Custom software helps companies set themselves apart from the competition. Outsourcing your development needs to a third party can help streamline processes, track workflows, and increase productivity.
You want a product on your terms that meets your requirements. There are certain things to look for in a software developer:
1. What experience do they bring?
This means not just how long they’ve been in the software business, but what kind of experience they have with the type of software you’re looking for. Quality development requires programming from the ground up, not just patching together code snippets behind a user interface.
There’s a lot involved in this, such as data integrity, security, error handling, and cross-platform compatibility. The more experience a development team has in customizing a certain type of system, the higher the quality of their product. Be sure to ask about past development in similar projects, as well as the experience of the programmers involved.
2. Do they understand your industry?
Outside developers also need to be familiar with your industry. They need to be aware of current trends, regulations, common service issues, and customer expectations. For example, the requirements for a healthcare system will be very different from those of a construction company.
Ask just how much industry knowledge your developers bring to the table. They should at least be willing to learn whatever information you can give them. Instead of being focused on the latest technology or flashiest interfaces, they should deliver a solution that supports your brand within your industry.
3. What do they recommend?
An experienced agency should have clear ideas on how to best meet your requirements. Their developers should determine quickly what frameworks, protocols, and platforms will deliver the best value. They should be able to explain to you the current technical standards, understand exactly what needs to be done, and outline the steps they’ll take to get there.
Be wary of developers who try to sell you an out-of-the-box solution without taking the time to understand your company and your needs. If you’re pressed for time and money, an existing solution with a few minor changes may work. But the best value will come from a software vendor with a solid grasp of your operations and your expectations.
4. Can they provide accurate price quotes?
The pricing for software development can vary widely, depending on the vendor, the scope of the project, plans for integration, or future maintenance. You want a developer that will give you a fair and comprehensive estimate of your costs. However, if there’s a chance that you’ll be initiating changes mid-project, you should be flexible on your budget.
Custom software can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. You may run out of funds if the agency requires further compensation as projects become more complex. Both sides should be clear on the pricing structure.
5. What level of testing do they conduct?
Thorough testing is necessary to identify and avoid potential failures and security vulnerabilities. They should explore a variety of likely use cases. Checks, including user testing and real data, should be done at every phase to ensure you have the desired speed, capacities, and functionality.
This should include full documentation and accountability on all discovered bugs and fixes. Marginal or no system glitches are rare, and such claims should be viewed with suspicion if adequate testing hasn’t been done.
Even for smaller companies, customized software tools can provide a distinct advantage. Whether it’s a mobile app for customers or in-house analytic tools, only experience and careful attention will ensure that it fits your unique operations.