Offshoring vs Outsourcing: Which One Outweighs The Other?

Saigon Technology
8 min readApr 6, 2024
Offshoring vs Outsourcing: Which One Outweighs The Other?

Finding the most effective strategies to reduce costs and access specialized talent is crucial for success. That’s where we confuse offshoring and outsourcing when opting for the best solution to grow your business.

But don’t worry! We will dive deep into the world of offshoring and outsourcing to help you make an informed decision. So join us as we start this journey!

What Is Offshoring?

Before digging into the difference between offshoring and outsourcing, we will discuss how they work. You can also learn more about the pros and cons of each option and some offshoring and outsourcing examples.

Offshoring refers to having your job done in a distant country. It involves establishing activities in a foreign nation to take advantage of lower costs or market opportunities.

For example, American companies hire Vietnamese software development providers because of the lower labor expenses in this Asian country.

Pros Of Offshoring

Offshoring is becoming prominent these days because of the following benefits:

  • Lower labor costs

Both outsourcing & offshoring can give you benefits in terms of costs. For example, most developing countries offer lower labor costs than the business’s home country. Hence, by joining services in these areas, companies can benefit from significant savings in wages and other labor-related expenses.

However, the offshore software development rates differ from country to country. As a result, you need to research carefully to get the best deal.

  • Business continuity

The advantage of operating in different time zones is that your work can continue even when employees in one location are unavailable. This approach allows for efficient utilization of time and resources. Ultimately, your project can run faster with improved responsiveness to customer needs.

  • Access to foreign markets

Offshoring provides businesses with direct access to markets. For instance, offshore software development companies can adapt their services to cater to the preferences and needs of the local market. They can also perform QA testing to ensure the performance of their products.

  • Expanded talent pool

Offshoring takes place when corporations require a high level of expertise for their projects. This method enables them to tap into a broader talent pool.

Some countries may possess unique expertise and skills unavailable in their home country. Thus, offshoring contributes to increased efficiency and enhanced competitiveness.

For example, around 430,000 people worked in Vietnam’s information technology sector in 2021. Hence, this country is an appealing destination for offshoring software development.

Cons Of Offshoring

Discovering the pros and cons is a must when deciding between outsourcing and offshore. Offshoring, despite its benefits, also carries certain drawbacks that businesses should consider:

  • Cultural and language barriers

Offshoring to another country usually involves working with partners who may have different native languages and cultural norms. Hence, communication can become challenging due to language barriers.

Meanwhile, 86% of employees and executives believe ineffective communication is a significant reason for business failures.

Furthermore, cultural differences in work styles impact collaboration. They can even hinder effective teamwork.

  • Time zone differences

We have mentioned time zone advantages as a benefit for business continuity. However, they also pose challenges. The time zone difference may result in limited working hours, making real-time communication difficult.

  • Quality control problems

Different industry norms and regulatory frameworks affect the overall quality of services. Thus, you have to monitor the progress closely to ensure effective quality control measures.

What Is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is delegating a specific task, process, or service to an external third-party organization. It can occur within the same country or across international borders.

By partnering with a software outsourcing company for certain functions, businesses can concentrate on their core competencies. So, both outsourcing & offshoring allow your company to allocate resources and streamline operations.

Pros Of Outsourcing

Outsourcing offers several advantages for businesses, including the following:

  • Cost optimization

Again, cost is among the most important factors when running your business. So when wondering “What is the difference between outsourcing and offshoring?”, consider it first.

One of the primary benefits of outsourcing is cost reduction. By outsourcing certain processes, businesses can save on hiring and training internal staff expenses.

Moreover, outsourcing allows companies to access cost-effective solutions. They don’t have to invest in specialized equipment because the external service providers will be in charge.

So, regarding cost reduction, onshoring can’t defeat outsourcing/offshoring. That’s why these two methods are getting more and more popular.

  • Time-saving

Businesses can focus their resources and time on core competencies by partnering with external professionals. They will allocate their internal resources efficiently without time-consuming activities, increasing productivity and accelerating time-to-market for products.

  • Quality of work

External providers possess expertise and experience in specific areas. Hence, they can deliver high-quality services to meet your unique needs.

  • Flexible workforce

Companies can opt for service providers instead of hiring and training in-house employees. The flexibility in managing their workforce allows them to scale it up and down based on demand without worrying about long-term employment commitments.

  • Risk reduction

Businesses can transfer risks associated with operational and financial activities. For example, you can have peace of mind since your tech partner is responsible for cybersecurity and software development.

Cons Of Outsourcing

We have talked about two faces when choosing offshoring. Now, to choose the better one between offshore and outsourcing, discuss certain challenges and drawbacks that businesses may encounter with outsourcing services.

  • Lack of control

Depending on the extent of outsourcing, there may be less visibility in the processes of the external service provider. It can also create challenges in maintaining consistent standards.

  • Information security

Outsourcing involves sharing sensitive information and data with external parties. Unfortunately, this service raises concerns about information security.

Companies need to establish robust protection measures, ensuring compliance with relevant data privacy regulations. Failure to adequately address information security risks can lead to data leaks.

  • Hidden costs

While outsourcing can lead to cost savings, there can also be hidden costs in auditing the outsourced activities. Outsourcing services can come with additional costs ranging from 0.2% to 2% on top of the yearly expenses of the deal.

What Is The Difference Between Offshoring and Outsourcing?

The key difference between outsourcing and offshoring is the nature of the business activity involved. This comparison table provides a general overview of these two types of services:

Outsourcing and Offshoring: Cost

Offshoring is different from outsourcing because outsourcing offers more flexibility in terms of costs.

Companies can hire outsourced employees on a project basis, allowing for better budget control. They can also adjust the workforce as needed.

Even so, outsourcing is often more expensive compared to offshoring. The costs in the outsourcing country can be lower than in the home country, but they are generally higher than offshoring to regions famous for low labor costs.

On the other hand, offshoring projects may require a significant initial investment. Companies need to allocate resources for equipment, training, and setting up offshore operations. This upfront investment can impact the initial cost of offshoring.

While offshoring may have higher initial costs, it can provide long-term cost benefits. Lower labor costs continue to outweigh the upfront expenses over time.

Outsourcing and Offshoring: Operation

The second difference between outsourcing and offshoring is business operation. In offshoring, the company has the option to involve its existing employees in the offshored operations. It can transfer some of its employees to the offshore location. Another method is to hire individuals directly under the company’s control.

In this manner, offshoring gives companies more control over the individuals involved in the offshored operations. It can directly manage and oversee offshore employees.

In contrast, companies delegate specific tasks or operations to a third-party provider when outsourcing. Hence, they don’t have direct control over the individuals performing the tasks.

Outsourcing and Offshoring: Control

The level of control over your project activities also makes the difference between offshoring and outsourcing.

Offshoring typically provides a company with more control over the completed work. You can choose and manage the offshore employees directly.

Besides, with offshoring, businesses can have representatives on-site at the offshore location, allowing for direct oversight of the operations. Thus, we have a deep understanding of the software development procedure.

On the contrary, in outsourcing, businesses often have limited control over the completion of the work. When outsourcing the tasks to a third-party organization, the provider is now responsible for managing and monitoring the work.

Outsourcing and Offshoring: Access to talent

The last difference between outsourcing and offshore is the access to external talent. They will be the ones that join your project and determine its success rate.

Offshoring provides access to a larger and more diverse talent pool. By expanding operations to a different country, businesses can discover a broader range of skills and competencies that may not be readily available in their local market.

Outsourcing also allows businesses to tap into the expertise and specialized skills of external service providers. However, the talent pool is often more limited.

Which Should You Choose Between Offshoring and Outsourcing?

It’s important to consider the unique needs and objectives of your business when deciding between outsourcing and offshoring.

When to choose outsourcing?

Outsourcing offers attractive benefits. Here are some cases where you prefer this approach:

  • Outsourcing can be a cost-effective option when external providers deliver the required services at a lower cost than running an in-house team.
  • You can benefit from the expertise and capabilities of specialized service providers.
  • Outsourcing allows you to scale your operations up or down promptly, depending on your business needs.

When to choose offshoring?

Offshoring is an excellent method to drive business growth because of the following benefits:

  • You can tap into a broader, more diverse talent pool in different locations.
  • Offshoring to countries with lower labor costs can result in significant cost savings over time. This idea is brilliant for labor-intensive operations.
  • With offshoring, you have direct control over the offshore operations, including selecting and managing the offshore development team.
  • Offshoring helps you establish a presence in a new market.

You can choose between outsourcing and offshoring after considering your needs. Whatever your choice is, the next step must be selecting a reliable partner.

As a leading software development outsourcing company in Vietnam, Saigon Technology can satisfy all your needs. We also provide offshore software development services to ensure your attention can remain focused on your projects.

So if you intend to hire an external team to carry out a complicated software development project, contact us to get a free consultation. Then, we can grow together because your success is our mission!