How outsourcing microservices helps to scale tech products

Let’s run through an example scenario. Say a company has their first MVP on the market. It is well-received by the market and brings clients and investors on-board. The product is well-designed and it works, but it has room for improvement. The product has great potential, but V2 needs to be more polished and further development is needed to scale it up. Since the live product may already have a considerable user base, any changes implemented into the system should be done seamlessly and without downtime. The new architecture should be designed in such a way that allows the addition of new functionalities and leaves room for further development.

That’s where microservices come in

Microservice-based architecture brings a lot to the table when it comes to application scalability. It’s highly versatile and flexible, which makes it perfect for developing products that require quick changes and new functionalities on the fly. It also gives the freedom to develop particular services and deploy them independently from each other and without changing the entire system. This means that different parts of the code can be developed using different technologies. That type of design approach results in a system that is more resilient to failures – if one unit goes down, it doesn’t take the entire system along with it.

Since microservices are highly scalable and extremally fault-tolerant, they naturally increase business agility. They allow an organization to focus more on business needs and product development rather than projects, as they can be thought of as a depiction of business functionalities. This type of approach is crucial when it comes to future-proofing a product. In today’s world, business needs – both technological needs and market demands – can change drastically very quickly. It is important to invest in an architecture that can meet these demands. Microservices are a viable solution that allow businesses to easily reshape parts of a system as needed.

Scaling up an existing system, especially moving it to V2, may be a challenge. Choosing the right architecture for the job is of key importance. For many companies, microservices check all the right boxes when it comes to system scaling. This should not be a surprise, since they allow for easy and rapid scalability thanks to unit-based autonomy and make development fast and hassle-free thanks to technology independence.

To outsource or not to outsource?

Since microservice-based architecture can be developed by independent teams working on different functionalities, it’s a perfect solution for outsourcing in its nature. Outsourcing this kind of development comes with many benefits. For many companies lowering project costs is one of the major things that makes them consider this kind of approach. Cutting expenses through working with an eternal vendor comes in many forms. It’s not only staff costs. So finding a more affordable workforce, often from outside of the local talent pool, is something worth considering when talking to different vendors. Granted, cheaper should not mean poor quality. But many companies can deliver high-quality performance at a considerably lower price. This is thanks to high specialization and related to it process optimization leading to lower costs and higher efficiency. By using an outsourcing-based model you don’t have to invest in other assets, like additional office space, hardware and so on, making costs even more optimized. 

Since microservice-based architecture can be developed by independent teams working on different functionalities, the ability to outsource it is in its nature. Outsourcing this kind of development comes with many benefits. For many companies, lowering project costs is one of the major factors that makes outsourcing appealing. Cutting expenses by working with an eternal vendor comes in many forms; it’s not only staff costs.  Using an outsourced team also reduces costs associated with assets such as additional office space and hardware. Finding a more affordable workforce outside the local talent pool is something worth considering when talking to different vendors. Granted, less expensive should not mean poor quality. Many offshore companies can deliver high-quality performance at prices considerably lower than local prices thanks to high specialization and resulting process optimization.

Outsourcing can provide more value than just cost-cutting.  Project efficiency should not be sacrificed for low cost; a good partner should bring efficiency to the table along with a reasonable price. Outsourcing microservice architecture development improves in-house team performance; the in-house team is able to focus on key tasks, and non-core activities do not get in the way. When outsourcing, a company works with an experienced partner who understands the business needs and has a team who has implemented similar solutions dozens of times (often with multiple case studies to draw from). Development will likely be faster and more agile, since the company does not have to go through trial and error guesswork and reinvent the wheel. Outsourcing part (or all of) the work to an external vendor that can provide high-quality specialists with extensive experience in their respective fields is an easy way to bring additional knowledge to a company.

There are times when finding the right specialists in the local or even regional pool of talent is a hassle. Lack of specialists in a certain area or high market rates may be limiting factors when it comes to company development and product scaling. If that is the case, working with a partner who can provide a source of highly qualified talent is a good path forward. Many companies have offshored their microservice development with considerable success. Some of those success stories can be read here. However, the bottom line is that sourcing developers from a global talent pool and not being limited to the local job market gives companies the cutting edge for product scaling. 

In today’s fast-moving world, having a flexible business model that can overcome market fluctuations is one of the main indicators of a company’s potential scalability. The ability to freely add or reduce resources when needed is a highly desirable feature of any company, and it is one reason why outsourcing has become a highly popular form of organizational development in recent years. Being able to reduce or scale-up a development team depending on project peaks enables a company to rapidly react to emerging demands.

…but there’s always a downside

Sure, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Bringing on board an unreliable partner might cause more harm than good. That is why it is extremely important to do a background check before beginning a partnership; here is a step by step guide on how to do that the right way. Remember also that in addition to receiving knowledge from an external vendor, knowledge will (sometimes) need to be shared as well.  A well designed NDA comes in handy to protect both parties’ best interests. 

Keep in mind that outsourcing microservice architecture may result in less company control over the project, in particular over some functionalities and parts of the product. To minimize this risk, ensure that proper product management is in place. Technical documentation should be written and delivered so that the in-house team can take over if needed. Building up a microservice-based architecture may get complex and somewhat overwhelming at times. Choose a partner with significant experience in the area and a proven track record who has been on the market for a while.

To sum it all up

There is no one golden key that opens all locks and there is no one solution perfect for every scenario. What makes the most sense for a company in terms of product scaling is subjective and unique to every situation. That being said, developing a microservice-based architecture through outsourcing has been the preferred approach for many companies that want to bring their tech products to the next level. It is a highly cost-efficient solution on many levels. It allows cash flow management on both the operational and strategic levels; services can be added and removed without redesigning the entire system each time, and development headcount can be freely managed based on project peaks. It is a flexible solution that allows frequent system adjustments to stay in-line with company strategy and market demand.

Granted, this approach does not come without shortcomings. Microservices may sometimes be hard to build and implement into pre-existing architecture. Also, working with external partners is not always as straightforward as it should be. Coordinating all the aspects of a solution is challenging, but most potential risks can be minimized by choosing a reliable partner. That is why it is critical to work with a company (or companies) that has vast experience in a similar area in order to achieve seamless business scale-up. 

If you are interested in moving forward with your microservice architecture, you can find more information here on how to proceed and what your next steps should be.

Michał Olędzki

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