We have previously published information on selecting your Strategic Technology Partner to keep pace with fast changing business environments, and feel it necessary to expand on considerations that often lie beneath the surface when making your selection. There are many factors involved in the creation of Strategic Technology Partnerships of any kind, but knowing what factors are important in selecting a technology partner can be critical to your success.
In February 2014, the Austin Business Journal listed CabForward℠ as one of the top six Custom Software Developers in Austin, after we pointed out to them that “Software Developers,” a title previously used, included a mix of types of software developers.
What does “custom software” mean? It means that your software is unique. It is a “one off” project. It is not adapting someone else’s software to your needs. We start from scratch with our Discovery Process to learn what your needs are, and then build just what you need. No arbitrary bells, no mandated whistles, no license fees, no vendor-required updates. That’s because we use open source software to develop applications. That saves you money.
License fees are an important concern. Companies that are “certified partners” or “resellers” provide solutions based on proprietary software that is accompanied by license and update/upgrade fees. On the other hand, open source software is free, so the cost of developing a solution with open source software is much cheaper initially, and certainly more cost efficient in the long run. And, update and upgrade libraries are free, requiring only minimal time to update your existing web or mobile application.
Other “custom software developers” create their own proprietary software core, and simply modify it to fit a customer’s unique needs. This approach may appear to be a reasonable alternative to custom development, but you always have to look at the long term view. How often they update and publish upgrades is a concern because updating your software is time consuming and the fees can be quite costly. Typically, this type arrangement is considerably more expensive in the long run.
Another important consideration in selecting a Partner is how many developers they have on staff locally. How well are they able to adjust your development team as your project needs change? Often, companies use off shore developers to do the actual code development, and have to contract a certain number of offshore developers for the term of a project. When your project slows, or needs to stop for a period of time, the offshore developers continue to receive payment for idle hours. This is wasteful, and impacts your overall cost.
Transparency of the company’s development process may be the primary concern in selection of a partner. If they are willing to “let you inside” by giving you control over the speed and cost of a project, you are going to be more knowledgeable of what is going on and be able to better control your costs. You should be able to start, slow, and stop your project as your needs change, and you should be able to work directly with the developers who are creating the code so you can direct their efforts. That’s why we put you in the driver’s seat, so you have complete control of your project.
For more information on other factors to consider, check out our playbook to see how we maintain transparency, and why we have grown to become one of the top custom software developers in Austin.
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