How Slack and 4 Other Companies Owe Their Success to Outsourcing

Get to know some of the most successful companies in the world that were founded by outsourcing software.

7 min readOct 17, 2017

For many businesses, the concept of outsourcing can seem like a lofty undertaking. They can be deterred by what seems like a confusing process, the expense, or the time it takes to set up an outside relationship. However, outsourcing, especially software outsourcing, has been proven to improve overall quality, reduce costs, and increase focus within the company on essential matters.

What many people also don’t realize is that some of the most successful companies in the world were founded by outsourcing software and various organizational responsibilities. Whether they utilized outsourced customer service or web development, these organizations were able to succeed by taking advantage of the benefits of outsourcing.

Here are six companies that owe their success to understanding how to outsource effectively. When you’re thinking of software outsourcing for your business, look to these examples for what this strategy can bring: revenue in the billions.


Collaborating on New Products and Optimizing Current Ones

The immense success of Google is undeniable. In Q2 2017 alone, the ubiquitous search engine earned $26 billion in revenue, up 21% from Q2 2016. What most people don’t realize, however, is the foundation of customer service and software outsourcing that keeps Google’s operations running smoothly.

In 2011, Google’s customer service outsourcing came in the form of 1,000 AdWords support jobs sent to call centers located all over the world. Then, in 2014, after a long period of time in which the company was already outsourcing much of their non-essential IT functions, Google announced a partnership with Latin American-based technology services provider, Globant. Their nearshore outsourcing operation led to the successful development of Project Ara and related software.

Google’s strategy of utilizing help from abroad with stabilizing current customer service operations and then again for developing a new product portray the widespread applications of software outsourcing. Their initiative to work with a Latin American software company also demonstrates the benefits of nearshore outsourcing versus all others. If a behemoth like Google is doing it, it’s pretty wise to think that setting up a nearshore software outsourcing strategy is the right way to go.


Designing a Bilingual Product

Sure, you may know Alibaba as an outsourcing method for manufacturing products. The company’s ability to connect brands with cheap sources of production, usually based in China, is what makes this site so successful and appealing. However, it got to the point it is today of over $5 billion in revenue in Q2 2017 by initially outsourcing its web development.

In Jack Ma’s autobiographical novel, alibaba: The Inside Story Behind Jack Ma and the Creation of the World’s Biggest Online Marketplace, he discussed the company’s decision for website outsourcing in its early years in 1999 as a method of appealing to a bilingual audience. By localizing his website for both English and Chinese audiences, he established the foundation of a multinational business that allowed Alibaba to grow into the success it is today.

Alibaba is now a household name across the world, and it all began with outsourcing their web design. Their strategy emphasizes the advantage that software outsourcing can offer when it comes to branding a company for a local audience. Not only did the company save resources and time with this endeavor, it set up Alibaba to appeal to both a native and foreign audience because they outsourced to a company that specialized in their target demographic (English speakers).


Complementing the in house team’s expertise

GitHub is a recognizable name in the tech world as a collaboration site for sharing open source coding (it’s name is derived from Git, an open source language). However, before it became a community over 23 million people strong, it needed help with designing its website.

The company decided to hire Scott Chacon to write the backend of website as a consultant. GitHub employed a software outsourcing strategy and hired an outsider for their website development. In doing so, they filled in their own skill gaps and found experienced, dedicated talent that built the foundation of their entire business. Since its founding in 2007, the site has since hosted over 64 million projects. This would never have been feasible without a strong backend website to support it from the beginning.

With the hiring of Scott Chacon, GitHub exemplified the benefit of web design outsourcing as a method of acquiring the most knowledgeable and talented staff. Especially when your own company is lacking the right kind of professionals or skills, outsourcing software and other IT functions becomes a valuable method for getting the task done while maintaining the highest standards of quality.


Building a Multi-platform App

Across the globe, WhatsApp is used as the messenger app of choice for people looking to keep in touch with their network of friends and family. It truly proved itself one of the world’s most successful companies when social media giant Facebook acquired it for $19 billion in 2014. However, before Facebook bought it, WhatsApp relied heavily on outsourcing software and core development.

While maintaining an office in the U.S. for customer service, WhatsApp outsourced their app development. From the beginning, they hired Igor Solomennikov as an iPhone app development outsourcer. He was later integrated into the company on a full-time basis, but at the time was an overseas contractor that established the first iOS version of WhatsApp.

WhatsApp’s utilization of iOS app development outsourcing proves that this tactic has many different purposes. It is not specifically for web development, customer service, etc. Instead, the applications of software outsourcing are immense and can contribute to many different parts of a company’s success.


Establishing the App’s User Experience

While being one of the most widely used workplace communication services, Slack is also one of the best examples of outsourcing app design. By nearshore outsourcing their logo creation, the marketing site design, and the web and mobile apps to an agency based in Canada, the company has reaped the rewards of a streamlined and beautiful product.

What nearshore outsourcing the app and web design did for Slack was to establish the brand as a messaging software that feels different, looks different, and sounds different. Something must’ve worked with their outsourcing strategy because in July 2017 the company raised a $250 million round of investment for a total valuation of $5 billion.

Slack’s example of app design outsourcing again attests to the versatility of a nearshore outsourcing strategy. It also speaks to how nearshore outsourcing can play a role in even the most crucial parts of a company: The logo, website, and entire look and feel of the brand. Looking to hire outside talent isn’t just for the minor pieces of a business — it can also be a strategy for establishing and refining the essential components of an organization.

What You Can Learn

These six companies are the role models for successful outsourcing. Any business, whether big or small, can benefit equally from learning how to outsource and establish a successful partnership with an outside entity.

Nearshore outsourcing is one of the best options for a business looking for all of the advantages such a strategy can provide. Nearshore outsourcing your app development, UX design, and any other business needs means saving money, time, and energy. Unlike offshore outsourcing, though, nearshore preserves the ability to communicate easily and effectively because the foreign organization shares a similar language and culture.

For U.S. businesses especially, nearshore outsourcing to Latin America is an increasingly popular option that saves them the hassles of offshore outsourcing logistics. Additionally, outsourcing software development to Latin America is less expensive than onshore outsourcing within U.S. borders. While still maintaining the quality and expertise necessary for technical work, hiring Latin American developers provides the most economical software outsourcing option for U.S. companies.

Companies that have become household names, like Google and WhatsApp, owe just as much to software outsourcing as the smaller startups, like Slack and GitHub. Each have earned billions in revenue and are viewed as success stories by others in the industry. Each have also utilized outsourcing, whether for app development or non-essential IT services, in order to build their organizations in the most cost-effective, time-efficient, and productive means possible.

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UruIT, a nearshore outsourcing dev shop, assists startups and established companies in the US in their digital transformation. Over the past 10 years we have built long term partnerships with our clients based on our Agile culture, senior level development processes and User Centered Design methodologies.




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