Evaluating Magento Development Teams by Location
Today, decentralization is the name of the game. While organizations can manage their full range of responsibilities and tasks, the real question is whether it makes business sense to do so. Outsourcing via dedicated partners and cloud services is often a rewarding solution.
It’s likely the reason you’re evaluating Magento partners to begin with, as building and managing an eCommerce site with Adobe’s platform requires a full team providing a wealth of dedicated experience—and most organizations don’t staff these personnel.
The same holds for your prospective Magento partners, as nearly all rely on hybrid or fully off-shore development teams. The challenge is finding a partner that communicates responsively and facilitates quality builds with the utmost integrity.
Domestic vs. Off-Shore Partners
Most organizations consider location when evaluating their outsourcing partners. This is primarily a fear-driven concern, which boils down to communication worries—both language and availability (i.e., time zones and standard hours of operation).
While these two evaluation criteria are essential, prioritizing them while ignoring others can still result in substantial challenges.
While domestic Magento partners may be considered ideal at first glance, this often isn’t the case. Generally, partnering with an exclusively domestic team will result in higher costs and slower turnaround times. Further, there are very few wholly domestic Magento partners, so options quickly become limited.
The higher costs are readily attributable to the labor expenses that a US-based partner would have to account for. For example, outsourcing development to Eastern Europe can drastically reduce labor costs to less than a third of what they would cost in the US ($100/hr); outsourcing to Asia averages roughly a quarter of the expense.
But why slower turnaround times?.
Less Bandwidth with Domestic Teams
Due in part to the labor costs, exclusively US-based teams are often smaller and, resultantly, have less project bandwidth. The complexity of a Magento build requires significant team dedication to stay on-deadline. Domestic partners are typically make compromises on (at least) one of the following:
The first two compromises would affect the speed of work, level of execution, and ability to pivot during the project. The last may result in long wait times for starting a new project, slow phases, or delayed support once a build has been completed.
Limiting your search to exclusively domestic partners also automatically shuts out the majority of quality organizations.
Off-shore outsourcing is not a new talent pool, especially within IT. However, off-shore capabilities have rapidly progressed.
In part, this can be viewed as a natural result of outsourcing; the continual growth of outsourcing results in less first-hand experience among domestic developers, and US teams have, instead, grown more experienced with project management.
Whereas “brain drain” constitutes top talent departing one country for another’s higher quality of living, the situation with IT development outsourcing more accurately reflects an evaporation of domestic opportunity and the resultant lack of direct experience amongst the US workforce. However, data and sentiment demonstrate that off-shore, outsourced development delivers quality results.
For example, survey results report that 80% of American and European companies rank India as the top outsourcing destination, and 50% of the businesses comprising the Fortune 500 prioritize Indian developers when outsourcing IT tasks. Similarly, Baltic and Eastern European nations have prioritized STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education programs and IT sector growth.
However, even with quality development work, compatible hours of operation are difficult to find with off-shore partners. So, what’s the optimal solution?.
Hybrid Teams, The Future of Dev
To reap the benefits provided by both domestic and off-shore development teams, you need to identify a hybrid partner. Hybrid development teams will operate out of a US location, overseeing project management and outsourcing some development.
A hybrid partner’s US presence helps ensure compatible availability and eliminates a potential language barrier, so communication concerns are minimized.
Further, your partner provides the project management that US firms are now more experienced with and the lower labor costs and expansive team bandwidth achieved by off-shore platforms. Any outsourced development work is coordinated by your partner and undergoes domestic quality control before delivery.
With hybrid development teams, everyone wins—your organization, most of all.
Partner Evaluation—Lower Bids Don’t Always Equate to Quality
Regardless of where your potential partners are located, one of the most important factors to keep in mind during the evaluation process is that the lowest bid doesn’t always mean quality results—even when a project’s scope of work is identical across all options.
This is especially true if the lowest bid is considerably lower than the others.
At DotcomWeavers, we’ve stepped into numerous Magento and eCommerce projects as a consultative expert. The optics this role affords us have demonstrated this lowest bid scenario time and again, where:
Many organizations choose the lower bid simply for cost savings. When the project’s scope of work and the estimation of assigned resources seem identical, proceeding with the lower cost option appears to, at a surface level, make more sense.
However, Partner B often costs more than double its original estimate by the project’s conclusion, which also tends to occur well beyond the original deadline.
How to Approach Bid Disparity
If your potential partners’ bids seem too far apart, start by evaluating their portfolio of projects and site improvement metrics. These examples of past work and statistics should be available on potential partners’ websites. If they aren’t, don’t hesitate to request them.
For any bid that comes in well below expectations, you could even consider reaching out to the companies shown to have worked with that potential provider and see if they respond with thoughts on their project experiences.
Additionally, is the potential partner an Adobe Solution Partner or “Specialized” in their segment of the Adobe suite? Potential partners that have achieved these distinctions should be the baseline for your evaluations.
Achieve the Best Results with DotcomWeavers
For 14 years, DotcomWeavers has delivered best-in-class design, development, and delivery amongst Magento eCommerce projects.
Our primary location in Morristown, NJ provides us with a domestic office from which to lead and execute your project, with some aspects of the development performed by our off-shore partner in India. We handle the communication and coordination; you receive the top-quality Magento services you’ve dreamed of at an affordable cost with accurate delivery schedules.
To speak with an Adobe Silver Partner that has achieved a “Specialized” distinction in Commerce, reach out to us today!