Entrepreneurs who want to develop their e-commerce platforms usually establish cooperation with interactive agencies, software houses or specialist freelancers. However, there are those who build their own IT teams and develop projects internally.
The development of Internet sales is dynamic. Numerous sellers open their businesses onto online, and customers are more willingly doing online shopping. According to a survey conducted by Statista, global online sales will be increasing year by year, reaching as much as $ 6.3 trillion in 2024. In comparison, in 2020 these revenues amounted $ 4.2 trillion.
In order to keep up with the rushing e-commerce market and have a chance to stay ahead of the competition, entrepreneurs implement modern technological solutions. Among them, it is worth mentioning, for example, internal search engines, chatbots, PWA (Progressive Web Application), voice commerce, mCommerce, PIM platforms (Product Information Management). These are just a few examples of tools supporting the development and management of online sales. There are many such facilities, and by observing the market you can say that this is just the beginning.
The more of them, the more programming resources are needed to implement them. Consequently, you pay more and more to the company you outsource this work to. At such moments, the question may arise whether it would not be cheaper to do it in-house....
More and more companies that rely on sales decide to create their own eCommerce Software House. Companies are building a strong IT department or even a separate company, operating within the current structures of the enterprise. And if we are talking about a company that has been building its own IT team for a long time, then such a solution may prove beneficial.
You could even say that this is quite a practical and sensible idea that every entrepreneur investing in the development of ecommerce should consider. A team operating on site, always available, is the dream of every employer. However, when planning such a solution, it is worth analyzing a few issues that are often problematic and may complicate further actions.
Own IT team or Software House?
Below is a list of 10 aspects that are worth analyzing and considering all the pros and cons incident to them. In that, the entrepreneur can be sure that regardless of the decision he makes, it will be made fully consciously.
1. Building the team
Recruiting employees for your own IT team can be troublesome. To create an independent, interdisciplinary team, the employer must hire many experienced specialists, and this can take a lot of time and money. Very often, such employees "require" dedicated terms of employment and remuneration.
The second point concerns the employer himself. Companies that are famous for their good reputation and strong market position will soon attract valuable employees. In turn, less known organizations will have to put more effort to attract the attention of the best candidates.
2. Team interdisciplinarity
The problem that appears in this aspect is very similar to the previous one, but its essence should be emphasized. The software house itself can be identified by many only with the IT department. Please note that for everything to function properly and for projects to be implemented comprehensively, the team must consist of experts from many fields. Among them, it is worth mentioning project managers, testers, analysts, administrators, graphic designers, UX / UI experts, SEO specialists, marketers, business consultants, information architects, DevOps, etc.
In teams specializing in a given field of solutions, we will also find experienced business analysts who effectively optimize processes on the client's side. Additionally, an extensive team will need experienced management staff. Completing such an interdisciplinary team can be expensive and difficult.
When a company starts cooperation outside, it has a group of specialists with experience and relevant competences at its disposal. What is also important, they work (and require payment) only when it is needed at a given stage of the project implementation.
3. Maintaining employees
Once the employer has managed to build the team, he must then maintain it. This, in turn, comes with costs - training, work tools, salary, etc.
Projects are usually divided into stages in which individual specialists participate. What to do with the part of the team that has completed the tasks at a given stage and is waiting for the next ones to be completed or the project will come to an end? Is it worth keeping the team "on the off-chance"?
4. Motivation and commitment to work
One of the most important issues affecting the success or failure of a given project. Employees who lack challenges and opportunities for development quickly become discouraged, their efficiency decreases, and after some time they quit their jobs. All of this can cause delays and downtime in the ongoing project.
Programmers who work on plain and monotonous projects are primarily exposed to "boredom". The specificity of the work of an internal software house, which by definition works on one project, very often causes this kind of problems.
5. Spaghetti code
There is another important issue connected with the subject of programmers - the so-called spaghetti code. It is a pejorative phrase for unstructured and difficult-to-maintain source code.
This phenomenon occurs with a high rotation of programmers and has a negative impact on the maintenance of the project. Frequent changes by the authors of the code increase the complexity of its structure, create numerous branches and paths that make the work difficult and increase the probability of errors.
6. Guarantee of project completion
Companies that cooperate outside, sign contracts which guarantee that the service will be provided in a timely manner, and in case of breach of contract it is clearly defined how the situation will be remedied and the associated compensation to the customer.
How does this issue work in an in-house team and who is fully responsible in this case? Will fining him or even firing him improve the situation in any way?
7. Team cooperation
Choosing the team in terms of the desired skills is an important issue, but it is equally important to match up its members so that they can cooperate effectively with each other. You know that you work better with people you simply like.
Creating such a team is not always easy, which may result in misunderstandings and internal conflicts that negatively affect the implementation of work.
8. Personnel changes in the team
The external Software House has many employees and can easily ensure the continuity of the project in case of any staff changes.
The situation is completely different with the internal team, for which every, even the smallest change may be a problem. When the employee leaves, the project is suspended and the team is waiting for a new specialist. If the hire simply does no good, you have to start recruiting again and everything returns to ground zero…
9. External consulting
Sometimes it may happen that despite the presence of many specialists, the team will not solve all the problems encountered and will have to consult them outside, which means additional costs and time.
An independent (external) software house, thanks to its many years of experience in the implementation of projects in a given area, can solve any problems on its own. Frequently even before they appear in the project.
You should be aware that creating and maintaining your own IT team comes with certain obligations. The company is independent and must take care of its employees by providing them with appropriate working conditions, access to training, etc.
Projects for which an appropriate technological environment must be prepared also require the “care”. We are addressing all programs, licenses or hosting - all this is an integral part of the implementation of projects and involves additional financial outlay. And another person who will manage this infrastructure...
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To put it briefly, building and maintaining your own IT team is definitely tempting. It may be a good option in some situations, but unfortunately it will be rather a malinvestment in most cases.
It is difficult to foresee what decision will be right and beneficial for a given company. However, you can (and even need to) take a moment to analyze the issues that may affect the future and development of not only the project, but often (if it is a key project in the company's development) even the company's continued existence.
The IT industry has become so dynamic that it is almost impossible to have all their skills in-house. Another important element is that many projects require rapid development. Even when you have your own team, you usually need to associate with external, specialized partners. And what we offer is not just manpower, but knowledge of the tools and methods you can use to succeed.