Why Your Business Needs Custom Software Development and software developers?
Businesses run with the help of some numerous softwares for various tasks. Software is important for any business to perform some day-to-day tasks. Many businesses go for off the shelf software. However, not all the softwares can address your custom business requirements. It is important for business to understand and evaluate their software requirements and choose for which tasks can they use off-the-shelf software and for which can they use custom software. However, a customised solution need a little more investment, but it more beneficial for the business as it is custom made according to your business needs.
Here are few reasons why your organisation regardless of its size needs a custom Software:
1. Stay ahead of competition
If you use off the shelf products which are available in the market, chances are your competitor too is using the same software. If you use a off-the-shelf software which is used by most of your competitor you will end up being just like them but never better than them. A customised software solution is not only tailor made for your business, it also gives you competitive advantage above your competition
Do you depend upon software to deliver a product/service to your customer? Pundits of off-the-shelf
2. Be future ready
All businesses aspire to grow steadily in the future. A custom software will make sure that it is adaptable and customised as per your business and is flexible to the changes which your enterprise will go through in the future. A custom software is your partner in the growth of your business.
3. Ensure you have a robust cyber-security
With the growth of software industry, and the growing dependence of enterprises on software platform to do various tasks in the company, security is one of the major concerns for enterprises. Further, the growing threat of cyber attacks like Ransomware, rightly adds of to the concern of business owners about security. Using an open source software can be more vulnerable when it comes to security issues. Whereas a custom software will make sure that the security measures of the software used by your enterprise is made according to the requirement of your company.
4. Integration of multiple software platforms of your system
If your enterprise uses multiple softwares, chances are that an off-the-shelf product will not be able to easily integrate with all of these in a long run. All the more various softwares not integrated seamlessly will only adversely affect the efficiency of your operations. Hence it is important to have a software which can be easily integrated with other software solutions, and a custom software will ensure that.
What are the popular types and categories of Software Development?
Before we get into the different kinds of software development that are happening in the market, let’s understand what is a software in a simple language. A computer software or software is that part of the system which consists of various data or instructions to process certain information and complete various tasks.
There are various categories of softwares that are available in the market, these are:
Application software office suites, word processors, spreadsheets, etc.) - It is a small computer program that is used to perform a group of coordinated functions. For e.g. web browser, word processor etc. Application softwares made for mobile platform are known as mobile apps.
System software operating systems, device drivers, desktop environments, etc.)- These are computer softwares designed to provide a platform for other softwares. Examples of such softwares are game engines, Software as a service (SaaS), etc.
Computer programming tools: assemblers, compilers, linkers, etc.)- A programming tools or software development tools are computer programs that are used to support, debug or maintain other software programs. These tools can be combined to accomplish a particular task. Examples of such tools are source code editor, compiler, interpreter etc.
The first two of these are classified for running software on computers and the last one is about developing the software in the first place.
Now that we understand the various types of software, let us take a look at the different types of software development processes that happen. Software development can pan across different devices and platforms, some of the most important and popular type of software development methods are:
1. Web Development
Web development is one of the oldest kind of software development which developers used to work in. It refers to the development of a website. One of the reasons of the popularity of web development is the emergence of new web technologies and APIs (application Programming Interfaces)
2. Mobile App Development
Developing applications for the mobile platform is known as mobile development or app development. The prolific growth of smartphones has resulted. Mobile is a versatile platform which has a space and possibility of every kind of app to be inculcated into this platform.
3. Data Science
In a world ruled by digitisation, there is a data deluge happening across platforms and devices. However, the challenge remains to seek insights from these data. This kind of development work is known as data science. This one’s quickly picking up momentum in South Africa, but is a major field overseas.
4. Application Development
This is considered to be the real kind of programming which refers to the development of standard windows, Mac or Linux applications that can perform various tasks on desktop operating systems.
5. Back-end Development
Back-end development refers to the development of programs that happen at the backend to ensure that the from-end applications are running well. Database management is an example of one such type of software development.
6. Software Tools Development
This kind of development is aimed at developing tools for other software developers, so that they can test their codes with. These tools also help in telling the developers if their codes are in line with industry standards.
7. API Development
Developers build various programs that work as building blocks for programs across different operating systems, devices and platforms. These help in laying the foundation of basic procedures of software development.
8. Embedded Systems Development
With the raging popularity of IoT or Internet Of Things, everything is getting connected. With these the embedded app development has also boomed.
9. Security Software Development
Hacking or developing softwares for security purposes. These softwares help in keeping check at the cyber security of the company’s digital assets.
10. Cloud Computing
Earlier most enterprises relied on the internal storage of their data and file. But now a day's developers use cloud platform to store data and booked into the website. It eliminates the need of having a strong internal storage system at your end, especially if you are a smaller business. Services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and others, that powers your webmail, OneDrive storage, and GitHub, etc. are the examples of such services.
What are the characteristics of a software development company?
If you have a custom software development idea, it is obvious that you want to look at a software development partner, who can understand and implement the custom software for your organisation.
Before you set out to look of a software development partner, you have to through research before you finalize on one. A custom software for built for your firm will enable you to integrate the operations seamlessly, and therefore it becomes extremely critical to choose the right one.
Here are few good qualities or characteristics you must look at while searching for a software development firm.
1.They provide Customized Development:
A lot of development firms do not provide customised solution, and they sell an off-the-shelf software services. Building a custom software takes a different approach and way of operations. Hence ensure that the software development company you choose is geared to provide custom software development solutions.
2.Their approach towards User Experience Development:
Another critical factor is to consider what is their approach towards building User Experience in their software solutions. Not every software development company understands the importance of building easy and delightful user experiences, just having a software is not enough, you have to have one which can be easily used by people. Therefore it is important to look for a company which believes in offering delightful user experience and have expertise in it. This e to you will be able to gage through their already existing portfolio.
3.Their overall experience:
A lot of software development firms will boast of having a vast experience on varied platforms, simply taking their verbatim at face value is like believing that these companies can bring moon and stars from the skies to you. So, it is important to ask for projects in each of the expert domain they are talking about. Have they work on real-time projects with the clients? What kind of work they have done? Is this the kind of work that you are looking for etc. are important things that you should look at while looking for a software development partner.
4.Experienced Development Team:
No one other than you would know the understand the scope of work that you are about to give your partner. Further, you would also know the level of complexities the development project entail. Hence it is important to make sure that the software development firm you are planning to hire has enough experience and resources to deal with your project. And, because you are in for a long-term relation with the firm it is imperative that you have a clear understanding of their capabilities before signing the dotted line.
Whether you are startup a large organisation or a one man shop, if you are looking for a custom software for your business, we assume that you have budget it mind. However, even to assign a budget, you will have to have a fair understanding of the market rates. Further, you will have to make sure the development partner you choose is neither to cheap or too costly.
When you choose to work with a software development firm make sure that they have a good reputation when it comes to information security. It is a crucial factor to consider, because even in the planning stage you would be sharing important and sensitive details of the company with them. Hence you have to make sure that they guarantee the sanctity of your intellectual property.
Process of software development.
A software process development is the process and steps involved in production of the software. This process is also called as software methodology. The various activities involved in the process of software development can be - design and development from the start, or modifying and improvising an already available system.
Below are the various steps that are involved in overall software development from the scratch:
- Specification of the software also known as requirement engineering: This step involved defining the major functionalities of the software and the limitations around it.
- Design and implementation: This is the step where the software is designed and finalised and the programming of the software starts.
- Verification and Validation of the software: In this step it is validated and verified that the software developed is in confirmation to the software specifications agreed upon in the first stage and it works according to the expectations.
- Maintenance of the software also known as software evolution: In this stage the developed software is taken to the market and depending on the response or the market requirements it is modified or evolved further.
The above steps are an overview of the software development process. However, at a detailed level there are also sub activities that are a part of the software development process under each of these steps like requirement validation, architectural design, unit testing, configuration and change management, quality assurance and testing, project management, user experience testing so on and so forth.
Further, a software development process have more inclusions beyond the above mentioned activities. These inclusions are also known as process description, which involves:
- Products: these are the outcomes of an activity, for instance, these can be the resulting product coming out of an architectural design which can be a model for the software architecture.
- Roles: Defining the roles and the work of the human resources involved in the implementation of the project for e.g. the project manager, programmer, account manager, etc.
- Defining the conditions before and after the project completion: These are the conditions that are agreed upon beforehand for the project to be considered as being completed.
Developing a software is not an easy job, the entire process is complex with a lot of moving parts involved. Depending on the business requirement the complexity of the process is defined. Every software development process is unique and is defined by the business needs.
There are various models that businesses follow for the software development. Every process model can be extended, modified and customised according to the need of a particular organisation. Some of these processes or methodologies are also known as Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
1. Waterfall Model:
This is a linear model, where each activity of the software development process is defined as a different phase and is represented in a linear order. In this kind of a model all the activities of the phases are defined before the project starts and the process is implemented accordingly. The various phases of a waterfall model are: Requirements, design, Testing and Maintenance.
2. Prototyping Model:
It is a model where a basic prototype or a part of the system is developed in very short time, to understand and visualise customer requirement. This kind of model is useful when the customer and the software developer is not very sure of the requirements from the software they are developing. It is also useful in clarifying the feasibility of a software design.
The process of prototype development
The various phases of a prototype are:
- Establish objectives
- Define prototype functionality
- Develop the prototype
- Evaluate the prototype
3. Incremental Development
This is a process, where a an initial development and implementation of a software model is done. Post which it is opened for user feedback, depending on the feedback the model is further modified and improved. This process evolves as per the user feedback.
4. Spiral Model
This kind of software development method is implemented in loops. It has features of both waterfall and prototyping models. Each loop or spiral represents a specific phase in this model. While the first phase can be about system feasibility the next can be about requirement design, further system design, so on and so forth.
5. Iterative Development
This kind of software development is aimed at developing the software in bits and pieces, that is developing the system by building the a bit of all the features, across every component. A basis product is developed according to the initial scope. This version with limited features is them released in the market to understand the market and gage initial customer reaction.
6. Agile Model:
It is a dynamic and flexible method which can be adapted and modified according to various circumstances. These include various software development models grouped together based on iterative and incremental approach. In this kind of a model new releases are done to the software incrementally and released in every few weeks. There are a various Agile methods available like: Scrum, Crystal, Agile Modeling (AM), Extreme Programming (XP), etc.
7. Reuse-oriented Software Engineering
In this model an existing design or code is reused, if the requirement is similar to the ones that have been implemented earlier. This old version of code is reused and modified to fit into the new requirements and is further tested, before the software release.
What are tips for choosing a software development company?
If you are planning to build a software product for your business, that is in line with the vision and the requirements of the company, it is critical to choose not just the right but the perfect technology partner for your firm. It requires weeks and sometimes months of effort to figure out a software development partner which cannot just develop your software product but can also take it to the next level. Even if choosing a right software development firm takes a considerable amount of time and enough due diligence before you say yes and tie a knot, it is worth the effort if you land onto the right one.
There are thousands of software development firms out there starting from small one man shops to freelancers to a big organisation. If you take to Google and type software development firms you will find thousands of them, but choosing the one which is right for your business is not that easy.
The below tips can help you with choosing a technology partner which is just right rather perfect for your business:
1) Stay away from the cheapest
The above tip might sound like counter intuitive, but trust us you would save yourself from the grave risk of choosing the wrong software development firm. Think about it like this - while buying a product do you look at the cheapest one and go ahead or you look at the one who might not be cheapest, but is value for money. Gives decent quality product and doesn't cost a bomb as well right? The same is true with a software development firms as well. If they are charging you lesser than industry standards as well, there are high chances that their quality is not going to be that great. So beware of the cheapest players in the market.
2. Choose the one who believe in Integration and communication
If you want the best quality of software developed for your business, make sure you choose a partner who will not just do what you tell them to do but are also qualified enough to improvise your vision further. They are ready to integrate their learning's as you move ahead in the software development process and they are also open to collaborative approach. Learning, growing and implementing process along with you at every step. Before you finalise on them make sure you know and agree with the communication process that will be followed between you and the software development partner over the course of the development process.
3. Choose a partner who disagrees with you enough
In real life the friends we appreciate the most are the ones who course correct us in our ways and call out our wrongdoings and shortcomings and help us become a better person. You should follow the same principal while choosing a software development firm for your organisation. You do not want an ‘Yes-man’ in this area. You are not an expert in the domain hence you would rely more on the software development partner to do the best for you. In this scenario if you are choosing a development partner who agrees with you in each and everything, is a sign of their incapability of their disinterest in your project. Both of these are a extremely detrimental to the success of your project.
4. Choose a software development firm which is similar to you:
While choosing a software development partner make sure you are not choosing a company which is way bigger than you, no matter howsoever, attractive and glamorous that prospect seems to you. There are higher chances that a firm way bigger than your size will have projects which are large in size, larger than yours. It is obvious that then you do not become a priority for such firms, you would definitely want to avoid a situation like that. Similarly a firm way smaller than you might not have enough resources and scale to implement your project in time and give a quality output as well.
5. Choose the ones who know their job well
This might seem like obvious that you would want to choose a development partner, who looks to be an expert in their job. However, the way you go about choosing them is important. More often you would get impressed if they show you that they are experts on every technology and language in the world, but, that is an extremely risky way to go about it. If they say they are experts in everything, chances are they are the kind ‘jack of all trades, master in none’’, especially if they are not a very big organisation, you would want to stay away from such firms.
6. Their work culture is in line with yours
You are not just choosing a software development firm for your organisation, but a ‘software development partner, which is going to work with you for a long run and very closely. Therefore, it becomes very crucial to choose a software development partner whose work culture is in line with your work environment. This will ensure a harmonious development and completion of the project throughout. A harmonious development process will ensure that your development process is not just seamless and without much conflicts and stress free, but you and the software development partner are always in sync. This will ensure that your project gets completed in time and successfully.