Custom Software Services
Businesses across most industries have more growth opportunities than they’ve had in generations. What’s fueling all of this? Digital transformation.
However along with all of this opportunity comes new, unprecedented challenges where disruption is lurking around nearly every corner.
It’s very common for executives and entrepreneurs to feel conflicted. A mobile-first, digital-first world almost overnight opens up their pool of potential clients and employees to a much wider geographic area — in some cases, even national or global.
The same door-opening power of the digital economy doesn’t just bring Amazon-like competition. It opens the doors for indirect competitors to disrupt your core business model.
Is your company prepared to do what’s needed to compete and win in the marketplace? Or is it clinging to nearly-obsolete teams, processes, and technology — and wishful thinking? (Basically, living in the past?)
Most business leaders recognize that IT has become a strategic necessity. However off-the-shelf software as a service (SaaS) platforms are often built around the needs of very small businesses — less than 50 employees — and woefully inadequate for the unique needs of mid-market companies.
Are you frustrated because you want to grow faster, but your IT systems are holding your company back? If so, you may need custom software services a lot more than you realize.
Step 1: Discover and Analysis
Step 1 includes the exploratory meeting, the discovery meeting, the report, and the proposal for Step 2. During this first step, we learn about the clients, their problems and goals, how we can help, and the expected benefits.
Every successful custom software development project starts with the right approach to process and strategy. Most enterprise-sized, Fortune 1000 companies will have an annual budget for software.
However mid-market companies are entirely different in that they typically only budget for using software — not creating their own software. As a result, mid-market companies are often not building the kind of software tools and platforms that they need for improving business processes, addressing challenges, achieving their goals, lowering costs, empowering employees, remaining competitive, and driving revenue growth.
While smaller companies may be well-served by commercial, canned, off-the-shelf, software as a service (SaaS) offerings, mid-market companies are often frustrated by the inability of packaged software to address their unique business challenges.
Step 2: Prototyping and Requirements
Step 2 includes building project RACI chart and setting up an efficient two-way communication with the client stakeholders. The deliverables of this stage are the Business Requirements Document (BRD), a high fidelity functional prototype, and an offer for Step 3 with a guaranteed budget and estimate for Step 4.
Successful custom software development projects always start by taking the right approach to process and strategy. For most companies, this process and strategy include an Exploratory Meeting, Discovery Consultation, as well as Requirements and Visualization.
By the time a custom software developer has worked through Requirements and Visualization with a client, that client has a functioning prototype of their future system. And just as important, once the prototype is approved, the client will understand the exact, guaranteed budget required to move forward with their custom software development investment.
Then, and only then, will the custom software development team be in a position to turn its attention to design.
Step 3: Implementation
Implementation includes identifying the project management approach (software, meeting schedule, demos), UI/UX design, development, fixing issues, and setting up servers. The deliverable at the end of Step 3 is a working product.
While some companies jump directly into custom software development, initiatives that focus on solving business problems and achieving business goals need to start by focusing on process, strategy, and design.
Historically, mid-market companies have underinvested in IT. This is unfortunate because the mid-market typically can dramatically out-spend their small business competitors while outmaneuvering their slow-to-change enterprise competitors.
Expectations have changed, and many companies are falling behind.
Is your company prepared to survive and thrive in a digital-first world?
Step 4: Support and Maintenance
This includes backlog management, enhancing the system with new features, fixing issues, and setting up Level 1-3 support if needed.
Once upon a time, off-the-shelf and custom software applications received major upgrades every two to three years, with minor maintenance updates and patches issued a few times each year. Those days are long gone — stuck in the back of the storage closet between the stack of dial-up modems and dot matrix printers.
Between evolving business needs, competitive realities, IT needs following mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations, integrations, and new security vulnerabilities, custom software support, administration, and maintenance is now a continuous, non-stop initiative.