Custom Software Development – The Easy Way to Expand Your Business, Giving Alternative Dimensions

For giving alternative dimensions and directions to your business, the need of a custom software that will take care of your business efficiently handling all the customer requisitions and also meeting all the typical needs of your company management. Custom software Development can be done by an in-house software development group or team who will come up with the best possible solution software that will help you to expand your business and also increase the annual turnover for your company. Now one may ask – what is software and what is so special about it?

Custom software which is also known as bespoke software is not a mass produced software solution that will be available for you in the market. The mass produced application will not be able to meet the needs of your company or business. These needs are most of the times very much unique and typical for your company only. There are many companies who use the software as they need to meet the special norms for their various company departments such as management needs, sales department needs, designing department and all these different departments may require different approachable software that will fulfill the needs that particular department has in itself.

Since the fact that the need of a client can be so typical and unique, the custom software development is of necessity and as the software is being developed reminding the terms and expectations of a particular company it may not work or round up as well for some other company. Custom application development is a kind of technical solutions that are being supplied by some of the in-house software development teams and the software is being developed under the certification of and software developer.

The custom software development is so purposefully done as it will accommodate the various typical needs of a single user or typically the requirements of a business management. Thus this software is much more expensive as they would differ completely from the mass product application that is available in the market and is developed keeping in mind the typical requirements of the client. The approach from the application will certainly able to meet the client’s specific requirements and expectations.

The development of application is based on the fact of developing a typical requirement fulfilling software that is developed with the help of certain available software packages of mass market such as commercial-off-the-shelf software and the software will cost much more than the average COTS software as they may be developed from the commercial software packages but they have the different approach. Custom development of software is done in a step by step manner, allowing all the nuances and the hidden dangers to be taken into account, keeping in mind all the personal preferences as well as the issues that was not specified by the customer.

Advice on Successfully Choosing an Offshore Partner for Outsourcing Software Development

The thought of outsourcing software development to an offshore development company may be daunting. The following tips may make this decision easier for you as you can check whether potential software development outsourcing partners meet the criteria listed below.

One of the most important factors is the quality of development. Most companies seek stable, reliable long-term relations and demand the same high level of quality that their own in-house developers would produce. However, in reality, a new offshore partner always presents the risk of exactly the opposite. From my own experience as the CEO of an outsourcing software development company, which has been operating for many years, I know that it is very difficult or even impossible for a company (for instance, an IT company in Europe or the United States) to be absolutely sure that a potential new partner in India, China, Russia or elsewhere can really deliver top quality. The following advice, however, might help you build successful business relationships with offshore development companies.

The first step should be to research the potential company online. Check the year of their domain registration because sometimes offshore companies state on their website that they have about 10 years of experience, but strangely their domain was only registered the previous year. It is also important to divide all providers of offshore outsourcing software development into two categories: developer groups and legitimate companies with a brand name and reputation. You should be aware from the start who you are working with. Developer groups are unstable and often not very reliable. Their expertise is difficult to verify since the quality varies from one individual developer to the next. If a good developer leaves the team in the middle of your project, deadlines and development quality are likely to be impacted significantly. Developer groups charge less for their services than actual offshore outsourcing companies, and though such groups might work well for small-scale projects (ranging from USD 1,000 to 10,000), they often disappear unexpectedly. Developer groups tend to advertise themselves as reliable and qualified with many years of work experience. If you only have small projects to outsource, I do recommend looking into working with a group of developers. If you do your research well and choose the right group, this can indeed be a very cost-effective option.

However, if you are looking for someone to develop a larger project with a prospective timeframe of three months or longer, I urge you to work with a legitimate offshore company rather than a group of developers. The problems than can result from a developer group disappearing mid-project, not meeting your deadlines, or not delivering the high quality that you need is simply not worth the lower cost.

To minimize this risk, I recommend that you outsource any large projects or long-term development only to large and established companies with a good reputation (good references, big clients, good reputation online, older domain name, etc.). Such companies usually have well-organized software development processes in place and are known to follow modern methodologies and best practices of software development. The most qualified software developers often work in established companies rather than freelancing or working in small groups of developers. When faced with complex projects or unusual tasks, working in a company provides the benefit of always having someone to go to for advice on a specific technical problem. This is only one of the reasons why companies tend to consistently deliver better quality.

Some additional points to keep in mind:

1. If a service provider gives you a price and timeframe for the project but does not include a detailed estimate of the time and costs required for the individual tasks, doubts about the qualification of that particular partner are completely justified. Such a company might not meet deadlines or deliver high-quality software solutions.

2. Development should always include testing. In some cases, testing and bug fixing make up 50 percent of the entire project implementation period. An experienced and professional company knows that extensive testing is absolutely vital in the development of complex projects and puts the necessary QA measures in place.

3. Check the company’s portfolio. I highly recommend finding a company that has already developed projects similar to the one you are looking to outsource. The company that best suits your needs is likely to be one that works in the industrial specialization you are seeking for your project.

Do not make the lowest price your priority. Please keep in mind that you get what you pay for. If a company offers a low price, it may be because they are using junior developers rather than senior or mid-level developers. Another reason may be that you are actually dealing with freelancers or developer groups, who work from home and do not have expenses such as rent for office space, taxes, and other costs that a company generally has to bear.

I also urge you to not rush into a business relationship with a new partner (a policy that I follow myself as well). Start step by step by discussing any issues and details that come to mind and deciding on a model and working style that works well for both parties. Following the abovementioned advice will be sure to help you find an offshore software development center that can be a reliable business partner for many years to come.

Communication is another factor that many clients worry about. Even for people speaking the same language, misunderstandings are a fact of life. The risk of misunderstandings increases exponentially when different languages and cultures, and therefore also different preferences and styles of communication, are involved. Simply having English-speaking contacts at your new Offshore Development Center is not enough. The company should have a system in place that fosters communication by means of the appropriate software, such as issue tracking systems, conference call scheduling, Skype chats, etc. Professional companies tend to be very experienced in setting up effective communication measures.

Last but not least, we have to discuss source code security and intellectual property protection, as this can easily become the most important factor of all. When a company plans to outsource its software development and the software to be developed will be based on existing source code, it is essential that this source code as well as any information about clients remains confidential. For this reason, I do not recommend working with groups of developers if confidential information is involved since these developers cannot ensure serious protection of intellectual property nor is their reputation as important to them as it might be to a large company. For example, as the CEO of the company, I sign NDAs along with all of my developers. I believe that it is the right approach for any company. Please be sure to ask your service provider about their approach to NDAs for all employees.

A Guide To Understanding The Process Of Software Development

Many business people don’t fully understand the complexity of a software development process. It’s natural, since specialized books about development are read by developers and other IT people, and many others might still be referring to a software project as ”coding” or ”writing”. With better luck one might add ‘designing’ and ‘testing’. Quite inaccurate.

One can think of several metaphorical comparisons to describe software development, such as writing a book or building a house. Some of them are a good light in the dark, some are rather misleading. And while many people may argue whether creating software is an art, a science, or a precisely elaborated process, we’d leave that choice to someone else. It cannot be described sparsely. But we’ll try to give some descriptions and comparisons in a compact and clear way.

Do We ”Write” Software?

One of the common but rather vague things is comparing creating software with writing. Writing code, writing a book, and so on. You can start writing a book without a plan and go with the flow; with custom software development you cannot, unless developers do a rather small piece of software on their own – and for themselves. Moreover, an outsourced software project never starts with writing code.

Books and software may both have strict deadlines. But once a book is published, what’s written is written; rewriting is not an option. But software keeps being under constant improvement with new versions being released – it’s a natural thing. It’s almost impossible to get every need of your end user, catch up with business and technological changes once and for a lifetime. Books aren’t that dependent on changes; software is. But that’s good: your software, unlike a book, can’t become just another mediocre thing on the market, can’t become irrelevant and outdated. The processes are absolutely different: we prefer using the words ”create” or ”build” software rather than ”write”.

Do We ”Grow” Software?

”Growing” software on a good basis and a good set of documentation is possible to a certain extent. Like with writing, it’s not the best description one can suggest. It partially gets the incremental, agile nature of making and maintaining relevant software. But while ”growing”, the product is rarely tasty until it’s ripe, and the owner has to wait awhile.

The difference is, in software development there are different stages of being ”ripe”. Startups usually demand rolling a minimum viable software product on the market, getting feedback and making corrections and improvements. Each version is more ”ripe” than its predecessor, and it has to be ”watered” by support and maintenance, kept fresh amidst all the business and technological changes.

Do We ”Build” Software?

This one is considered by many specialists the closest way to describe software development, and we can agree with that. Construction works show the huge importance of careful planning, preparing, guiding the work, and performing it. The limits of software depend on how its architecture is constructed. The amount of works doesn’t grow gradually, since every building is different, and requires different approach. There can be a hospital, an office building, a school or a barn, and same physical size doesn’t mean equal amount of labour. Something is done with concrete, something can be done with wood and nails, and the latter doesn’t work well with complex and valuable software for mobile startups and other businesses.

– Everything depends on the kind of a building you need. You need to figure out the problem the software will solve, and conduct the necessary preparations, do market research, gather info, etc. The more complex your software is, the more resources must be spent on planning. Bad planning – and the whole app fails, falls like a house of cards by the first gust of a wind.

– Then you and your chief architect (project manager) can proceed to design that perfectly combines functional requirements and interface, resulting in proper user experience. Sure you want those who will work or live in the building to be fully satisfied with it. Same thing with software. One more good thing, once the design is approved, it’s way easier to give more precise estimations for the remainder of the construction (development) works.

– When furnishing a house, you needn’t building things you can buy: household appliances and furniture. It’s much cheaper and way faster. Same with software: if your software development team is experienced, it will use all the available resources to stay away from writing needless basic things: there are lots of software toolkits, frameworks, classes, and libraries for that, each for a particular case. And if the team means business, they will easily find tools and technologies that will get your tasks done as fast as possible. Custom pieces of furniture take more time and efforts, but in most cases there are already existing pre-built ways to save your time and money without compromising security and efficiency of your software.

– There will always be changes in functional requirements. Again, changes can painlessly happen within the planned architecture. Here we once more emphasize the importance of preparations – although this topic is worthy of a separate article. And we cannot go anywhere without mentioning quality assurance, which constantly checks different aspects of how the software works. What’s more – even a minor change involves testing, so that’s not the place to cut the costs (in fact, QA usually takes about 30% of the whole development time).

– Optimization of software (inner walls of a building) is limited to the approved architecture, and here main expenses are all about labour, not materials. But what you receive in the end is better software and satisfied users. Meanwhile users speak their minds on what they would like the apartments to look – and one should never neglect these opinions.

– One more thing worth noting – a good architect (or a good creative expert in software development) is always ready to consult you on things that should be solved immediately, and what can be left for later without breaking your plans or the quality of your software. You are most likely to not know the subtleties of the technical side – so leave making suggestions and explanations to your team. Unless you are an experienced IT person and you needn’t reading this article to get these insights.

As you can see, the last example is really the closest, and the list of similarities can be continued forever. But the ones we presented here should be enough to understand the process of software development, which is impossible without patience, expertise of the team, and mutual understanding.