Having custom software developed for your business gives you a competitive edge in your industry. However, recognizing the need for such software is one thing, and finding the right custom software development company to turn your idea into reality is another.
Finding the right development partner can be a difficult task. Especially now, when there are multiple software companies on the market. When looking for a company to partner with, you will find a lot of firms that offer almost identical services. Below points and a list of questions to ask will help you determine which one of them is the right fit for your project.
Start with identifying your needs
Finding the right custom software development company does not necessarily mean searching for the best, largest or most famous one. The firm of your choice must be the right fit for your project requirements.
It is why the searching process starts with identifying your company needs, business objectives and a clear definition of what kind of product you want to receive at the end. Spending time with your team and stakeholders to form a clear idea about the project will help you find the right development partner. It will also make this process easier and efficient for the parties involved.
Think about the software you want to develop from your business objectives perspective. What features and functionalities will enable your business to optimize and streamline operations, allow you to interact with your customers better, grow and increase your revenue.
Estimate the budget and time importance
Once you define requirements, the next step is estimating the budget and the importance of time. Based on your business objectives, you might want to release software in a relatively short time, for example, you might need it just before you enter the new market. Alternatively, you might not be limited in time in such a way and have more flexibility with it. Deciding on the budget range and the importance of time will help you determine the approximate size of the company you want to hire for your project.
The cost of development depends on a few aspects. One of them is the size and profile of a custom software development company. The hourly rate might vary from $25 to as much as $800. Big businesses and enterprises charge the most, while middle-sized and small tech companies usually have a lower rate.
On the other hand, big companies have more human resources and thus can accommodate the needs of the clients in a quicker phase.
You can narrow down your research and decide if you need a small, mid-sized, or big company based on your requirements, budget, and the urgency of releasing the software.
Decide on the partnership model
You have a choice between hiring the local custom software development firm and sending your project overseas. Partnering with local/onshore and offshore companies have their benefits and downsides.
Usually, companies choose to hire offshore companies as outsourcing allows them to cut expenses without sacrificing quality or time. When deciding to approach an offshore company, you need to consider the geographical location. You might prefer to choose a firm that is relatively in the same time zone (or there is a few hour difference). This way, communication between you and the development firm will be much easier and faster.
Depending on the software you want to develop, you might prefer to hire an onshore or offshore company. If your project requires close communication and heavy collaboration with the vendor, you might choose to hire a company that operates from your local area. However, today many offshore companies are accommodating the need for such collaboration quite effectively.
What to check when choosing the custom software development company
At this point, you have already determined the project specifications, company size and if you want to hire an offshore custom software development company or a local one. There are multiple ways to find prospective companies, including referrals, company listings or online search. After your research, you might end up with as much as ten companies on the list of possible vendors. Sometimes, even more.
Review company portfolio
Checking a company portfolio before you approach them is always a good idea. First and foremost, by this, you can find out how experienced the company is. The more project they showcase, the longer they have been in software development. It hints at stability and experience. On the contrary, newly established companies with a small number of projects in their portfolio might not have enough experience to handle new issues promptly.
By looking at the company portfolio, you get an idea of what kind of clients they work with. What type of projects they have completed in the past and which technologies they use.
Check company reviews
Naturally, when evaluating a custom software development company, you check it's website, services, past work and maybe ask for a recommendation. However, it is always a good idea to check the company profile on reputable listings and directories. For example, you can check Top United Kingdom Digital Agencies to see the company expertise and service quality. Such websites showcase the work of the companies and often have verified client reviews.
Request a free consultation and compare offers
After evaluating companies, you might end up with just several firms on your list. It is a good time to contact them and request a quote.
Compare different offers with each other and see which one suits your needs the best. At the first stage of comparison, many companies are prompt to go with the cheaper option. Particularly the ones that did not have experience of developing software in the past. Beware of the companies that have unnaturally low prices. Carefully examine the offer. See how professionally will the team handle your request.
Questions to ask when choosing the development company
When you are searching for the best custom software development company, there's only so much you can find out about it on the internet. It is important to ask a few questions to find more about their team, development processes, expertise and past experiences.
Here are what questions to ask when choosing the development company:
1. How is the team formed, and what are its capabilities?
When hiring a software firm, many companies focus on development and developers. However, they are not the only ones who will be working on turning your idea into reality. Usually, the other key capabilities you need are project management, solutions architecture, business analysis, user interface and user experience design (UI/UX), quality assurance and testing.
Before you decide to contract the company of your choice, make sure that they have all these capabilities (and more of what your project requires) in house.
2. What is the management approach and methodology?
Today the top custom software development companies use agile methodology. However, it is always a good idea to ask and find out more about their management approach and methodology. Ask about the structure and how they organize the process. It will help you get a clear idea about what to expect from the vendor and what the company expects of you.
3. What will be your involvement in the development process?
This question is for you to clarify what will be your role in the development process. Usually, it depends on a few things: Do you have development resources in house, is the software firm developing software with you or for you, what is their methodology and approach. Asking these questions to yourself and clarifying these terms with the vendor will not leave any room for future misunderstandings.
4. What technology stack does the company use?
Today technologies change faster than ever. New tools and ways of development are emerging, and it is not easy to keep up with them. Ideally, your software development partner should be the one that follows the new tech trends closely. You do not want to develop your software with outdated technologies, as it will become harder and harder to maintain it over time.
Find out more about the technology stack that the company offers. However, it does not mean that you should only ensure that they have the tech stack that you need for your project. Check if you can spot the new technologies on the list. It will show you if they have the capability of learning and implementing innovative solutions. Ask if the company has created a project that is similar to what you want to develop. How did they handle it? Which technologies did they use?
5. How do they handle testing and quality assurance?
When choosing a custom software development company, the big emphasis is on the overall company experience. Testing and quality assurance are often overlooked. However, it is one of the main components of developing successful software. Quality assurance and testing help companies find and fix errors in the system quickly. As a result, the development process goes faster, and the final product is more quality. Ask about the quality assurance team, tools, manual and automated testing, and processes.
6. How do they handle data and technology security?
Last but not least, ask about the data and technology security. Authentically it should be your top priority to hire a company that follows security protocol in scrutiny. It is even more important if you are working with sensitive data.
Ensure that the company of your choice has advanced security features and has experience in sophisticated encryption and vulnerability testing. Look into the security features and choose a custom software development company that has a demonstrated cybersecurity expertise.
Clarify the contract terms
The contract should include every detail about your entire software project. Including the contract terms, the timeline of development, price breakdown and payment terms, statement of work, intellectual property and required materials. In other words, the contract should outline everything about the project, and there should not be any grey areas.
The quality, value and success of your custom software highly depend on the custom software development company. It should accommodate your needs and have the experience and expertise it takes to develop your unique project. While it is not easy to find such a company, these points will assist you in the searching process.