10 Things to Consider When Hiring a Custom Software and Web Development Company

The field of software development is over saturated, companies are popping up all over the place, and each one considers themselves an “expert”. But beneath the jazzy aesthetics of their web design and colorful sales pitch, how can you be sure this is they are the right fit for your business? Are they more for the image, or the results? Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking to hire a custom software development company.

1. Customization

Every company is different, so is the development team you’re looking to hire just going to place you into a structure and mold they already have set up, or are they going to do what works best for you? Make sure they are able to give you the product that you want. Do not lower your expectations or settle, remember, they are working for you.

 2. Trust

Where did you learn about the company, did you just Google the name or did you hear about them through a friends friend, make sure you know who you are dealing with. Make sure you have seen their projects and their resumes. Ask for references, if they have nothing to hide, they should have no problem handing a few names over.

3. Efficiency

Is the company comprised of a thousand employees and your project is set to the back burner? Or is your product a priority have you seen a timeline that has exact breakdowns of each step of the process. Weekly updates are standard, and you should have a contact person that you are easily able to reach. Time is money and the longer they take to drag out the project, the more expensive it’ll be.

4. Cost

How does your software development team financially compare to others? Are their prices right on point? Do your research, shop around. Most prices are negotiable so see who can give you the most for your money.

 5. Sales Driven

Is your website sales or aesthetics driven? Technically it should be both, but the real point and focus of a website is to achieve sales. The development company needs to understand your company’s vision and create an adequate plan to achieve it.

 6. Bang-for-your buck

Some development companies look to just build a site, and cash the check. But nowadays, there is so much more development teams need to be wary of, including SEO, paid search, and site traffic. Have you seen their plan as to how they will obtain those? It is crucial as an investment that they are equally as focused on the function of your site within the Internet.

7. The Future

After the project is complete do they cut you loose, or are they interested in installation, implementation and training? If you are unaware of how to work the product or there are consistent problems, what was the point of investing the money! You need to see your return, and the company should value their clients (and if they will recommend their name to others) to make sure follow up is integral.

8. The Process

Are they with you throughout the process, do they ask questions and seem interested? Are they dependable? Are they there when you need them? Do they answer your questions, are you happy with their answers? Make sure that you are communicative about any apprehension, most software development companies are handling multiple accounts at a time, and the majority are not trying to leave you in the dark, they are trying to balance.

9. Passion

When you discuss your project, are they excited? Do they share the same passion? Some development teams are only looking for a quick sale, those are the contracts with lots of earmarks and give you the gut feeling something is wrong.

10. Don’t Settle

Just because you hear one flashy sales pitch from a development team, don’t jump to the gun, shop around. Once you’ve heard a few more pitches you may hear something offered that you didn’t even think you’d need.

If you are looking for a team of expert custom software and web developers, please contact us today for a FREE consultation and quote.

5 Reasons To Use Open Source Software for Your Business

As advancements are made in open source software and development, many businesses are seeing the overwhelming benefit to using a custom program, rather than a proprietary system. Open source software is software whose source code is available for modification or enhancement by anyone. Along with being more cost efficient and secure, these products embrace rapid prototyping, transparency and development. For example, Jeffrey Hammond, a Forrester Research analyst specializing in application development and delivery says, “How can Netflix charge as little as $8 per month for its service? Because everything is built on open-source software. They focused on content , not building an operating system or a testing framework.”

With the right open source programming team, creating a custom program is simple, they just need to rewrite the source codes. Source codes are the part of the software that most computer users don’t ever see. It’s the code computer programmers can manipulate to change how a piece of software works. Programmers who have access to a computer program’s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don’t always work correctly. Once completed, you have a custom software that works exactly how you want it to.

nochallenge technology open source

Here are the five reasons why your business should consider open source systems over proprietary software.

1. It’s Cost Efficient

Between the cost of the software, licensing, virus protections and ongoing upgrade expenses, the cost of proprietary systems add up quick. Additionally, the software still contains flaws and limits your abilities. With an open source system, you can sideline these costs, all while getting a customized product that will ensure growth and productivity.

2. It Allows Flexibility

After you make the investment in the proprietary software that you feel best suits your business, you’re then locked into a system that is concrete, rigid, constantly needs upgrades and may contain unspecified bugs. Open source programs keep an open code so you can constantly go in, rewrite the code so as your business changes and adapts, so will your software system.

3. It’s More Secure

With proprietary software no one outside of the company knows how many bugs the program contains. Bugs in open source software tend to get fixed immediately. Versus a program like Microsoft, which typically takes weeks if not months to patch vulnerabilities.

4. Problems? No Problem.

With the popularity of open source software, there is plenty of support through forums, and live support chats. For businesses that want extra assurance, there are now paid support options on most open source packages at prices that still fall far below what most proprietary vendors will charge. Providers of commercial support for open source software tend to me more responsive since support is where their revenue is focused.

5. A Product You’re Proud Of

Open source allows you to tweak the software to suit your needs. With its open code, it’s simply a matter of modifying it to add the functionality you want. It puts you in a unique position. This customization allows you to develop the applications quickly, reliably and economically to grow with the expansion of your business.

For your custom software development project, contact us today.

3 Reasons to Invest in Custom Software Development

Your business is unique. You do something for your customers much better than others do, and that’s why you’re in business. Whether you own a window cleaning company, work as a professional in education, or run a healthcare clinic, you are providing value to someone, and in return, you are getting paid. Your value proposition is presumably much different than that of your competitors. So to manage this unique value proposition, it may be time to consider an investment in software customized to fit your business, your customer’s needs, and even the industry in which you work. Let’s discuss why you should explore opportunities to invest in custom software.

1. Competitive Advantage 

Some business functions are fairly standard, such as accounting.  Our company uses intuit.com for all our bookkeeping needs, and you probably use the same (or similar) software. But the non-standard business functions you perform likely provide your competitive advantage, so those non-standard functions require a non-standard approach.

For example, a client of ours manages the inventory (i.e. lamps and sofas) of many interior designers. Before they were our client, however, they were managing their customers, inventory, and work orders with a standard, off-the-shelf inventory software package which didn’t fit their business very well.  They soon realized they were adjusting their business model to fit the confines of their software, rather than letting the software actually support their specialized services.  By compromising to the one-size fits all software package, they were not fully realizing the competitive advantage they had to offer.

So they made a strategic decision to invest in a custom software project with us.  We studied their business model and provided a unique solution that set them up for rapid growth, reduced costs, streamlined operations, and a dramatically better customer experience. They have now filed an IP (Intellectual Property) patent for the software and in doing so, have greatly separated themselves from their competitors and increased their company’s value.

If you are looking to set yourself apart from the competition, look at the touch points where your software (or manual procedures) limits or hinders your business, and then look to a custom software solution to drive your business forward.  Custom software development is an investment, not an expense.

2. Respond to Change

The rapid growth of technology and telecommunications and tighter government regulations means our business environment is changing. Continuously. If your business isn’t keeping up with these changes, you are quickly at risk of falling behind.  Staying competitive means you must be prepared to change faster than your competitors.  Businesses who use an off-the-shelf software package to manage their business are then inherently tied to that software vendor’s release cycle (meaning vendors make updates based on their own timeline, not their clients’). Or, those businesses will have to pay exorbitant costs for a custom change to the software, which is often a lengthy and complicated experience.

However, businesses with their own custom software and an excellent relationship with their software development firm are able to respond to change quickly.  The development firm will know their current software and business intimately (meaning you won’t be starting from scratch explaining your business needs or your competitive advantage). They’ll work with you to create the next round of updates, schedule them imminently, and be ready to start the process again when the need arises.

Look for opportunities within your business where change is frequent and see how your software accommodates those dynamics. Then, look at how a custom software solution will put you back in control of your schedule, your changes, and your ability to remain swiftly competitive.

3. Additional Revenue Generation (problem solving turns into revenue)

Once you’ve invested in custom software and created a solution that performs something faster, cheaper, and with highest industry quality standards, it makes perfect sense to secure your IP (Intellectual Property) rights. You can make an industry impact—and augment your own revenue stream—by selling the software to your competitors through licensing fees.

Just imagine: everyone in the industry faced the same problem you did; but you invested in custom software to create a solution. Now you own the IP rights, so why not create a new market for yourself and profit from your custom software solution?  By investing in a custom software product, you’ve evolved your business, launched ahead of your competition, and created a new revenue stream.  In essence, you’ve turned your initial business problem into an exciting investment.

If you are interested in further discussing the opportunities that a custom software solution could present to your business, please call (952) 855-9393 or contact us.  Let’s explore the potential together.