For many companies, the development and operation of software, infrastructure, and applications are still siloed into separate teams, leading to inefficiencies and a slower time to market.
DevOps breaks down the walls between development (Dev) teams and operations (Ops) teams by promoting collaboration, integration, and automation throughout the software development life cycle.
However, if you lack the in-house expertise or resources to implement or scale DevOps practices, then outsourcing might be your best move.
We’ll explore DevOps outsourcing, including its benefits and potential drawbacks, and give you some tips for success.
What Is DevOps Outsourcing?
DevOps outsourcing is contracting an external service provider to handle various DevOps functions for an organization. These can include things like:
- Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline setup
- Infrastructure automation
- Cloud management
- Monitoring and logging analytics
- Full-scale management of development and operations cycles
Outsourcing DevOps tasks can be especially advantageous for companies without the in-house expertise or the necessary team size to implement and maintain DevOps practices effectively.
The idea is to tap into a third-party provider’s specialized skills and experiences to achieve seamless software development and deployment, which is at the heart of the DevOps methodology.
The provider may offer consulting services to streamline an organization’s existing processes or take on a more active role, such as managing the infrastructure and automating workflows.
This is often achieved through collaboration with in-house teams to ensure the development and operational objectives of the company are met efficiently.
When Should You Consider Outsourcing DevOps?
Organizations might consider outsourcing DevOps in a variety of scenarios. Here are some cases where it could make sense:
Lack of in-house expertise
If your organization lacks skilled DevOps personnel and the resources to hire or train them, outsourcing can give you access to DevOps experts who can hit the ground running.
Need for rapid scale-up
Building an internal team can be time-consuming when you experience rapid growth or have a project requiring quick scaling. An outsourced DevOps company can offer immediate support.
Focus on core functions
Companies—especially start-ups and small businesses—sometimes need to concentrate on their core products or services. Outsourcing DevOps lets you stay focused without being bogged down by the intricacies of deployment and infrastructure management.
Having an experienced outsourced DevOps team can help in risk management and mitigation. They often have the know-how to prevent or quickly resolve common bottlenecks and issues.
If your business requires round-the-clock operations and support, an outsourced team can provide it without the complications of managing shift work and on-call schedules internally.
Each company’s situation is unique, and the decision to outsource DevOps should only be made after carefully considering your goals, capabilities, tech needs, and long-term strategy.
Benefits of Outsourcing DevOps
Outsourcing DevOps can offer a wide range of benefits for businesses looking to improve their software delivery processes. Here are some key advantages:
One of the primary benefits of outsourcing DevOps is the potential for cost savings. The disparity in average salaries for technical roles between regions can lead to considerable cost efficiencies.
For instance, a full-stack developer based in Latin America might have an average salary of $54,000, while the same role could command an average salary of $161,500 in the United States.
Here’s how outsourcing can translate into lower costs:
- Engagement flexibility: Whether engaging with a DevOps outsourcing company or individual contractors, you typically can choose the level of involvement and duration of service, which offers cost savings over hiring local full-time, in-house staff.
- Reduced indirect costs: Indirect costs associated with recruitment, training, benefits, and retention are significantly reduced.
- Scaling on demand: Outsourcing DevOps provides the ability to quickly onboard specialists for the duration of a project or during particular phases of development, avoiding the financial commitment of long-term hires.
By outsourcing DevOps, you can save on direct labor costs and avoid the ancillary expenses tied to employee benefits, tax implications, and long-term commitments from expanding an in-house team.
This financial flexibility can be crucial if you’re looking to optimize your budget without sacrificing the quality of your DevOps practices.
Outside perspective and best practices
Outsourcing DevOps functions can provide valuable insights from seasoned professionals with experience across various projects and industries. Here are some benefits of gaining an outside perspective:
Exposure to industry best practices
DevOps service providers typically work with multiple clients and have a keen understanding of various methodologies. They can introduce standardized procedures and best practices to your projects that have been tested and refined through their work with other organizations.
Fresh eyes on existing challenges
An external DevOps team might more effectively identify process inefficiencies or “technical debt” that an in-house team has overlooked. The external team’s main objective is clear—streamline operations and improve delivery pipelines—allowing them to take a more objective and results-focused approach.
Benchmarking against competitors
Outsourcing firms often have insights into how competitors manage their DevOps pipelines, even indirectly, through industry trends and benchmarks. Implementing efficient and up-to-date practices that keep you at the forefront of technology can provide a competitive edge.
Continual learning and adaptation
To remain competitive, DevOps outsourcing providers must stay current with the latest tools, technologies, and industry changes. When you outsource, your projects benefit from this continual learning and adaptation, ensuring your DevOps activities are always in step with cutting-edge developments.
Access to a diverse talent pool of specialized DevOps professionals
Outsourcing DevOps opens the door to a wide network of skilled professionals with various specializations and experiences. This diversity brings about several advantages:
- Variety in technical expertise: Organizations can benefit from specific technologies, tools, or methodologies that may not be present in the current in-house team.
- Flexibility to match project needs: Different project stages require different skill sets. Outsourcing allows a business to bring in professionals with the required expertise, whether setting up CI/CD pipelines, ensuring security practices, or managing large-scale cloud infrastructures.
- Enhanced innovation: A wide array of perspectives can lead to innovative solutions. DevOps professionals from varying backgrounds can combine their experiences to develop creative and efficient ways of overcoming challenges.
Engaging with a broad range of DevOps professionals through outsourcing can provide significant value, offering flexibility, innovation, and the right expertise precisely when needed.
Outsourced DevOps professionals are generally very productive due to their specialized focus and experience. They spend their careers honing the skills necessary to automate and optimize software delivery processes, which makes them expert problem-solvers.
They are accustomed to moving quickly, adapting to new environments, and delivering swift, tangible results that exceed expectations and increase efficiency. By removing the barriers between development and operations, they help to create a more agile and responsive deployment cycle.
Possible Challenges of Outsourcing DevOps
While outsourcing DevOps comes with numerous benefits, it also presents potential challenges you should be aware of and mitigate. Here are some of the possible obstacles:
Finding the best partner or freelancer for the job
Identifying the right outsourcing partner or freelancer who aligns with your company’s culture, understands your industry, and possesses the necessary technical expertise can be daunting.
Working with a specialized DevOps recruitment agency can significantly streamline this process. They have the resources, networks, and expertise to vet candidates thoroughly, ensuring you are matched with professionals with a proven track record.
Issues with keeping things safe
When you outsource DevOps activities, you often need to grant external parties access to your systems, data, and intellectual property, which can introduce security risks.
Establishing clear security protocols, ensuring compliance with industry standards, and ensuring your DevOps partner has robust cybersecurity measures are essential to protect your business.
Aligning expectations between your organization and an outsourced DevOps team is critical for a successful partnership.
Communication can sometimes be challenging, especially if dealing with different time zones or language barriers. Moreover, there might be different interpretations of success metrics and deliverables.
Continuous, clear communication and detailed contractual agreements can help manage expectations on both sides.
Tips To Successfully Outsource DevOps
DevOps, by definition, means strategic planning, effective communication, and strong collaboration. Here are some tips to consider for a successful outsourcing experience:
Document every process
Well-maintained documentation ensures that the outsourced team can fully understand your current processes and procedures.
Good documentation includes details about:
- Deployment practices
- Scripts or tools
It also helps track changes, understand decision-making rationales, and provide a reference for training and future projects, ultimately leading to smoother collaboration and handovers.
Look for ways to constantly improve
When you outsource DevOps, it is essential to stay committed to the principles of continuous improvement. The outsourced team should help identify areas of inefficiency and suggest optimizations.
Encourage a culture of feedback with regular reviews of the workflow, tools, and practices to look for opportunities to enhance productivity, reliability, and delivery times.
Ensure effective communication
Effective communication is a cornerstone of successful DevOps outsourcing. Establishing clear channels and protocols for regular updates, queries, and feedback is vital.
Choose communication tools that work best for your team and the outsourced partner, and schedule regular meetings to ensure alignment on goals, progress, and blockers.
Transparent and open communication helps build trust, aligns expectations, and keeps everyone informed, ensuring the outsourced DevOps efforts seamlessly integrate with your organization’s processes.
Have clear goals and ways to measure success
Define specific, measurable objectives for process improvements, deployment frequency, system stability, and incident response times.
By establishing a baseline and agreeing on key performance indicators (KPIs) and service level agreements (SLAs), you create a framework for performance evaluation.
Start with a small test before doing a big project
Before fully committing to a large-scale DevOps project with an outsourced team, start with a smaller, controlled pilot project. This approach allows both parties to work together on a smaller scale, assess compatibility, and fine-tune processes.
A successful test project can build confidence in the partnership, reveal areas for improvement, and set the stage for scaling up to more significant initiatives. It also provides an opportunity to evaluate the outsourced team’s performance and reliability without jeopardizing larger operations.
While outsourcing DevOps can present certain challenges, the benefits can be substantial with the right approach and partner.
By starting small and striving for continuous improvement, you can create a strong, collaborative partnership that enhances your development and deployment capabilities.
If you’re ready to hire professional, experienced DevOps talent at rates 30–70% below average US salaries, Near can help. Fill out a simple form to get a list of pre-vetted candidates you can interview for free. We can help you hire and onboard in under 21 days.