Custom Software Development: How To Choose The Perfect Outsourcing Partner
There are two kinds of companies: tech companies and everything else.
Seems a bit too simple, doesn’t it? Virtually every company is a “tech” company these days since no modern enterprise can compete without a full stack of modern software and hardware… and there’s less hardware than ever these days thanks to cloud-based data centers and server farms.
But sometimes, existing off-the-shelf (or in-the-cloud) software solutions won’t cut it. If you have a team of amazing developers, you may have considered putting their talents to the test to code custom software to solve your exact problem most efficiently.
But that’s a big “if” because most companies aren’t tech companies with large, dedicated development teams. Even if you do have plenty of tech talent on tap, you may not want to assign them to a new custom software development project when there’s so much else to code.
Many companies outsource custom development projects. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably thinking about outsourcing a project too. You’re just not sure if outsourcing is the best way to solve your problems.
We’ve found that many companies can address their outsourcing questions in a fairly straightforward way. We’ve collected many popular questions in this article to create a checklist we like to call: “Should I Outsource This Software Development Project?”
Well, should you outsource? Let’s find out.
Does your current software stack address all your mission-critical needs?
Many businesses get by just fine with off-the-shelf solutions. Like Salesforce, most of the business world’s favorite software suites are also built to readily integrate with many other popular software tools and solutions. In most cases, you’ll probably be able to use existing software to do what you want.
Want to know more about Salesforce integrations? Check out our comprehensive Salesforce integration guide.
If you’ve already researched your options but haven’t found the right tool to solve your particular problem, you might need a custom application.
Can you adapt or combine any existing software to address your needs?
Salesforce can be deployed in many ways and customized to solve many different problems. The same holds true with most other business applications and software suites.
Companies like Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft all maintain databases of qualified experts. These experts or consultants — like RTS Labs, for example — help businesses customize their software to do everything they need.
Before outsourcing (or in-sourcing) custom software development, you may want to reach out to a consultant with experience implementing some of the software you’re either using or considering. They may be able to customize your CRM, ERP, or another core software suite. They should also integrate any core software with other tools to fill in the gaps — assuming such other tools exist.
If there’s simply no software on the market that can do what you need, either out of the box or with a few tweaks or integrations, it’s time to start thinking about custom software development.
Do you have in-house talent with the expertise and available bandwidth?
This question might seem too simple, but it’s not. Having developers on your payroll doesn’t mean they’ll have experience creating the sort of app you want in the language(s) you want to code it in. Even if they do, they may be occupied by other projects.
Many tech companies outsource custom software development to third parties, even if they’ve got tons of tech talent on hand because their talent is simply more productive and valuable on other projects. Video game developers often license proven game engines so their talent can focus on creating enjoyably challenging in-game worlds for their players.
Sometimes it simply makes more business sense to contract your custom app development project to specialists, so your team can focus on doing work that’ll make your company more money.
Do you have realistic expectations for your custom software project?
Here’s another question that’s not as simple as it seems.
We’ve provided custom software development services to many businesses. In our earlier years, we often ran into conflicts or disconnects between what our clients budgeted or expected from their projects and what was actually possible.
There are many, many, many variables at play in any custom software project. Even when executives or project managers come from deep development backgrounds, they can easily underestimate the amount of work involved. It can happen in any creative project.
However, software development is notorious for time and cost overruns, late launches, unexpected bugs, and a whole range of other issues that can pop up when you’re transforming millions of lines of code into a functional business tool.
When interviewing potential outsourcing partners, make sure you ask them for budget and timeline estimates and relevant examples of their work on similar projects. Anyone can promise you the moon, but a development firm that’s done something similar to what you want is much more likely to stick to its goals.
Is your potential outsourcing partner a good fit?
Experience isn’t everything. There are many custom software development firms in the world. You may very well find more than one with the resources and expertise you need for a successful project.
When looking for an outsourcing partner, you should look for fit as well as experience. “Fit” means something different to different companies. In a general sense, any partner who’s a good fit should check off these boxes:
- Have they worked with companies like yours in the past?
- Have they created similar apps to what you want in the past?
- Do they have strong testimonials from previous clients?
- Do they have the resources (personnel availability, cash flow, etc.) to deliver your project on time and within your budget successfully?
- Could they handle additional scope if necessary?
- Can they handle overruns in ways that make sense for your business?
- Do they use methodologies that make sense for your project?
- Do they have a plan for ongoing communication and project updates?
- Do they use known project management tools, or will they help you acclimate to their preferred project management tools?
- How will they handle app testing, deployment, and any post-deployment bugs or other issues?
- Do you enjoy talking to their team?
These aren’t the only questions you should ask, and you can probably come up with a few of your own during the research and interviewing phase of your outsourcing project. But they can hopefully provide a good starting point, so you can approach the process of hiring an outsourced partner for custom app development with confidence and clarity.
RTS Labs has helped hundreds of businesses of all sizes successfully develop the right outsourced custom software for many business needs. Get in touch with us today to get your outsourced development project off the ground.