A Strategic Technology Partner to help with keeping ahead of the fast changing competitive landscape is becoming very important to businesses in every industry. Companies are jumping into industry leading positions through the development of disruptive software than changes how processes are performed. Selecting the development company you want as your Strategic Technology Partner is an extremely important decision. There are several factors that you should consider when making that decision.
1. The developer you select should have a wide range of experiences with customers from a variety of industries.The more experience the developer has across various businesses and applications, the better they will be able to architect a solution to position you as a leader. Our portfolio, for example, ranges from oilfield construction to ride sharing, real time border security and supply chain security to mobile apps and responsive web design. This variety means we’ve seen a lot, and can leverage those experiences to better advise you.
2. Your developer needs to be a polyglot shop, meaning they use a variety of different technologies, languages and frameworks. You should find a firm that has skills in integrating Java, php, .Net, C++, for a variety of platforms and has applications in the online stores for mobile devices. Even if they like to specialize in one discipline, like we do in Ruby on Rails, they should be able to leverage experience in other languages that might benefit your project.
3. Avoid a developer that doesn’t have at least two or three times more software engineers than you will need working on your project. Most software projects flex in activity requiring more team members at times than others. A large benefit of a developer with adequate staff is their ability to increase or decrease the number of developers on your project with no notice. If the company is too small they may not be able to deliver on your timeline or within your budget.
4. A competent developer will make small but frequent releases, usually in weekly, or two week, sprints, depending on the size of your project. You don’t have to deploy those releases until you’re ready, but your software developer should be posting improvements very frequently. We typically will submit code enhancements several times every day until the objective has been met.
5. Another very important trait of a reliable technology partner is transparency, meaning that you have access to what progress is being made at any given moment. This is accomplished via an online project management tool. It should display user stories and features, and also allow you to see the developer’s hours and notes. We use Mavenlink Project Management Software, which allows you to see the status of your project at any time, post questions and comments, read the responses from the development team, and look at your completed User Stories as well as the next ones in line for development.
6. Your selected technology partner is likely to be a “time and materials” shop, rather than working from a fixed bid. This is becoming more and more common today. There are a couple of very good reasons for this; most fixed bid projects run over budget due to the discovery along the development process that additional features are needed, and secondly, “time and materials” lets you pace the development according to your needs and budget. Start and stop progress as you need.
7. Avoid firms that will work in exchange of equity. It is tempting to use a firm that will work for a lower rate, or even offer free services in exchange for a share of the company or profits, but such a company generally needs a stream of income to make payroll, and your project is going to be put on the back burner when they have income producing work available.
8. Examine how those companies you are considering work with you. Study their Mutual Services Agreement, Non-Disclosure Agreement and Statement of Work. Make sure your proprietary information is well protected under your agreement, and that ownership of the code developed for you is clearly transferred to you at the conclusion of each development sprint. You should expect ownership of the resulting source code and any inventions that arise from the development process. You can see here how we do it.
9. Select a developer that uses open source software, which has no fee for use. It makes development less expensive, and because it has extensive libraries, it makes development faster. We prefer to develop in Ruby on Rails, but have experience in many other languages and frameworks including those created for mobile applications. There are thousands of collaborators who work to continually enhance open source software, so it is always up to date with the ever-changing requirements of responsive web design requirements.
10. Your Strategic Technology Partner should be able to offer you all the services you need from start to finish. Their offerings should look similar to our own:
● Discovery Sessions –
This engagement provides customers with access to two or more solution architects to review the business and technical plan for your project. We provide our customers with documented user stories, estimates for development, architecture recommendations, hosting options and DevOps considerations, which gives them a detailed understanding of what it will take to build their application. The Discovery Session also frequently offers our customers an opportunity to explore new business and technology ideas they had not previously considered.
● Custom Software Development – Technology innovation is a must for companies looking for a competitive edge in a business environment where change is the only constant. However, while technological advancements have enabled companies to operate more efficiently and effectively, they’ve often made it more difficult to stay current. CabForward has the experience and expertise to help you overcome these challenges through custom Rugged software that is scalable, maintainable, and defensible.
● Velocity Boost – Some customers need help augmenting their team with Senior Level Developer talent. This can be driven by a need to meet critical milestones or deadlines, an inability to find full-time skilled resources, or to compensate for the loss of a key team member. Our team has experience working in many industry verticals and across a diverse range of technology architectures, which helps them quickly ramp up and provide immediate value. When we don’t have the talent that you need, we go out and get it. We like to say, “Fast Forward with CabForward!”
● DevOps – DevOps is a process of collaboration and communication between software developers and IT professionals to efficiently produce software products and services. Companies need operations delivered in a shared resource model that is cost effective. CabForward recognizes the challenges many companies face in their lack of DevOps experience, so we offer expert service in this area. CabForward’s Rugged approach to test driven application development, continuous deployment and operations meets this need.
● Open Source Software Consulting – CabForward promotes the use of Open Source Software to help relieve our customers from the long-term financial burden of proprietary software, the exorbitant cost of mandatory virus protection, support charges, vendor-required upgrade expenses, and mandatory terms. Open Source Software is the product of thousands of developers worldwide improving the quality, security and stability of the source code. CabForward can quickly and efficiently modify existing Open Source code to provide the functionality our customers need with the reliability they expect.
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