Debunking the IT Cost-Cutting Myths

by Marketing ScreamingBox
11 mins read
  1. Business
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Let's face it, IT budgets are the corporate equivalent of a middle school dance: awkward, full of unrealistic expectations, and sometimes ending in tears (or the figurative throwing of computers out windows). Many directors and product owners want IT to be the magical solution to all their problems, but nobody wants to foot the bill for the fairy godmother. Sometimes it can be like a mild scratch, or sometimes it can be a screaming match that leaves both sides hoarse and unhappy.

We get it. We've been the devs sweating over lines of code, the clients demanding the moon on a shoestring budget, and the business owners tearing their hair out over escalating costs. We've seen this battle from every angle, and although the majority of our clients are well prepared and skilled at working with the intricate variables that make up an IT development project - some are not.

The first step in dealing with the possibility of differing expectations, is to get an understanding of what exactly is the reality of IT development, and what are the main things that affect development costs. As in our politics and life, there seems to be a lot of miss-information, alternative “facts” and lots of myths about how to cut cost for IT development. In this first part of our series on reducing IT development cost, we are going to look at some of these myths, in order to get a better understanding of the reality of IT development today and what actual works to reduce costs.

Myth #1: All an IT Team Needs Is a Rough Idea on a Napkin to have low cost development

Imagine this: you’re at a diner, and inspiration strikes. You grab a napkin, jot down a rough sketch of your product idea, and triumphantly hand it over to your IT team, expecting them to conjure up a fully functional, business-ready masterpiece. If only developing great IT products were as simple as ordering a burger and fries!

In reality, turning a rough idea into a successful product requires much more than a doodle on a napkin. IT development is a complex process that involves meticulous planning, detailed specifications, and constant communication. Your IT team needs a comprehensive understanding of your business requirements, user needs, and market demands. It's like expecting a chef to create a gourmet meal with just a vague description of "something delicious" – the results are bound to be disappointing.

Even the most talented IT teams can't read minds or predict all the nuances of a business from a few scribbles. They need clear, detailed instructions and continuous feedback to ensure the product evolves correctly. Think of it like building a house: you wouldn’t just hand the builders a sketch on a napkin and hope for the best. You need blueprints, permits, and regular check-ins to ensure everything is up to code. So, while that napkin might be a good start, it’s just the appetizer in a full-course meal of product development.

It might seem that by keeping the product simple and without details, it might keep development costs low, but the reality is quite the opposite. The more time and effort you put into developing a flushed out SOW based on a detailed User Experience (UX) analysis, the less work and second guessing the development team has to do during the product development.

Myth #2: SaaS Will Replace IT Services

SaaS and IT services nowadays have more of a symbiotic relationship than that of a competitive one. Fewer than 5% of respondents to a recent HFS survey said that SaaS is decreasing their outsourcing costs, while more than 80% expect to increase their third-party spending on SaaS implementations.

SaaS has indeed been successful in driving scalability and converting capital expenses into operating expenses. However, satisfaction with ease of use and deployment remains low, and enterprises often need expert assistance. One of the significant limitations of SaaS platforms is their flexibility. While SaaS solutions can offer many functions, they may not always cater to the specific, nuanced needs of every business. Customizing a SaaS platform to meet unique requirements can be challenging and sometimes impossible, leading companies to seek additional IT services.

Moreover, integrating SaaS with existing systems and ensuring seamless operation across different platforms often requires specialized knowledge and skills. This is where the role of IT services becomes crucial. They provide the necessary support to bridge gaps, customize solutions, and ensure that SaaS implementations are effective and aligned with business objectives. Therefore, rather than replacing IT services, SaaS often drives the need for them, highlighting the complementary nature of these two elements in the modern business landscape.

The bottom line is that cost can be lowered for software development by utilizing some SAAS application into the development process and end product, but it would be a rare situation that a SAAS could replace all the development with an overall cost saving.

Myth #3: In-House Development is Always Cheaper Than Outsourcing

In-House IT development may not be cheaper than outsourcing IT development for several reasons. First, maintaining an in-house development team requires significant investment in salaries, benefits, training, and ongoing professional development. Skilled IT professionals command high salaries, and the cost of recruiting and retaining talent can be substantial.

Additionally, the expenses associated with providing the necessary tools, software licenses, hardware, and other resources for development projects can quickly add up. These ongoing operational costs can be significantly higher than the fixed costs associated with outsourcing, where the service provider typically bears the burden of such expenses.

Moreover, In-House IT development often comes with hidden costs related to management and oversight. Projects can suffer from scope creep, where the requirements expand beyond the original plan, leading to increased time and resource allocation. In-house teams may also face challenges with maintaining productivity and efficiency due to potential internal distractions and non-project-related responsibilities.

Conversely, outsourcing firms specialize in delivering IT solutions and often have established processes and expertise to complete projects on time and within budget. They leverage economies of scale, best practices, and a broader pool of talent, which can result in more cost-effective and efficient project delivery compared to in-house efforts.

While outsourcing is usually more cost-effective than maintaining internal teams, it can become more expensive if mismanaged or if the statement of work (SOW) is unclear and vague. Proper oversight and clear, detailed SOWs are crucial to ensure that outsourcing remains a cost-saving strategy.

Myth #4: Newer Tech = Better Tech

Shiny new tech is like a siren song, luring businesses with promises of increased productivity and efficiency. But just like Odysseus, you need to resist the urge to strap yourself to the mast (or your wallet).

Introducing new tech means training, troubleshooting, and inevitable downtime as your team adapts. That's time and money you could be spending elsewhere. Integrating new tech with your existing systems can be a Titanic-sized undertaking. You might only see the tip of the iceberg, but the hidden complexities can sink your budget.

Sometimes, your old but reliable legacy system is the unsung hero. It might not be flashy, but it gets the job done, and replacing it could cost you dearly in terms of both money and disruption.

Myth #5: Overstaffing for "Just in Case"

Having extra staff on hand for "just in case" might seem like a safety net, but in reality, it's a lead weight dragging down your agility.

Idle resources are not just expensive; they're a breeding ground for complacency and a lack of innovation. More people often mean more meetings, more emails, and more confusion, which can lead to slower decision-making and missed opportunities.

Every dollar you spend on unnecessary staff is a dollar you can't invest in growth, training, or better tools. It's like hoarding life jackets on a sinking ship instead of plugging the hole.

This is where a hybrid IT development strategy can be beneficial and result in lowering cost while increasing development flexibility. Many outsourcing companies like ScreamingBox, can provide Team Extension developers that can work with In-House development teams to temporarily add tech skills or bandwidth to allow for cost-effective development while increasing the quality and productivity of the In-House development team without having to overstaff just in case.


Believing in these IT cost-cutting myths can lead to more harm than good. An idea on a napkin won’t lead to a cost effective and well thought out digital product. SaaS can help lower the cost of development, but this is usually the exception not the rule. In-House development isn't always the cheaper option due to hidden costs and potential quality issues. Newer technology doesn't automatically translate to better performance, often requiring significant investment in training and integration. Overstaffing for emergencies can drain resources that could be better spent on strategic growth. To truly cut costs without sacrificing efficiency, it's crucial to evaluate each decision carefully, considering both immediate and long-term impacts. By debunking these myths, businesses can make more informed choices that lead to sustainable savings and improved operational efficiency.

For more information on IT Development Myths, and how outsourcing can help you lower IT development costs, please contact ScreamingBox .

This is Part #1 of our series on How to Reduce IT Costs While Improving Quality.

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