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How to Choose the Right Custom Software Development Company

Choosing the right software development company for your organisation involves research, diligence, and professional curiosity. From budget and timeline issues to professional skills, experience, and communication, asking the right questions helps you to find the perfect partner.

Internal development vs third-party services

When developing custom software, you have two distinct options. You can develop all code in-house; designing, building, and maintaining everything internally. This offers a number of advantages, with technology departments controlled by and integrated with the rest of your business. Internal development can also be problematic, however, as there are lots of hurdles to overcome. The learning curve is steep, the costs are significant, and the project may consume a substantial part of your IT department for months-on-end.

For these reasons and many others, internal software development is not the best option for anyone in the largest organisations. If you own a small or medium-sized company, or even a global giant with limited technology means, you need to work with a trusted partner. Third-party software developers do all the work for you, analysing business systems and meeting key people before they design, develop, and maintain applications and services. Custom software offers many advantages over off-the-shelf solutions, from increased efficiency and agility to better security and scalability.

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Finding the right software development partner

Regardless of your size, location, or industry sector, it's important to find a partner that's capable of meeting your needs. There are lots of issues to address, some specific to the needs of your organisation and others related to their expertise and capability. Custom application development is about transforming vision into reality through communication and partnership.

Choosing the right company is much easier when you ask the following questions:

Your goals and vision

Before looking for a partner, it's important to take a step back and review your vision and goals. The development process can take many forms, and you need to steer the ship alongside the developer. Why are you interested in custom software? How are your needs not being addressed by off-the-shelf solutions? What is your vision for the future?

Your budget and timeline

Like everything else in life, there are numerous constraints associated with the development process. You don't have an unlimited budget, and you probably have an intended timeline from conceptualisation to implementation. It's important to work with a developer that can deliver high-quality results within your specified budget and time frame limits.

Your technology and team

Nothing starts from scratch, with each organisation already invested in particular technologies, systems, and approaches. When looking for a development partner, you want someone who will complement your existing technologies and team. From particular hardware setups and software services to employee training and education programs, everything needs to be considered.

Their skills and expertise

When choosing a bespoke software developer, you need to analyse their level of expertise. Software development services involve a wide range of approaches, and not all skill sets are relevant. Look closely at their website, review their services, and analyse past projects to understand how they work. Above all else, project deliverables depend on professional capability and software expertise.

Their professional experience

Experience should play a key role when selecting a development partner. If developers have not completed projects similar to yours, how can you be confident in the success of your own project? While you can give inexperienced operators a chance in some situations, it's important to communicate effectively and limit project size as a way to reduce risk.

Their style of communication

Communication plays a central role in every software development project. Whether you're building an internal company database or a customer-facing website, good developers will keep you in the loop throughout the development process. Building custom software is rarely a linear process, with feedback and iteration required to ensure the best results.

Along with these critical factors, it's also important to think about project governance, scope of work, system integration, and future roadmaps. Communication is the key to discovery, so take some time to ask questions and follow up with developers before you make a final decision.

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The cost of custom software development

Custom software development is a large and varied field without set deliverables, timelines, or prices. While some small projects can be completed in just a few days, others will take months to design, develop, and implement properly. Like all things in business, costs are a major consideration, so take some time to understand how they're structured.

The following factors have a significant influence on the final price:

  • The functionality of your project - including the feature list - will influence development costs and timelines.
  • The complexity of your project is also a huge factor, with unique interface elements and graphics costing more than templates.
  • Integration with existing software is a big factor, especially if you need to interface with legacy code and older systems.
  • Data migration between sites can also affect costs, especially when it involves complex translations or custom scripts.
  • The software development team has a huge influence on price, with more experienced operators generally coming at a cost.
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The custom software development process

Creating bespoke software is a complex process that typically unfolds over many weeks or months. While this process differs considerably based on timelines, technologies, and budget constraints, the following steps are fundamental:

  • Requirements and validation - Understanding problems, recognising possibilities, and setting expectations.
  • Project implementation - Planning, designing, and developing software to meet requirements and specifications.
  • Analysis and testing - Conducting exhaustive reviews, and finding and fixing defects, both before and after deployment.
  • Project governance - Deployment within the final environment and accountability beyond to keep you moving forward.

If you want to connect with a custom software development company, ELEKS is ready to assist. We specialise in bespoke solutions, and we love helping organisations to realise their vision and reach their potential through the power of code. Please contact our customer service team today to learn more.

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