Dodge potential tailor-made software development pitfalls
07 September 2016

Dodge potential tailor-made software development pitfalls

You’ve made the decision to have a piece of software developed specifically to solve a business challenge in your company, but have you considered the pros and potential cons? If you’re looking for a software development company to partner with to build a solution for your company, there’s good and bad news.

The good news? A sector with many participants vying for business means thriving competition, so you as the client have a big pool of talent to choose from.

The bad? By its very nature, custom software development is an industry notorious for projects taking longer than anticipated, costs being much higher than first intended, and expectations loosely mismanaged by companies wanting the work over their peers.

With all of that in mind, how do you determine who to partner with on such a high-involvement, potentially problematic project? When selecting a software company, we believe there are certain things to consider. We discussed in this previous article what to keep in mind when deciding whether to go for an out-of-the-box solution or choose to develop one from scratch. Here are a few pointers on what to do when taking the custom development route.

Ensure that your challenge does require a custom build

You have established what your needs are, but does that mean hiring someone to build the program for you? Our first suggestion is to eliminate the possibility that the piece of software you are looking for doesn’t already exist.

It’s important to do your research. Ready-made software solutions are the answer for a lot of organisations, however, if integrating a pre-existent system means that only 80% of your business needs will be solved, you may want to look into a tailored solution.

Find a company that you trust

The nature of software development is shrouded in mystery, each provider more cautious of sharing their coding and development methods than the next. That makes it difficult for those of us who are non-programmers to discern the true from the false. Follow your instincts: if you are being promised something that seems too good to be true, it may well be.

Trust is not something that is earned automatically. Often, it can be gained through examples of previous projects their team has worked on, or clear, straightforward discussion about expectations. At Singular, we pride ourselves on cutting out the nonsense and relating to our customers in language that they understand. Our team of financial experts and adept software developers means that we understand our clients’ needs from a technical as well as business perspective.

The process of building a tailor-made system is long and at times challenging, which is why it is so important to select a team that you trust, that has your company’s best interests in mind – both during the time it takes to build your software, and via support throughout its lifespan.

Keep clear on the costs

One of the most concerning aspects of a business seeking tailored software solutions is the challenge of keeping within a certain budget. Custom systems are notorious for costing far more than their original estimations as the development team runs into unexpected hurdles. This is why Singular Systems maintains a fixed-cost policy. We cannot predict the unpredictable, so on the rare occasion projects do end up taking longer than originally anticipated, but never more than originally quoted.

We ensure that our clients know what they’re in for from the start, with no hidden costs lurking in the process. It is important to discuss the option of fixed costs when negotiating your deal with a potential development team.

Build to fit, don’t fit the build

Every manager knows that change is a challenge to begin with. Even more so if the change, such as the adoption of a new system, doesn’t quite suit your employees’ work behaviours. You could present the most perfectly built software that is sure to streamline company efforts, but if it doesn’t work with your staff in mind, it won’t work for your business.

Talk to your software development team, ensure that your staff has buy-in, that the solution aligns with their needs and requirements, and that the program is built with their usage parameters in mind.

If you have managed all of the above, your uniqueness as a company should reflect in the piece of software you have had developed. The right custom development solution must align with your business, and not the other way around.

We at Singular Systems understand the value of trust in business relationships. With our track record of not only building, but assisting in the strategy, development, and management of the systems that we partner on, Singular’s main concern is providing tailored solutions that work out our clients’ business challenges, not our bottom line.

Our custom development solutions provide a competitive advantage, and we’re happy to show you how. Contact us – we want to solve your business challenges.