If you conduct a search for ‘software vendor’ on Google, you will be bombarded by tens if not hundreds of different companies seeking to become your development partner. All of them promise to build your custom software on time, on budget and offer technical support. However, there is little you can garner about what the actual experience will look like. So how do you go about choosing the right software solutions partner?
There are many reasons why companies outsource software building projects. In many cases, software development is not at the core of their business. Therefore, they prefer not to hire internal staff and instead give the work to a software solutions partner. In other cases, they may have an internal team but the scope of the project is too large that it would overwhelm internal staff members. Outsourcing, therefore, remains the most suitable option.
Software development contracts are huge capital investments. You can rely on gut feeling when entrusting the work to a given team. As such, there are a few items that must check out when putting up a list of potential software solutions partners.
Experience in Development
For every potential software solution partner, get a list of projects they have worked on previously. Find out how long they have been in the industry. Serious development partners should be able to provide detailed case studies of problems they have solved. Give more weight to projects aligned to your industry.
In addition, consider whether there are renowned industry leaders in their development teams because that adds credibility as to their understanding of business problems. Take time to speak to people within those companies to get a feel of their workflow to find out if it is a good fit for your style of work. Is there bureaucratic tape? Do they have a record on consistent timely deliveries?
Software development companies will have a pricing regime that signals the kind of clients they are targeting. As such, your company’s software solutions budget will determine the tier of software solutions partner you go for. Still, potential partners should be able to break down their quotations in detail to justify their total.
A good partner should be able to tailor-make their services to suit your budget. They can advise you on what services to prioritize and what can be handled later. Be careful not to always go for the lowest bid because some companies actively try to undercut competition and end up bidding an amount that ends up constraining their resources for the project. The best partner should be looking to build a long-term working engagement.
Software Solution Partner’s Location and Accessibility
This is an important consideration that will matter most after completion of the development phase. The development team should interact with your team regularly to understand your workflow prior to build a software solution. Afterwards they need to come on ground to see how the software adapts to a real-world environment. Their observation might inform a new release of the software.
A physical location close to your office is ideal. However, it is possible to work with an offshore company that has appropriate video-conferencing facilities. If the software solutions partner and the client are in different time-zones, they need to figure out how they will work around that to ensure seamless communication. In most cases, the solutions partner has an around the clock desk-support team to assist with any client queries.
Respect and Priority Received
Before signing up with a partner, it is crucial to have at least a few meetings with them to assess the level of attention your company receives. In some cases, the software solution partner is willing to assign a relationship manager to you. This is always a good sign because such a person is not part of the sales team. They understand the technicalities of your project and are always available to tackle your queries.
A bad choice would be a company where your contract is too small relative to other clients and as such the software company is unwilling to allocate valuable human resources exclusively to your project. The level of communication, speed of response, and other signals will indicate how important your business is to them.
The Vision of the Software Solutions Partner
It is important to find out the history of the software company and plans for their future. Are they looking to specialize in a certain niche? An example would be a company that exclusively makes financial technology solutions. Did they get where they are through organic growth or a series of acquisitions?
It is best to work with a company which is known to build solutions in your niche. A company that attempts to spread itself too wide might end up never building excellent solutions in any field.
75% of software projects never succeed. Hiring the right partner might be the first step to avoid joining the statistic. You should never rush to shake hands on a software development deal no matter the price. It is best to have a committee of experts within your company to review bids from different vendors. Even when working with a vendor that has provided services before, each project must be reviewed for objectives by the committee. It must also be reviewed after delivery.
Some vendors are quick to throw around trendy words and focus too much on using the latest technologies when working on projects. Client companies must be knowledgeable enough to realize when such a case is happening. Trendy does not mean appropriate. The right software solutions partner will recommend the right technology for a project and give sufficient reason if asked of them.
If your company needs help with custom software solutions, check out Transcendent Software. We are an experienced software consulting and development firm with over twenty years of experience. We help businesses build and use the best technology to improve their workflow.