Businesses rely on technology more than they ever have before, and software is right at the heart of it. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that most companies nowadays could not function without the apps and platforms they use to run and manage day-to-day tasks.
Given this importance, businesses naturally want to get the right software to do each job required. Here they have a choice – buy an off-the-shelf product, which comes prefabricated and ready to run but which may have features and functions which are either unsuited to or irrelevant to how they operate. Or alternatively, they can develop their own software solutions tailored to meet their precise needs.
Custom software development is a technically advanced process. It means hiring in a development partner and can involve considerable investment. But the rewards are bespoke software suites which work exactly the way you want them to, boosting efficiency and output by reducing waste and duplication in your IT processes.
Taking the leap into custom software development is a big decision for any business. Here are some important tips for getting it right and hiring the right partner.
Focus on business objectives
Custom software development is not something you take on for the sake of it. To reap the rewards, you have to have a clear sense of what you want to achieve and hire a development partner that is prepared to get under the skin of what you want and how your business works. Development should be guided by wider strategic goals with measurable objectives.
Be clear about what you want to achieve
Establishing a good, open working relationship with your development partner is crucial. It is essential that you establish strong lines of communication as the process relies on you explaining what you want, and then them applying their technical skills to put it into action. If you miss anything out or you are uncertain about your objectives, things will quickly become lost in translation.
Expect and listen to advice
The programming specialists you hire are the experts in their field. As part of the deal, you can expect them to be proactive in giving you advice and feedback on your ideas, to take the time to explain different options available, to be transparent about what they’re working on and overall help you to better understand how the solution they are building will actually help your business. Alarm bells should ring if a developer is always waiting for you to make suggestions, agrees with everything you say and does little by way of explaining the technical side of their work.
Take a long term view
It is very unlikely that a single customised piece of software will make a radically noticeable difference to your business. The effects of custom software development are cumulative, the more you shape your software assets to fit the strategic and operational needs of your business, the more of an impact it will have. Don’t expect miracles right away, and choose a partner with a long-term relationship in mind.