Digital is the present and permanent reality. And businesses have realized this.
Today, you can see startups, enterprises, SMBs, and all other businesses turning towards digital reality. Be it for optimizing their processes, improving business efficiency, solving real-world problems, easing work, or even entertaining people, everyone has or needs a software system.
And while some can make do with the off-the-shelf software offered by software companies or digital product providers, they cannot substitute the quality of custom software.
Choosing the right custom software development company is the most crucial aspect of getting your product built. The right company will not just write the codes for your software. They will also ensure that you receive functional, user-centric, and high-performing software within the right time and budget.
So, how do you find the company to build your custom software?
This write-up will help you out.
Checklist For Choosing A Custom Software Development Company
Custom software development can be a complex task. It has various steps that need to be followed and technology requirements that need to be fulfilled. This is in addition to the developer requirements for manually writing the codes.
You cannot pick anyone coming in to build your custom software. Due diligence needs to be done to find a company that is not just experienced but also competent and is ready to build the custom product within your budget.
Experience always counts. And by experience, we don’t mean you look for software development companies that have been working for years. Instead, you should check for companies with niche experience.
For example, if your custom software is around a SaaS product, you should go with someone who has experience building the same. You can easily find this out by going through their portfolio.
You need someone who can bring expertise to the table.
In addition to that, an experienced company would know how to navigate any challenge or risks that might arise during the course of custom development. They should also be mature in terms of managerial responsibility. Great management means smooth working and timely delivery of the project.
The next thing to tick off while checking any custom software development company is their portfolio. Every established organization will have their portfolio where they display their project work or success stories. Going through them can give you a clear idea of how the company works and what’s their approach to any project.
You can also go through projects that resemble your software idea.
For instance, if you are looking to build process automation software, you can check if the organization has worked on something similar. They would have shared the challenges the client came with, pain points in the journey, and what solution they offered. Apart from that, you can also know the technologies they used and how they progressed.
Studying the complete portfolio of the custom software development company you are planning to join hands with is very crucial. It tells you about their experience, expertise, companies they’ve handled, work performed, problems solved, and technologies worked with. You can also always go out and view the software/product or even contact the client they’ve mentioned in the portfolio to get more details.
#3. Technology Stack
Different projects require different technologies. Today, there is a plethora of technologies, frameworks, libraries, and technology versions available to build any product. The company you choose to build your custom software should hold specialization in a variety of technologies.
However, you should not blindly go for a company that has the largest tech stack. Always check the expertise, certifications, partnerships, and specialized skills before initiating any partnership.
Get your CTO involved in making this decision. They can give a brief idea about the tech stack you might require for your custom software. Analyze the platform you are aiming for - whether it is mobile, desktop, or omnichannel. This way, you know what all technologies could work. They could tell about the backend tech, frontend tech, new-age technologies like AI/ML, data science, blockchain, etc.
You need to piece together what platform, technology frameworks, languages, databases, BI tools, and APIs you'd require for your project. You should be able to see some of these popular tech stacks in an established organization:
- Servers: Linux and Apache
- Database, data storage & more: MySQL, MongoDB, MS SQL
- Frontend: Angular, React, ReactNative, Flutter, Vue.js, HTML5, CSS3, jQuery
- Business Intelligence: Microsoft Power BI
- Next-Gen: AI, ML, Blockchain, Data Science, IoT
- Cloud: Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform
These are just some of the popular technologies that you can hire developers for or even check out with the company building your software. Different features you want to add, functionalities you want to implement, or the devices you choose for it to run would need different technologies to build. One would need a combination of these technologies or any others for custom software development.
#4. Engagement Model
Every company likes to engage on its own terms when joining hands with an external organization.
- You may want them to build the complete product from scratch.
- You may need some technology specialists from them as your team’s extension.
- You may have a team sitting in your office but want to plug a specific tech gap.
- Or you may want to build your dedicated development team while having complete managing control.
However, not every organization offers every engagement model. Some might only offer single developers, some only teams, one might manage entire projects, and others might only work for specific technologies or CTOs/technical co-founders.
This is why it is crucial that you inquire about the engagement model that the company is offering. They need to be on the same page when it comes to engagement models so that they can efficiently fulfill your project requirements.
The next most important thing on this checklist is the reviews. You can always tell a lot about a custom software development company by the reviews its customers leave. And you don’t need to trust the reviews uploaded by the company itself. There are various other places you can hear the first-hand experience of customers.
Review Sites: There are different sites that are solely dedicated to offering company reviews. You can easily browse these sites and check out the company reviews. Sites like GoodFirms, G2, Capterra, and even Glassdoor are a good repository of company reviews.
Listing Sites: The next place where you can find in-depth reviews is the listing platform Clutch. The site does not just offer a brief review of a line or two. It asks the clients a number of questions and offers descriptive answers to let you know more about the company’s involvement.
Google Reviews: A quick Google search is one of the first and quickest ways to know about any company. And you can always check the reviews written by the users there to know more about it.
Company Website: Last but not least, the company website. Any custom software development agency would always love to flaunt and display its reviews. You can even look for those in the testimonials section to get more information.
#6. Budget Bracket
Most businesses have a specific budget bracket within which they work. Some can work for custom software of all scales and sizes, others for a specific target market. You need to know if the custom software development company you are planning to join hands with is working within the budget you have. You can get an estimate of your custom software development cost and find your own budget.
Some might only work on larger projects worth millions of dollars. There may be others who work specifically for small-size projects. You need to ensure that the company falls within your budget bracket or discuss the same with them beforehand to avoid any mid-project cost issues.
The next important pointer to check off from your custom software development company checklist is their location. You need to be very clear about where the company is located. You can choose a company within your local region. You could opt for a nearshore custom software development company nearby your country. Or you could choose the cost-effective and faster way by joining hands with an offshore software development company.
Finding a company in your location or hiring a team from the same region could cost a lot of money. Whether you choose to outsource or go nearshore, the cost is always impacted. At the same time, nearshoring could cost you something similar in western countries. However, outsourcing to India or other similar offshore countries can help you get it done at a much lower cost.
Not just the cost, there are other reasons too for taking extra care of the location. You need to take care of the time zone difference, language barrier, cultural differences, and more.
Make sure that the characteristics of the country to choose for your custom software development company align with your competitive priorities.
Questions To Ask A Custom Software Development Company
We’re certain that you would have a number of questions about choosing the best custom software development company to build your digital product. While some questions you need to answer within team discussions and brainstorming sessions, there are some questions whose answers you need to find from the company you choose.
Yes, when you are planning to join hands with a software agency to build your software, there are different questions that you should ask them. After all, better to ask than let confusion and misunderstandings seep in.
So, here are some questions you can ask to ensure you are choosing the right custom software development company.
- Do you have any experience in a similar project?
You want to know if the company has worked on something similar in niche or industry or scale before. This would get you a kickstart with the custom software as you also have an experienced team working with you.
- What’s your way of project management?
Identifying how a company manages its projects is crucial when you are discovering external teams. They might want to follow certain working methodology, project management tools, or control levels that might or might not work for you. Know who would be the point of contact or how you’ll collaborate or the level of collaboration beforehand.
- What would your ideal team composition be for this project?
You need to know how many people would the company reserve for your custom software development project. For any typical development, you would need at least a team comprising back-end developers, front-end developers, technology specialists, project managers, quality assurance engineers, UI/UX designers, and business analysts. Make sure that they provide you with the same.
- What’s your software development process or approach or the workflow?
Being on the same side when it comes to the process of development is crucial to ensure seamless development and delivery. What if they follow a waterfall methodology and you are agile enthusiasts? It could lead to several misconceptions, unsaid expectations, and even confusion.
- What about the maintenance of the software?
The working of any software product does not end with the development. It needs constant maintenance and updates based on the technology updates released in the market. You need to know if there is an added cost of software maintenance and what’s the after-development or post-launch support they offer.
- Do you have in-house developers or work with freelancers/contractors?
This is an important question if you are working with any external company. Companies that have in-house developers would have a team that’s together and can work more seamlessly. They can also have the developers with them in case any issue arises post-launch. Moreover, custom software development companies with in-house developers have a clear set process and are more likely to deliver within the required time.
- What are the tools you use for working or communication?
With the future of work here, the majority of companies have switched to remote or hybrid ways of working. And while this gives you reassurance about working with external teams, you also need to be prepared. You can ask them how they will communicate with you and what the collaboration tools would be. Having knowledge about the remote working tools and who will pay for their licenses can also help you get started.
- Could you share some references?
While reading the reviews and testimonials can help you get better insights into the company, you need to research better. Any company should be open to giving references for their previous clients. If they are hesitating to give a reference, you know there is something fishy about the way they work with their clients.
- What would my engagement or contribution to the project be?
You need to know the level of contribution the custom software development company expects from your end. Moreover, this would also tell you the level of control you would have over the development. You could participate in daily scrums, be in contact with the project manager alone, or talk to the developers.
- What is your cost break-up?
Outsourcing costs can be quite confusing for many. While you get an estimate of the custom software development cost from your company, you also need to know what all costs they have included in the development bill or the outsourcing contract. Ensure to get an estimate of the cost break-up before signing the contract.
Steps To Take While Choosing Custom Software Development Company
Different approaches to custom software development have different steps. While a normal software development would require you to follow the software development lifecycle, you need to take a bit different approach when choosing to get it built by a custom software development company.
Here are the steps that you should follow:
- List down your requirements, objectives, and goals beforehand and fill out the statement of work.
- Look for companies on a different platform like Google searches, top custom software development company listicles, Clutch, Goodfirms, and more.
- Shortlist the companies by assessing them on different parameters.
- Analyze the reviews, talk to referrals that the companies provide, gain referrals/recommendations, and discuss requirements.
- Ask for a sample project of a smaller scale to understand how they work.
- Pick out the company after comparing software development outsourcing costs, experience, and other factors in the checklist above.
- Get the request for proposal and make sure to thoroughly go through the outsourcing contract before you sign.
- Participate in meetings, keep a track of the development progress, and be open to giving feedback.
These are the key steps that you should take in order to ensure you have chosen the right custom software development company for your business. So now, let’s move to the crucial things that you need to keep in mind.
Things To Keep In Mind
Now that we know some of the crucial things about choosing a custom software development company, let’s jump to understanding the things that we need to keep in mind. These are just some simple things that many people tend to forget. And since we are covering everything, let’s give you a glimpse of the things that you should pay heed to.
Nothing beats in-depth research
Always remember, never choose a company in haste.
Make sure you have done in-depth research about them before you join hands. This would include everything from assessing the company, analyzing the request for proposal, understanding the reviews, talking to the previous clients, and more. Make sure to leave no stone unturned when it comes to researching the custom software development company.
Never overlook reviews
Many people may less heed to the reviews that companies receive. You need to understand that reviews reflect how the company does business with its other clients. And in case you are planning to become one of their clients, it is crucial that you hear what others are saying. This would also give you a clear idea about how they work on projects, what type of projects they’ve undertaken in the past, and how committed they are to work.
If Outsourcing, Analyze The Country’s Policy
Most companies choose to outsource software development to offshore countries. It is easier to find better talent at a lower cost in countries like India. However, every country has its own policies for outsourcing. If you are planning to outsource, make sure you analyze the country’s government policies towards outsourcing.
Talk To Previous & Current Clients
While assessing the reviews is crucial, you can also talk to some of the clients of the custom software development company to get a detailed review. You can send across an email to get to know them better. Most companies would love to share their experience. A good experience is something everyone loves to share with others. And, in case they've had a bad experience with the company, they would certainly not hesitate to warn you about it too. You ask them about their experience, project requirements, engagement type, how they communicated, and more.
Analyze Communication Channel
The next important thing to keep in mind while choosing a custom software development company is to analyze the communication channel. This becomes even more crucial when you are choosing an offshore software development company. You need to make sure that they are able to communicate with you and you both share at least a common language.
Choose A Trusted Custom Software Development Company
We tried to answer the majority of the questions that you might have about choosing a custom software development company. However, if you still have any questions, we will be happy to help you.
At Classic Informatics, we have been building and delivering custom software for the past two decades. Over the years, we have not just been able to fulfill every custom requirement of our customers but also exceed the expectations in terms of quality, collaboration, and support. Be it a custom MVP development for a startup or an enterprise software development for larger global companies, we have done it all.
We can be the one-stop solution provider for all your technology needs. From custom software development to IT support for maintenance to pre/post-launch marketing, and more, we have a team ready to deliver the best. We are agile enthusiasts and promise timely delivery of your custom software and that too within your budget.
You can get in touch with us anytime to discuss your custom software requirements. Based on your niche, software size, target platform/audience, feature requirements, and more, we can brainstorm with your team to draft the right way to get started.