You may already know a few variables that you need to consider so as to find the right partner from a large number of software development companies in the market, to help grow your business. But do you ask the right questions? There are a lot of factors to be taken into account before hiring a software provider.
With your business growing, you will eventually have to acquire a software that caters to your business needs. This is basically a race to get your business into the digital realm and expand it.
If you think the first step is to shortlist good companies after a couple of hours in Google, you are off to a shaky start. The first step is to clearly define what your organization needs, taking all aspects related to it into consideration.
- Do you expect a sales boost with the software?
- Do you expect increased operational efficiency or just bring order to the chaos with a software?
There are many things that you can list down.
The second step is “Market Research”. This step is supposed to be time-consuming.
- Find out about the market
- Compare it with your business needs
- Identify the software requirements that work well in the market environment
Now see if a software catering to your requirements already exist. A pre-existing software is a better option than building one from scratch, but make sure it isn’t outdated. If it doesn’t, let’s find a good software company for you.
Once you set out to find a perfect software provider, you can start spending some time on Google searching for good candidates. Once the list is ready, you need to understand each firm you have listed individually. Factors involved are many, and reputation of the firm alone will not cut it. So let’s explore the things you need to know.
Technical Expertise: The most critical factor of software development is Technology. You need to be aware of the technology best suited for your software and the expertise of the software company in this technology. A good company can advise you on what technology works best for your business environment and hardware infrastructure. However, you need to ensure that they can properly leverage this technology to build an apt software.
Company Portfolio: To get a grasp of what the custom software development company is capable of, you can ask for their portfolio, which should include information on:
- Their past projects/success stories
- The technologies they used and how it benefitted their clients
- Client testimonials
- Company lifespan and industry experience
- Their pricing structures
Do a deep research to get an idea of their competency. A good company will have developed unique development methodologies to ensure the completion of a project on time. You need to make sure they don’t compromise quality for on-time completion. If they have offshore development centers, you can get products at generally lower production, delivery and testing costs.
Status Update & Delivery: You should make sure that the software company in question can give you regular status updates regarding development until delivery. There are many firms that offer transparent development methodologies where you will be able to see the progress and call for modifications whenever and wherever necessary. Make sure they complete each phase of development on time.
You don’t need to tolerate excuses for not delivering on time, as on-time delivery is very important. Even after getting the product, you may need more time to get your own employees trained to use the application. It should be specifically stated during the negotiations and in the contract. Certain companies can give a working prototype so you can start training your employees while the software firm finishes up with a fully functional product.
Pre and Post-development Support: Pre-development support is important but rare to find. Competent firms can give you complimentary or paid advisory services where experts will let you know the pros and cons of using a particular technology for software development, how the software will operate in changing business environments etc.
Know that delivery or installation of the final product isn’t where the deal ends between you and the software company. Companies usually give you a walk-through of the software and its features before closing the deal. But it’s better to make sure they also offer post-development support services like helping you with application configuration, maintenance and backup, and future upgrades etc.
Mind you that these are not the only variables to take into account. There are many others including flexibility, project management etc. However, the ones mentioned are the most critical while choosing a right software provider.
The race ends here but it’s up to you to discuss every aforementioned aspects with a prospective software provider, get clarifications and negotiate the cost of their service before including them all duly in the papers and getting them signed.