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The Outsourcing Story of WhatsApp Businesses Need to Learn From

If we’re on the topic of ultra-popular global mobile messaging apps, then you’re probably already familiar with WhatsApp. The app allows users to send messages, make voice and video calls, and share media files. It also has an incredible record of 134.9 billion monthly active users, with users returning to the app 22 times a day, and spending roughly 59 minutes engaging with the content, on average. However, the app’s global success didn’t happen overnight. Like all companies, it had a very humble beginning.

In the early days of WhatsApp in 2009, its founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, decided to outsource certain tasks that they did not have the skills or expertise to complete in-house. This move helped them access specialized skills, save time and resources, and maintain a lean organizational structure, all of which were critical to the success of the company that they are now enjoying today!

WhatsApp: How it became everyone’s favorite cross-platform messaging app

There’s no doubt that WhatsApp has become such an industry giant today. Back when it was still being developed, its founders made the smart decision to rely on outsourcing services to polish the app. They realized that they would be more efficient that way since they’d be able to reduce cost, focus on scaling operations, and prioritize other core competencies. Years later, they’re a huge success! We can learn a thing or two from them. 

The WhatsApp team first started the business with only 30 full-time and 5-part time members. At the time, they were working hard from a small office space in Mountain View. In order to focus on growth, the founders outsourced the development to Igor Solomennikov from Russia for a fraction of the cost. Igor was hired to be on top of developing the iPhone version of the app, and its core functionality, including the messaging and notification features. He also worked closely with both founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, to make sure that the version they were making was user-friendly and reliable. Eventually, his contributions have borne fruit, and propelled WhatsApp to be one of the most popular apps in the world.  

How did outsourcing help WhatsApp? 

By outsourcing specific tasks, and just focusing on the core competencies, WhatsApp founders were able to run their business more efficiently. If you are curious, allow us to share how the move helped their growth: 

Access to skilled professionals

The in-house team lacked expertise in areas such as iOS development, server infrastructure management, and graphic design. By outsourcing these tasks, they were able to work with skilled professionals that could bring in the work they needed and complete the vision for WhatsApp. Fast forward to today, and you can say that they made the right choice.

More time saved

A lot of time goes into learning the ropes. When the WhatsApp team outsourced the development, they not only gained access to skilled professionals, but as a result, they were also able to save their time and resources. As a startup, it is already a given that the financial resources were limited. If they had tried to do everything in-house, that could have launched later than planned or messed up along the way. Their move saved them time and allowed them to focus on the core functionality of the app and on growing the user base.

An agile organizational structure 

Building a new department in a startup is a huge consideration. For WhatsApp, they pushed this out of the picture and maintained their lean and agile organizational structure. There wasn’t a need to hire many additional employees or come up with a separate department to handle the specific function they wanted. Outsourcing makes the job easier because it gave them flexibility, and also allowed them to quickly adapt to the changes in the market. 

Reduced costs 

Imagine not knowing how to complete a certain function that you need to learn it, and also invest in additional hardware. That’s difficult! What if there was a way to get you what you want at a fraction of the cost? Well, that was the solution outsourcing presented. The WhatsApp team didn’t need to invest in expensive server hardware and maintenance costs. They just focused on scaling their operations quickly and efficiently while working with their main man every step of the way! Sounds like a pretty solid plan. 

Outsourcing isn’t perfect. There are also risks. 

This move definitely offers a lot of enticing benefits, but it still pays to know about the risks before outsourcing functions in your business right away. 

For WhatsApp, outsourcing the server infrastructure is a thing of concern because there is a risk of data security. This is applicable especially to tech startups, with the example of a messaging app, because it stores a vast amount of personal data, including user messages, contacts, and media files. Make sure you are partnering with a group that can and will protect data to avoid any data breach that could damage your reputation or result in significant financial loss. 

Do your due diligence and work with a reputable third-party provider with a proven track record in the industry. 

Future startups could learn from WhatsApp’s outsourcing strategy 

If you are looking for a way to reduce costs and scale your operations quickly, then you might want to consider outsourcing. 

Software development isn’t applicable to all companies, so try to find something that your in-house team could use some help on, and connect with skilled professionals who can completely and efficiently complete the task for you. Should you decide to outsource, plan ahead to mitigate any kind of risk! 

Got an outsourcing plan? Talk to us at KamelBPO!

Our KamelBPO  team is an expert at getting the most experienced individuals who are dedicated to seeing your organization grow and succeed. They can effectively perform their tasks remotely, and you do not need to compromise on quality. 

What are you waiting for? Talk to us today and we’ll be happy to provide you with an affordable quote! We are all about helping you achieve greater success. 

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