsourcing. The contracting company will be bound by the same bureaucracy, legal issues and taxation that you are facing, which means their cost of doing business invalidates the cost-effectiveness you seek.
This was the traditional model of outsourcing, where businesses in the US and Europe sought the cheapest offshore development center they could get, usually in Asian countries like India, the Philippines, and Bangladesh. While this afforded them cost benefits, there were disadvantages in time differences, communication barriers, and more often than not lack of legal recourse when contracts went bad. It is not easy to hop onto a plane too India to go iron out a few issues in the contract when the ticket wipes out the few thousand dollars you wanted to save.
This is outsourcing to a company in a neighbouring country. This model started in Europe, where businesses saw advantages in outsourcing to eastern European contractors because they were higher-skilled, had similar corporate culture and offered almost the same cost benefits as Asian contractors. US businesses are doing nearshore outsourcing to contractors in Latin American countries like Colombia.
Nearshore outsourcing offers the double advantages of proximity and cost-effectiveness. Software development companies in Latin America, for example, often have team members who have trained and worked in the US. They can offer affordable services because the cost of doing business in their countries is lower than the US.
When outsourcing, you should consider a balance in cost-effectiveness, quality of work, and proximity which delivers the right results. Nearshore is the perfect compromise model of outsourcing.