How to Choose the Right Vendor for Custom Software Development
The technology is changing at an alarming pace and enterprises today have to rely on a fragmented IT infrastructure with systems and applications developed during a long span of time. In an ideal world, enterprises would have preferred to work with a single vendor to meet this ever growing demand for new software. However, usually, it involves working and collaborating with different vendors and companies that develop mobile applications.
Therefore, the foremost requirement for any enterprise is to identify an application development company which is ready for a long-term engagement with capabilities to meet evolving software needs. The software vendor should employ standard processes to provide required transparency and maintain integrity at all times.
Needless to say, it is not an easy task and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for selecting an app development company.
Mobile Applications Development Company: Offshore vs Nearshore vs Onshore
There is no simple answer to this conundrum. Yet, sourcing managers have traditionally relied on a mixed model to meet their varied demands. There are projects which will require onsite collaboration due to security or policy constraints.Yet, at times it might be possible to rely upon application outsourcing to offshore locations. Nonetheless, the size of skilled resource pool, maturity level of the software processes, management of risk, and ultimately the costs continue to dictate these outsourcing decisions. Let’s explore these factors in detail:
The Size of Skilled Resource-pool
While the IT vendor should have the capability to allocate more resources to your project during the development, it is also crucial to evaluate how your software vendor will deliver in the long run. The application maintenance and support offered by the vendor will determine your business continuity and long-term value. As a part of your SLA with the application development company, you should make sure that there are enough engineers on the bench to support all the stages of software development, deployment, and support.
Maturity Level of the Software Processes
Agile and Scrum based processes along with DevOps have become a default route for application development. These processes will provide you granular visibility into the project progress and help you keep tabs on your software investment. Moreover, the processes heavily rely on clear communication and significantly reduce project risks. Further, vendors working in the Agile mode should be able to provide you early ROI with contracts requiring very short term engagement. This means you will get the opportunity to engage in a “Sprint” and evaluate if the processes set up by the vendor meet your expectations. You must also explore what tools the vendor will be using for the software project lifecycle management, general communication, task management, document sharing, code quality management, and administration.
Data Migration Strategy
It is alright that you are investing in application development that will help you scale up your business. However, most enterprises forget to take into account the cost of data migration. It is not advisable to spend a lot of time and money on a custom software which would refuse to work with your legacy systems.
Unlike the common conception, data migration isn’t a simple task and treating it as an afterthought can be costly for businesses. Application migrations are complex in nature as applications interact with each other on many levels and have their own data models. By design, they are not built to be portable. Hence, a middleware is often required to make application migrations successful. Make sure that your software vendor has a data migration strategy which covers all these aspects.
It is often seen that application development in enterprises is carried out without the involvement of internal IT and security teams. These teams are then tasked to ensure that there isn’t any security outage when the newly developed applications are deployed. However, traditional solutions for vulnerability and application scanning may take up to an entire day to complete a scan depending on the complexity of the application. Code review tools aren’t any faster. All this can significantly overburden your internal IT and security teams. Even with Web Application Firewalls, security continues to be a major concern for enterprises developing new software code on daily basis.
This means that the app development company you select should have set-up security measures at various levels of their development facility that will include physical security, networking, database security and ad hoc security procedures for any specific project requirement. When engaging with a 3rd party application development vendor, you must evaluate the processes put in place by the vendor to ensure the security of all personally identifiable information (PII) or other critical data which might be exposed to the vendor during the outsourcing engagement.
Management of Intellectual Property
Another major aspect of security is related to the protection of intellectual property (IP). IP is not restricted to your copyrights, patents, designs, and trademarks, but can also be in the form of software code. The contract with the vendor should explicitly allow you to retain the IP rights over your code/technology, at all times. This means that you should have access to the API, data, and servers during the development. Further, the vendor should have strict processes detailing and restricting the access to critical data resources. You can also include NDA, NCA and other letters of non-disclosure depending on your needs. Further, as IP laws vary from country to country, it will make sense if you are dealing with companies that come under the purview of laws in your country.
Working with an offshore application development company might create some communication issues during the project. As the teams will be working in different time-zones, you must discuss the how the vendor will sync the timings during the project. Further, discuss the procedures for leave approvals, attendance management, and resource replacement. If possible try to gauge the employee retention rates and Glassdoor ratings of the vendor to evaluate the working conditions. This is crucial as too many members leaving your project in between can affect the project timeline (with the time lost in replacement/knowledge transfer).
Last but not the least, you must evaluate the past work and domain expertise of the vendor. It is possible that a particular vendor might be well known in the industry, but would have done limited projects in your domain. A vendor specializing in your domain will have set processes based on your business requirement and will provide swift decisions related to the selection of right technology stack, mobile applications development platform and so on.
Credencys Solutions Inc is a leading mobile applications development company and solutions provider. You can contact us for mobile strategy consulting and developing mobile apps for multiple platforms. Subscribe to our blogs for getting similar articles on management, strategy, leadership and more.