Business Benefits of Custom Software Development

Posted on July 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

All businesses and organisations will typically need some form of software during their lifecycle. The types of software utilised by most companies range from applications that will enable better management of key organisational functions – Human Resources, Finances and Accounts, inventory and stock and even running projects, to more specific items of software that have a key purpose such as Content Management Software for use on company websites. Although these software applications can be purchased “off the shelf”, there are many business benefits that can be associated with choosing custom software development.

Custom Software Development is created for you

Developing custom software is a bespoke, made to measure process, which means that any applications and software programmes created as a result of the process will be entirely made for your company and its individual needs and requirements. Basically, a piece of custom made software is flexible and has the potential to fulfil your specifications meaning that it is easy to use and can be deployed throughout your entire organisation. Instead of having to make do with a ready made software programme or application, with customised software you can be sure that what you will receive will be entirely fit for purpose. There are also significant financial benefits that can be associated with custom made software despite it costing a little more to purchase than off the shelf packages. Software applications that have been made for you don’t require any licence fees, so you can distribute them across your entire organisation without needing to pay extra.

Custom Software Developers will work with your Company

When creating software designed for your company, custom software developers will design and code it to integrate properly within your organisation. The software won’t just help you achieve what you need it to achieve, it will be rich in features and tools that will make it usable by the people who will be operating it. With a piece of custom software all the requirements of your company will be considered, and developers will meet these both in the way that they develop the software and the after care that they provide properly. Although some training and support is available with off the shelf software to a certain extent, with custom made software your developers will continue to work with and support your company whether that’s through training staff members in the use of the software or providing maintenance and technical help to remedy any errors that might occur in the software.

Customised Software is Safe and Secure

The ready made software packages available to businesses and organisations today are certainly a lot more secure than the ones that have been developed in previous years, however they don’t compare to the security levels of customised software. Because customised software has been created for your company it will only be usable by individuals in your company. When you purchase custom software you will be given administrator rights to the software ensuring that you can change and alter user profiles and passwords to be in accordance with your own internal data protection policies. Customised software used on the web is also a lot harder to hack than standard, off the shelf software, and you can be sure that a reputable custom software developer will work hard to keep your application or programme and the data it contains as safe and secure as possible.

Customised Software is Adaptable

Ready made software is designed to be adaptable and flexible, meeting your company’s needs and requirements both now and in the future. Even if you need a few different software programmes to accomplish organisational tasks, a custom developer will be able to integrate the different processes that you need into a single, usable application. Custom software is also much more likely to be cross-platform suitable, so you can be sure that when your company goes mobile you have the software that will support it.

Software Development Life Cycle – Introduction Model Stages and Advantages

Posted on July 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

What is the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?

SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle is essentially the process or phases of a model or methodology, which software engineers and developers follow in developing an application or software. In simpler words, it is a process consisting of a series of planned activities for planning, creating, testing, deploying and maintenance of software.

SDLC is often referred as software development process, as it consists of all tasks, which needs to be followed while developing an application or software. SDLC is followed within IT development companies to develop, alter, replace or enhance the performance of the software. ISO/IEC 12207 is an international standard for SDLC, which ensures high quality of the newly developed software. It also helps IT development companies in improving the overall quality of their software development services.

What are the major SDLC Models, followed in the IT Industry?

There are various SDLS models, which are currently followed in the IT Industry. Often referred as ‘Software Development Process Models’, all the process models follow unique software development steps, ensuring 100% success of the development projects.

The major software development life cycle models are-

  • Waterfall Model
  • Iterative Model
  • Spiral Model
  • V-Model
  • Big Bang Model

Other related models are Rapid Application Development (RAD), Prototype and Agile Models.

The advantages of choosing an appropriate Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)-

  • Increased Product Quality
  • Increased Development Speed
  • Improved Client Relations
  • Improved Tracking & Control
  • Decreased Project Risks
  • Decreased Project Management Overhead

What are the different stages of SDLC?

Stage 1:

Planning and Requirement Analysis

This is the most important stage in the SDLC. This stage needs input from the customers, sales team, industry experts, a marketing team and their survey reports. After which, senior business managers and developers of a software development company plan the project approach and the development model.

Stage 2:

Designing

After the analysis of requirements and finalizing the Design Document Specification (DDS), the product architecture is designed by an expert team. This architecture has to stand upon various parameters such as budget, time, product robustness, risk assessment and design modularity, after which it is considered for the development.

Stage 3:

Development

The actual development of the software or application starts at this stage. The team of engineers and developers follow the coding guidelines set by the organization and use different tools for code generation. The programming code is generated as per the details documented in the DDS. The developers use different high level programming languages as per the requirement.

Stage 4:

Testing

In this stage, the final product goes through a pre-defined road of testing, where defects or bugs in the product are reported and then fixed by the developers. This stage ensures that the final product meets the highest quality standards, which are accepted worldwide.

Stage 5:

Deployment

At this stage, the final product is deployed at the client base. At times, the software is integrated with the client’s current application and database. All the deployment and integration works are done under the guidance of expert software engineers and developers.

Stage 6:

Maintenance & Support

Most of the reputed IT development companies also provide complete maintenance and technical support, post deployment of the final product at client base.

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Hiring a Software Development Company or an Employee

Posted on July 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

In today’s world, many companies are upgrading their internal software or have the intention to build some type of software application. Many executives ask the question: should we hire someone internally or hire a professional company to create us our solution? At first, hiring someone internally might seem to cost less than the project price quoted by a software development company. However, in the long run, the responsibilities, risks and time involved in hiring that employee can end up costing as much as three to four times what it would to have hired a software development company in the first place.

Let’s start by discussing the responsibilities involved in hiring a software developer. First, you have to consider the wage you want to pay the developer. Software developers on average range in salary from $40,000.00 to $140,000.00 a year depending on the market you are in and the experience the developer has. While in some industries hiring the less expensive choice makes sense, this route should be avoided here due to the fact that this individual will be solely responsible for the development within the company. Based on experience, a good developer with the skill set necessary in this scenario will cost no less than $80,000.00 a year, or $40.00 per hour. If you are hiring the developer for a three month contract, at $40.00 per hour, your total cost will be somewhere around $20,000.00. Most developers are looking for a six month contract minimally, so realistically you would have to commit $40,000.00 to the position. If you are hiring the developer as a full time employee, then you have to consider benefits such as insurance and retirement, which could increase this amount significantly.

Salary aside, the hiring process itself provides its own challenges. First, the manager has to have the experience to judge whether the developer is qualified for the job and worth the money they are asking for. This means the manager has to take the time to test potential candidates successfully and thoroughly in all aspects of architecture and programming, since the candidate will be solely responsible for the development project at hand. In this industry, personality is a small part of the process as many developers cannot be judged on their personality; oftentimes, developers are introverted and this makes it hard for them to express their capabilities verbally. Instead, you want to focus on their skill set – but if the manager or company interviewing said developer does not have the IT experience to do so, the likelihood that the hire will fail to meet the company’s expectations is great. Once the hiring process is complete, the company will have to setup a management process for the developer.

My experience has taught me that all developers require structure, discipline and more importantly a manager who has the knowledge and experience to guide the project the developer is working on. With that in mind, a manager has to take the time to create a life cycle for the project which should include a detailed functional specification of the project and a general knowledge of the programming environment being used to create the software. The consequences of not taking the time of creating a functional specification and having the knowledge to lead the developer through the development life cycle will most likely be that the software is not created to the requirements and specifications of the company, nor being completed on schedule. I can’t express enough the importance of a manager having the functional and technical knowledge to manage the developer. This doesn’t mean the manager has to be a programmer; in fact, the manager doesn’t need to know programming at all. They do, however, need an understanding of the software development life cycle, requirement documentation and timelines with regards to the programming environment and the software application itself. With that knowledge, the manager should be able to supervise all aspects of the project including testing. The amount of time a company has to commit to hiring a developer can be enormous and the risks of not devoting the right resources and management to a project and the hired developer are great.

The risks regarding management, or lack of, is one thing, but there are risks in hiring a developer outside of management. The most obvious risk is the chance that employee or contractor will quit or leave the company for whatever reason. Imagine you have a 3 month project that needs to be completed in 3 months with no leeway in scheduling and the developer responsible for the project quits or gets sick after only 1 month of development. At that point, the company has to go through the process of hiring a new developer again, and re-invest the time to review the infrastructure of the application and environment of the software with the new hire. It’s been my experience that a new developer can’t just pick up where an old developer left off. Why? It’s not just the developer’s skills that become an asset to a company, but his or her knowledge of the application; when the developer leaves, their replacement must first learn the application and get acclimated to the previous developer’s code before having the ability to actually work with it, which could take weeks depending on the complexity of the application, the quality of the code and the associated documentation. Another risk of hiring a developer comes with the company’s expectation of his or her performance. No matter how thorough your hiring process is, oftentimes you won’t know if a developer is good until he or she gets a job or task done. If a hiring mistake is discovered after the developer has completed a project for you, this could result in not only having to redevelop the software but revisit the hiring process, both of which have the potential to cost a company greatly in more than just dollars.

A good software development company will be able to assume the aforementioned responsibilities and risks associated with software development on behalf of the company. A software development company has already absorbed the risks of hiring and will have a management team in place that has the knowledge and experience to oversee the developers and creation of the software application. A software development company will also be able to distribute the knowledge of not only the project at hand but the business process itself to a team of developers and managers instead of a single person; because of this, the consequences of losing a hire are removed from the process.

Software development companies can be an excellent choice for creating a company’s technology solution provided they have a solid understanding of the company’s needs. Without a solid understanding and knowledge of the company’s core business processes and practices, it is very likely the completed application will not represent the best interests of the company. Many times, the greatest time commitment the client must assume is passing the knowledge of their business practices and needs to the software development company. Yes, hiring an internal employee can greatly reduce the amount of time needed for knowledge transfer as the employee will gain an understanding of the company by interacting with them in person on a daily basis. However, the right software development company for the job will already have experience working in the company’s industry, thus having much of the required knowledge already. This will not only decrease the time involved with acclimating the development company to the business, but will also allow the software company to be an active participant in developing the software and make recommendations based on their previous experience within the industry.

Overall, hiring an employee may seem an attractive option at first, yet the risks and time involved in hiring and managing that employee may outweigh the benefits if your company is not prepared to do so. Employing a knowledgeable, experienced software development company that has experience in the company’s industry may cost more than hiring a developer initially; however, over time, companies invested in IT as a long-term solution will find that choosing a relationship with a software development company rather than hiring an employee will be the more beneficial route to take.

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