Adopting bespoke software can give your business a big productivity boost, and give you a competitive advantage in your industry. But such software can come with a hefty price tag, so it’s important to make sure that it performs exactly the way you need it to. One of the most important steps in getting the right bespoke software for your business is choosing a suitable software development company.
Why is this so important? Simply because the development company you choose is the team you’ll work with for weeks and months as they work on the software. And more importantly, because the team you choose is going to build a software product that could vastly improve how your business operates. If you choose poorly, you risk ending up with badly-written, buggy software that doesn’t help your business at all.
Choose Software Developers Based on a Referral
Depending on the industry in which you work—and the kind of software you need—you may be able to talk to people in your peer network about their experiences hiring a software development team. If they’ve had a good experience with a particular company, this can be a good way of speeding up the selection process. However, this only applies if you have a referral for a company that can actually make the software product you want, so this isn’t necessarily a method you can rely on for results—it’s just a possibility you can check out as you vet other development companies.
What to Look for in a Software Development Company
The Right Size
The size of the company you work with is important for a couple of reasons. One is that the company needs to be large enough that it can field a team that’s capable of building the software you need. A very small development team may not be capable of delivering what you need, which means you may be taking a risk if you hire them. On the other hand, a very large company is likely to have the people and the resources to complete your project, but still, it’s no guarantee that they can deliver—there are still other points to consider.
Another reason that size is important is that to a very large software development company, your business may be just a small fish—meaning you may not be high on their priority list, and your project may not get the level of personal attention you want.
And, look for a company that’s growing slowly but steadily, rather than one that has grown rapidly in a short period of time. Rapid growth is unsustainable, and it can lead to instability that might end up jeopardising your project.
It may be tempting to go offshore in order to find a cheaper company, but there’s much more than price to consider. Offshoring means working with a distant company, making real-time communication more difficult, and potentially more costly. Choosing a local UK company, or a European company, is a better bet, as it’s easier to check on the company’s credentials, easier to communicate, and to ensure you end up with a quality product.
Reviews and case studies
Look to websites to find reviews of software development companies. This can help you locate well-rated, reputable companies, and can also help you figure out which companies are more suitable for your needs.
Make sure to check the company’s website, and take a close look at its portfolio. A solid company should have a solid portfolio too, with more than just a few case studies. This can be an indication of how seriously the company takes its job, and how committed it is to deliver on customers requirements. How credible can a company be if it’s unable to use past achievements as proof of skill?
Once you have a shortlist, you can contact them to discuss your project, and get quotes. Then it’s time to compare quotes and make your final choice.
Should you go for the cheapest quote in order to save money? It depends. If all the teams on your shortlist are quality companies that tick all the right boxes, it might be fine to pick the cheapest quote. But don’t let price be your only consideration. Don’t sacrifice quality in order to save money. Your business’s success may depend on this software, so it’s vital that you get exactly the outcome that you need.
In some cases, a low-ball offer might be low because the company retains the rights to the software it creates. Is this something you’re willing to allow, or do you want to own the software outright? Bear in mind that if the company retains the rights, it may mean you have to purchase a license to use it—even if you’ve commissioned the software and paid for its development.
If you’d like to discuss any bespoke software with us, feel free to get in touch! Our team of developers would be happy to help.