In this digitally connected world, where humans are highly dependent on their computers for almost every task, having the correct software running your business is essential for its success.
Right from order booking to acquiring customers to handling customer complaints, businesses are increasingly involving various software today to improve their processes. Your business will be at a significant disadvantage if you do not have the software working perfectly based on your processes.
This is when the need for tailor-made software developed for your business proves necessary and raises the question of whether custom software development is actually expensive or not?
To build the most appropriate custom software that will take your business to new heights, you will need to select an ideal software development partner first. Choosing the right software development company can prove to be a tough task if you don’t know where to look. We have given below the factors that you need to consider before you hire software developers for your project.
Parameters to assess when you choose a software development company
Software is the heart of the new-age businesses, and if the heart is not functioning correctly, then how can you expect the entire body to function smoothly?
Assuming that you have understood the importance of developing custom software, it is equally essential to select a service provider who is adept at the art of software development. Here the issue is that there is a wide range of developers with different expertise, which makes the selection very critical to get it right.
To help you out with this, we, at TopDevelopers.co, have created a list of the top custom software development companies to select the best one that suits your requirements. To help you in your journey, we have come up with five core criteria that you just cannot afford to ignore while selecting your customized software development company.
Define your software development needs
Before you approach a software development company, you must be clear regarding the features and functionalities that you want in your software.
First, make a detailed list of all the software development requirements before you have that first meeting with your development partner.
Get viewpoints of all the stakeholders, which will include your bottom level employees, your managers, your top management, people from various departments like marketing, production, HR, IT, and understand their requirements.
By doing so, you will be able to make software development a participatory process where everyone will have a say. It will ensure that once the software is built, there are no complaints from your employees, and people can get on board quickly.
Do not forget to conduct thorough market research and understand the requirements of the customers. Because if your software is not aligned with the needs of customers, then say goodbye to that fast-growing bottom line that you had always dreamt of.
By being clear about your goals, you will help your software development team in understanding your vision in a better manner, and they will ultimately develop custom software that will meet all your needs.
The good idea is to build user stories; these stories are vivid descriptions of how a user will use the software product.
Quality of the company
How do you decide that a software development company is a top company? Well, there are specific criteria at which you can look and get a better idea.
Experience and technical expertise
Technical expertise is one of the most important criteria that help you in choosing the best software development company. Have a look at the work experience of the software development firm. An excellent way to gauge the work experience of the company is to look at the combined work experience of the team working there. See how many projects the company has worked upon.
The certifications that the developers have acquired would be an excellent yardstick to ascertain the technical expertise of the developers. Software development is a continually evolving profession. Hence the developers who are at the top of their game always put in efforts to acquire new skills.
Before the final development begins, we recommend that you have a conversation with the team members with whom you are going to work. You can ask some basic questions and get a feel of whether it will be easy to work with this team or not.
Check the Company Portfolio
Have a look at their previously completed projects. The website of the software development firm will be an excellent place to start, as usually the best Software Developers proudly present their work.
Before you call the company to have the initial discussion, it would be a great idea to have a look at their previously completed projects and zero down on the projects that are most similar to yours. Ask the company for the contact details of a few clients with whom you can talk.
When you speak with these companies, ask about their experience of working on the project.
- How do they communicate, and what were the processes followed?
- How did they go about their work?
- Did they keep the clients abreast regarding the progress of the project?
- Ask them if there is some visual proof they can show to have a better insight.
These are some basic questions that you need to ask to get an idea of whether the company delivers on its promises or not.
Apart from asking the software development team for referrals, you can also search online for the recommendations and referrals for the software development agency you wish to work with.
Make sure to visit popular review platforms like Clutch and TopDevelopers.co to gather some real customer feedback about your software development partner.
You can also check the Facebook and Google reviews of the software development agency. Another vital factor to check while you choose a software development company is its industry recognition. Have a look at whether your software development partner has got any reputable industry awards or not.
The after-sales support policy of a software company is another criterion to evaluate while selecting a good software development company. Understand that once the vendor delivers the software product to you, the job is not over.
You will require constant support from your hired custom software development company, even after the sale of software has been completed. The custom software built for you needs to be updated regularly so that it can fulfill your changing needs, and for updating the software, you will require the support of your software vendor.
You can ask in detail about the kind of after-sales support that your software development service provider will provide. Ensure that everything is written down on the contract papers. Leading Software Development Companies will be more than willing to provide you with robust post-development support because they know that clients require their help most after the software has been installed.
Many bugs which have not been filtered out in the development process will raise their ugly head once the software interacts with the user. Many times the user will find the software to be difficult to use. It mainly happens with those users who are accustomed to using particular software, and the new customized software is significantly different from their previous one.
In such cases, you will require the support of your custom software development service provider.
Pricing is one of the most important software development vendor selection criteria. Of course, price plays a vital role in deciding the software development company that you will eventually hire. But ensure that you do not get trapped by the lure of the low cost.
Understand that as in all cases in life, in the software, also you get what you pay for. We are not saying that you should opt for the most costly option either. It’s just that if you are hiring a company much below the average market rate, then it is highly likely that there will be a huge difference between your expectation and what you are actually delivered.
You can have a look at the average pricing levels in the industry and then decide on a suitable software development agency.
Discuss with the company the pricing structure that they will follow for your custom software project. Here are a few pricing structures usually observed in the industry.
Fixed price model
The specifications, date of delivery and budget of the software product are fixed in this model, and there is little room for changes.
In this model, the price is usually given after the software selection criteria are fixed. As the model is less flexible, managing risk is difficult in the fixed price model. If the specs are changed mid-way, then there will be modifications in the contract, and terms will need to be discussed again. Frequent changes in software product criteria will delay the project and make the time-to-market longer.
When to use the fixed price model?
This model is suitable for shorter and smaller projects where the criteria for software product development can be frozen beforehand. It should be clear that the project requirements are not going to change significantly in the foreseeable future.
Time and material model
Time and material is one of the most widely used software development models in pricing. In this model, the remote developers charge you for the number of hours that are spent on developing your project. The cost includes the cost of materials and third-party plug-ins, which are required while developing your custom software.
In this model, you can change the scope of the project (within certain limits) mid-way. Flexibility and shorter time to market are the advantages that this software development model for hiring offers. By adopting Agile and Scrum software development methodologies, you can get continuous delivery of the software product.
By getting continuous delivery, you will always be in control of the process, as at every stage of the software development process, you will know whether you are getting the exact software solution that you wanted or not.
When to choose the time and material pricing model?
The time and material model is frequently opted for when the custom software product is complex, and it is expected that the project will take more time to complete. If you do not have clearly defined software development project specifications, and there are continually evolving requirements in your project, then also you should go for the time and material pricing model.
The dedicated team pricing structure
It is a model in which the professional custom software development company provides you with a dedicated team. This team will work only on your project, and you will need to pay for hiring the team as well as the administrative and material expenses incurred while building your software project.
The advantage of this pricing model is that you will get an in-house team without having to go through the hassle of selecting all the team members. You will also have the flexibility to scale your team up or down according to your requirements and budget.
When should you go for a dedicated team pricing structure?
You should go for this kind of model if you want total control over your project. By hiring a dedicated team, you are, in essence, managing the project yourself, and hence you will be involved in the software development process in a much more profound manner than the previous models.
This model is also preferable when you have a small in-house team yourself, but they lack in terms of experience and expertise, and you want to supplement the team with hired software development experts.
After having a look at your project’s requirements, discuss with your selected custom software development company the ideal pricing structure that you should follow for your project. Once you fix the pricing structure, then you can iron out the pricing details and then sign on the dotted line.
Location and time-zone
Location and time-zone differences are some of the most important selection criteria in choosing a software company.
In this digitally connected world, location is no longer a barrier while selecting your software development company. It is perfectly ok if you choose to choose a company that is located nearby if you have time zone issues, although many good software outsourcing companies will provide you with a team that can work in your time zone.
We can classify the outsourcing software development companies based on their location in the following ways.
The software development team works in your country and in the same time zone.
The software development company works outside of your country and is usually separated by several time zones.
The software development firm works in a neighboring country that does not have too much time-zone difference with your country.
In the hybrid model, a part of the software development is finished onshore, while a part of it is done offshore. For instance, you can go for onshore project management with offshore development or hire offshore developers for parts of the project that your onshore developers cannot complete.
Cost is often one of the most important criteria for selecting software development process models.
Offshore development wins hands down in this arena as, in most cases, it would be the most cost-effective software development model.
When selecting a company for custom software development that is offshore, you need to ensure that there is no communication barrier. You and your custom software development team should be able to communicate in a language that you both are comfortable with.
If you are located in a western nation, then you will find that giving your software development project to a company based in a developing country like Indonesia, India, or Ukraine will have significant cost benefits. This is the primary reason why many western companies prefer to outsource their software development project to these developing nations.
Communication and transparency
Software development is a long-term partnership, and this is why you should ensure to have a smooth communication process along with a high level of transparency. While choosing a software development company, pay attention to the following points.
- The language fluency of the remote software developers
- The communication tools used by the team
- The response frequency of the software development company
The best custom software development companies will have a transparent communication process and will be honest with the client regarding the possible roadblocks and delays that the project can face. Besides having a personal one-on-one meeting, it is a nice idea to check the social media posts and blogs of the software development service provider that you choose to work with.
Before you finalize the contract with the selected software development team, make sure that you have access to:
- The source code
- The project management dashboard
- All documents related to the project
- The production environment
Success in outsourcing software development hinges a lot on the robustness of the communication process and the level of transparency in the development process.
Bonus criteria for selecting a software development company
Apart from the above-mentioned factors, there is one more vital factor that you need to consider before you choose a software development firm for your development project. You should ensure high data security standards for your project.
Always make data security a top priority while choosing a software development team. You do not want your sensitive data to get into the wrong hands.
Ensure that the software development firm you choose to work with is experienced in vulnerability testing and has sophisticated encryption algorithms. You can face data breaches and even land up in data privacy compliance issues if the software development agency you choose to work with is not well versed with high-security systems.
Data privacy and cybersecurity will emerge as vital software engineering trends in the future and if you want to be future-ready, then ensure robust data security for your custom software.
Here are a few security features that you can discuss with your custom software development team.
- Access control
- Application security
- Secure coding
- Multi-Factor Authentication
- Data-centric security
- Intrusion detection systems
Invest time and effort to find a software development company that follows good data security practices.
Where to find the best software development company?
One of the primary reasons why many companies are stuck with an underperforming software product is that they did not give the requisite attention in selecting an efficient software development company.
We assure you that if you put in some effort and pay heed to the selection criteria mentioned above, then you will be able to select an efficient software development team to build your software that will cater to all your requirements. Here is a list of the top custom software development companies that can match your selection criteria.