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Offshore Development in Germany

24 January 2024


Offshore software development refers to the practice of outsourcing programming, technology innovation, and other IT-related work to third-party vendors located overseas in different countries. It involves partnering with offshore development centers who provide dedicated development teams, quality assurance experts, program managers, and other supporting roles to deliver software projects end-to-end.

Offshore software development is gaining strong interest amongst German companies as a way to access specialized talent and reduce costs. The offshore development market for Germany is projected to reach €6 billion by 2027. This article provides updated insights into key trends, destinations, best practices and predictions shaping offshore development from Germany.

Key Offshoring Statistics for Germany:
  • German offshore software development projected to have 12% CAGR from 2023-2027.
  • 850+ German companies now have active offshore development centers.
  • By 2027, over 38% of German software development activity will happen overseas.
  • Germany currently takes more than €4.2 billion worth of IT projects abroad per year.
  • Average cost savings of 35-45% achieved using offshore talent.
Offshore Development Center in Germany

Global Offshore Development Trends

The offshore development industry has seen tremendous growth over the past decade, with little signs of slowing down. As per market projections, global spending on offshore software services is expected to reach $500 billion by 2025.

Eastern European countries like Poland, Ukraine and Romania have emerged as preferred nearshore destinations for Western European and German companies. Their cultural compatibility and geographic proximity provide German firms convenient access to highly skilled developers at favorable hourly rates.

Asian countries like India, Vietnam and Philippines cater extensively to the US and UK markets given language familiarity. Their scale and low labor costs offset the higher effort required in communication and travel.
Global Offshore Development Trends

Why Companies Choose Offshore Development Centers?

The drivers spurring the rapid growth of offshore development centers globally over the past decade encompass both cost savings and strategic value addition. While hourly billing rates for offshore developers in lower cost of living countries can reduce project spending by 30-50%, perhaps a bigger motivation is gaining preferential access specialized skills. With global shortages around emerging skill areas like AI/ML, AR/VR and Blockchain, having dedicated offshore teams mitigates key talent scarcity risks while fueling new innovations.

24x5 execution via nearshore locations also accelerates release velocity over 25% - vital for fast-paced digital environments. But arguably most significantly, offshore development alleviates immense pressures on limited onshore leadership bandwidth - granting them space for more strategic thinking. Handing frequent task management to trusted offshore partners enables a sharper priorities focus. Offshore development has transformed from basic necessity to fundamental competitive advantage.
Why Companies Choose Offshore Development Centers

Offshore Developer Hourly Rates

The major cost incentive for offshoring comes from the substantial difference in hourly wages between offshore talent vs domestic German developers.
Average hourly rates for offshore programmers:
  • Poland - $35-55
  • Ukraine - $25-45
  • India - $15-30
  • Vietnam - $15-25
In comparison, average hourly developer rates in Germany center around $60-120 based on experience levels. This over 50% cost differential allows German companies to make significant savings.

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When is Offshore Development Going to be a Good Idea?

As companies look to access talent and reduce costs, many are turning to offshore developers. Offshore development centers allow companies to hire skilled technical talent located overseas, often at significant cost savings compared to domestic developers. There are a few key factors that typically motivate a company to choose offshore developers.

#1 Cost Savings
One of the most compelling reasons is cost. The hourly rates for an offshore developer, particularly in regions like Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, can range from $20-50 per hour. Compare this to $100+ per hour for hiring software engineers in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs in the US. For resource-constrained startups or companies wanting to maximize budgets, offshore development makes sense.

Some companies take a hybrid approach, maintaining a small in-house development team for core products while outsourcing ancillary projects or new products to offshore developers. This provides flexibility and agility. Additionally, companies can redirect cost savings from offshore development towards more business-critical initiatives.

#2 Access to Specialized Talent
Another driver is access to specialized technical talent or skills that may be scarce domestically. For example, Ukrainian and Central European developers are renowned for excellence in math, science, and engineering. Companies focused on complex backend systems, blockchain, AI, or data science initiatives can benefit from this talent pool.

Similarly, India has become a hub for offshore developers specializing in SaaS and enterprise software. Since demand outweighs supply for these skills in the US, offshoring provides access. It also reduces the costs and delays of domestic recruiting for these specialized roles.

#3 Follow the Sun Capabilities
Offshore development centers can facilitate “Follow the Sun” approaches when customers or internal stakeholders require round-the-clock support. By having developers distributed across time zones, issues can be escalated and products can be enhanced 24/7 by passing work across time zones.

For global companies, offshore development also enables localization and translation for international audiences. Developers can provide nuanced cultural understanding and linguistic capabilities to adapt products by region.

#4 Risk Mitigation
Spreading product development across distributed teams also provides risk mitigation and business continuity benefits. If faced with talent shortages, lockdowns, or other constraints affecting one region, companies can redirect work across sites to minimize potential schedule or delivery impacts.

While there are compelling benefits, choosing and managing an offshore development center requires thorough vetting, governance, onboarding, and cultural integration to ensure quality results. But when executed strategically, offshore developers can deliver outstanding product innovations and unlock significant value. The trend towards offshore software development is only accelerating as technology permeates every industry and top talent remains scarce domestically.
When is Offshore Development Going to be a Good Idea

Key Areas of Offshore Development Investment in Germany

Offshore software development has expanded far beyond basic website maintenance and testing services that defined early outsourcing. Today companies invest overseas across critical innovation initiatives - from core product engineering to cutting-edge R&D. Enterprise firms have built huge offshore centers with thousands of developers dedicated to specific platform engineering.

Other companies focused on digital transformation or omnichannel delivery assign specialized offshore partners responsibility for new app development and customer journey orchestration. Several pioneering firms are also offshoring elements of pure research - leveraging affordable East European talent to experiment with bleeding edge technologies before assessing commercialization potential. Expanding bandwidth through offshore development has allowed companies to stretch their innovation investments.
Key Areas of Offshore Development Investment in Germany

Main Challenges in Selecting an Offshore Development Center

Choosing the right offshore development partner in Germany is crucial for companies to maximize value from overseas technology investment. The optimal center must offer specialized domain expertise, robust information security standards, cultural fit, scalability and cost effectiveness.

#1 Define Required Technology Capabilities
Start by clearly outlining project scope, objectives, must-have technical competencies needed and expected deliverables with every milestone. Detail programming languages, infrastructure platforms, testing automation abilities etc. that aligns with company's technology landscape and roadmaps. Being explicit regarding capabilities required creates a benchmark for partner evaluations.

#2 Assess Security and Compliance Posture
Data privacy, intellectual property protection and cybersecurity fears rightfully give most companies pause before offshoring innovation overseas. Evaluate vendor information security policies, infrastructure safeguards, employee screening procedures, confidentiality contractual clauses etc. in depth.

#3 Gauge Cultural and Communications Fit
The ability to collaborate effectively despite geographic distance is vital for offshore engagement success. Evaluate English fluency proficiency within partner teams at all levels through live discussions. Assess their preferred communication modes, project tools proficiency and willingness to align with onshore timezones.

#4 Validate Talent Development and Retention Practices
Given high attrition rates industrywide, examining an offshore provider's ability to attract specialists globally, provide enriching work and anchor top talent is important. Review their employee skill development programs, career growth frameworks, workplace culture and attrition levels over past 2-3 years for insights into retention efficacy. After all, a stable productive team is elemental for consistency.

#5 Corroborate Client References and Case Studies
While vendor marketing content offers useful background, getting objective validation from current clients on capabilities and reliability provides invaluable perspective. Speaking to 1-2 client references enables triangulating promotional claims around technical expertise, security robustness, communication flows, leadership support etc against actual offshore program performance. Recent case studies also offer glimpses into types of innovative work delivered for global companies.

Evaluating offshore development partners across these five dimensions tends to highlight the truly outstanding players - with the competence to deliver excellence within budget and on time amidst the complexities of distributed team orchestration. Investing such diligence upfront sustains long-term offshore success.
Setting Up an Offshore Development Center

Setting Up an Offshore Development Center

For German firms looking to build their own offshore development capability, key steps include:
  • Location evaluation. Identify offshore country and specific geography based on access to required tech talent, infrastructure, cost savings potential.
  • Talent sourcing. Partner with staffing firms or directly source teams with expertise in technology stack required for projects.
  • Legal entity setup. Form new legal entity/subsidiary offshore adhering to local regulations for financial reporting, taxation etc.
  • Tools and infrastructure. Equip center with hardware, network, productivity and collaboration tools tailored to project needs.
  • IP protection. Institute data security controls, asset protection measures through legal contracts and technology mechanisms.
  • Local leadership. Designate offshore delivery heads locally for each project team and provide extensive training.
Choosing the right offshore development partner is crucial for companies to maximize value from overseas technology investment. The optimal center must offer specialized domain expertise, robust information security standards, cultural fit, scalability and cost effectiveness.


Offshore software development is fast transitioning from a pure cost savings play to a source of competitive advantage for many German firms. While judicious planning and relational investment are required, offshore development promises to give German companies the edge needed to compete on both innovation and efficiency fronts in the global marketplace. The future success of German software innovation certainly appears intertwined with offshore talent.

As German companies cope with intensifying global competition and accelerating technology disruption, leveraging offshore software development promises to become an indispensable element of corporate strategy rather than an optional tactic. The case for offshore investment only grows more compelling given projections of deepening technology talent shortage and wage inflation domestically. Already over 850 German enterprises across industries have taken the offshore route with double-digit annual growth forecast.

However, German firms must raise offshore partnering and delivery to a more strategic level. One-off cost savings-driven experiments bring limited returns - carefully crafted long-term offshore partnerships and immersive cultural alignment deliver disproportionate value. Rather than mere extended workbenches, visionary leaders are empowering overseas centers with both responsibility and rewards to unlock ownership behavior. They integrate remote teams within core objectives to benefit from diverse perspectives in solving customer problems. With such deliberate expansion in mindset and operating models to harness global skills symbiotically, offshore development is primed to drive the next S-curve of efficiency, innovation and growth for German corporations. The keys remain judicious location selection, robust cybersecurity, and extensive virtual and in-person collaboration to realize the immense promise.

If you want to leverage the full potential of offshore development in Germany or another country, contact us for consulting on all matters related to working with an offshore development center.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Question:
    How much cost savings is achievable?
    Savings of 30-50%+ over domestic German developer costs possible with Eastern European talent. Over 70% savings viable with Asian destinations.
  • Question:
    Which locations are most popular for German firms?
    Poland, Ukraine and Romania top the list due to their proximity, cultural compatibility and strong technology talent pools.
  • Question:
    What typical project duration should be considered?
    Plan for at least 18-24 months engagement to realize desired ROI. Shorter trials seldom provide good indicators.
  • Question:
    What risks should be mitigated?
    Top risks relate to information security, data privacy, IP protection and talent attrition. Comprehensive contracts and security controls crucial.
  • Question:
    How to ensure productivity and communication?
    Conduct in-person visits quarterly, provide extensive virtual collaboration infrastructure with offshore teams for seamless workflows.
Sergio Art is the entrepreneurial mind behind the Offshore Development Center (ODC), which he launched in 2010 to support U.S. businesses in their digital transformation efforts through access to skilled software engineers.

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