Software outsourcing is beneficial for the rapid growth of businesses. It cuts out additional time, finances, and human resources resulting in better ROI. However, CEOs or business owners sometimes feel hesitant about making such a decision because of the fear of no physical interaction with their potential business partner. On the other hand, there are many software outsourcing companies and we stumble upon plenty of information available on the internet, which sometimes makes the selection process composite.
Companies try to differentiate between relevant and useful content concentrating on such important questions as where to find a software vendor and how to choose the right software vendor to succeed in business goals. The idea of custom software development is to build a tailor-made solution that will exactly meet the companies’ goals and will put an end to the open-source software usage with monthly or annual fees. Thus, while outsourcing your custom software development needs, it’s extremely crucial to clearly state what to look for in a software vendor.
We, at CodeRiders, have heard a lot about these common struggles from our clients. One of our articles gives useful tips for effective software vendor management.
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Because of the popularity and prevalence of this topic, CodeRiders decided to file up the best ways and platforms for finding an ideal software development partner among an endless list of software outsourcing companies. The objective of our article isn’t to tell you, which software development vendor to choose or promote platforms for software outsourcing companies, rather than share useful and tangible information for choosing the right software development vendor for you.
Before exploring the best tips for choosing the right software development outsourcing company, let’s define who they are.
Custom software development vendors are software outsourcing companies that build software solutions for a specific user or a group of users within an organization. Designing customized software that meets your company goals leads to a growing level of productivity once the solution is implemented. If your organization’s needs are specific enough to warrant customized software, building one is a justified investment. Choosing a custom software vendor isn’t an easy task, and there is not a specifically defined “one-size-fits-all” strategy, however, there are still some required qualities for a custom software vendor to drive value for your company.
In this article, we’ll give answers to the following questions:
- How to choose the right software vendor
- Where to find a software vendor
- What to look for in a software vendor
1. Define Specifications and Expectations from the Project
Clearly specify your needs, and what you expect from your potential partner and consequently create your model of an ideal software vendor. Here are things to consider when specifying your custom software requirements:
Define the type of your product and make a little research if necessary
If you want an online platform to sell your products, that’s an e-commerce website, if you need software to do your learning management online that’s a learning management system, if you want a mobile application for music streaming that’s a music streaming app, etc. In any case, the significance is to outline the goal of your product even if you have small info in your hand. Another asset is to have an example of your future project. If you want something similar to a specific website, or have technical documentation make sure to share them with your future partner.
Define which online platforms are necessary for your project
There are web and mobile apps. Make it clear, which one you want. You may want both, this depends on your business and the audience. Defining the type of product is very crucial as it gives details for your required tech stack. If you’re prone to mobile app development, consider hybrid and native models. You can learn more about the pros and cons of these 2 models by checking CodeRiders’ article.
Required tech stack
If you already have in-house developers or need adding new functions to your existing website/app, you probably will have tech preferences and will look for hiring a team with the same tech stack. If you are new to the software development world and don’t know much about the technical stuff, their usage pros and cons, you can always consult the tech stack and languages with the vendor, and get quality advice right from the professionals.
Discussion over the deadlines and the project length
Although the offered estimate timing of a specific project is predictable, it’s always advisable to double-check this and make sure that both you and the software vendor are on the same track.
For example, if you’re based in Europe and hire an Asian country or a country with an underlined culture/tradition, make sure to check cultural differences and business ethics.
- Other specifications, such as company size, time zones, security requirements and procedures, working hours, and flexibility throughout the cooperation process.
The above points are the most common answers to how to choose the right software vendor. However, they can be expanded regarding your business needs.
2. Learn about the Key Values for Finding the Appropriate Software Vendor
Searching for a software vendor without exactly specifying which software outsourcing companies will be qualified candidates beforehand is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Taking your time on careful consideration of the key values of the appropriate software vendor isn’t a time waste. Thus, let’s give answers to the popular question of “what to look for in a software vendor”.
Industry and Tech Proficiency
The tech industry and the world itself are constantly in an evolving cycle and to keep up with the innovations, qualified software outsourcing companies should follow the market changes and ensure their employees are advancing their skills accordingly. A top-notch, flexible, and comprehensive software vendor decreases the omissions during the development process that have been skipped by the client in the planning stage. On the other hand, such software vendors often offer other solutions or help you along the way instead of waiting for the next task.
A logical question pops up, “Then how should I find such a software vendor?”. Besides asking your possible partner to show their experience in cross-vertical industries and portfolio, choose more tangible ways for testing them. Some companies can be a great fit for you, but may not be able to show their portfolio or previous works for various reasons like maybe they have NDA or they just didn’t build such software before. Don’t simply dismiss such software vendors instead take time to have a detailed discussion with the company representatives or give a quick test task. Besides, keeping the confidentiality of the previous clients instead of closing the next deal by any means, says a lot about the corresponding company’s merits.
Budget, Size, and Development Model
While contacting your software development vendor, it’s very important to clarify your budget, the number of developers and, which engagement model you’re more prone to.
Not every software development vendor is ready to take any kind of project with any requirements. Some companies work only on long-term projects and put the stress on innovative software solutions while others prefer small to medium size projects with one specific software requirement. We, at CodeRiders, are open to in-detail discussions. Below you can find some popular engagement models, that are used by CodeRiders. The descriptions are based on our own experience however, the overall process is unaltered.
Project-based: If you know exactly what you want, you can prepare your technical documentation and discuss your specific needs with the software vendor beforehand. In case you’re unsure about the development process, ask your software vendor to provide ongoing demos during which they’ll catch your needs and implement them accordingly. A contract is usually signed in this case, mentioning the exact tasks that need to be implemented, and the minimum upfront costs by milestones. Having a well-written scope of work document or technical documentation is crucial especially during this engagement model. It clarifies all the requirements and agreements right from the beginning.
Time and Material: This is an ideal engagement model for those companies that have a concrete image of their future product but do not have a technical specifications list or any documentation. This model is very flexible so, requirements can be switched during the development process without shaking the project cost. Meetings and reports are systematically provided.
Staff Augmentation: Although we, at CodeRiders prefer working alone on specific projects, we’re also open to providing software development support and to join other development teams as a help. Some of our developers or the team can support in-house or other outsourcing developers to meet the deadlines and work more efficiently. Besides developers, you will also have UI/UX designers, project managers, testers per your need.
Security and Intellectual Property (IP) Procedures
If you’re outsourcing your software solutions, you may have some amount of suspicion sharing your ideas and data with an outside entity. Thus, one of the most important questions is, “How can I share my idea with a software vendor and not risk them claiming it as their own”?
A careful examination of your software vendor is a great solution. If you take some basic actions to guarantee your security, you’ll benefit from outsourcing without any problems. Some important steps include:
- Ask for their previous employment agreements with their employees and samples of NDAs with previous clients. By looking through these documents, you’ll have a general clue on how serious is the software vendor’s attitude towards IP. However, that doesn’t mean that you should take these contracts as custom samples for you. Ensure you have your proper agreements in place.
- Ask your future software vendor for some laws or rules regarding IP in their country, as well as ask them to clarify if they follow any international resolutions about IP and security.
- Ask your software vendor about the project management tools they use.
- Ask about how their team members communicate with each other. How do they share documents among the staff?
All of the above-enumerated points are considered to specify which software vendor to choose. We, at CodeRiders, sign NDAs and follow IP protection rules in Armenia as well as follow the international standards.
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Another effective method for how to choose the right software vendor is using vendor selection and evaluation metrics.
Vendor Selection and Evaluation Metrics
Interviewers usually select the final partner “at a gut level”. However, choosing the partner by a certain analysis is proved to be more effective. For example, one candidate can propose a lower cost than the other one. On the contrary, the other candidate may get good results in the test task. To make sure that all the assets are carefully considered, companies often use vendor selection and evaluation metrics. This is a simple and more accurate process of comparing different offers and proposals. The metrics document can be created on a simple Excel file, via diagrams, or a sample/tool can be downloaded from open sources. The main information that is imported in the document includes:
- Basic information about a specific vendor/timeliness of delivery
- Competitiveness of price/quality of the service
- Competitiveness of terms and conditions and security procedures
- Credit rating/overall financial condition
- Reputation of the company/Level of assistance in research and development
- Expertise of sales staff/Technical support staff’s level of expertise
3. Conduct an Effective Research and Make the List of Your Qualified Candidates
Besides considering the useful tips on how to choose the right software vendor, it’s important to know where to find these software vendors. After having a general clue of your future partner’s prerequisites, start searching for appropriate companies on the well-known platforms. Besides putting the stress on the most popular social websites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, research for some collective data from the most reliable B2B platforms. Below, you’ll find the most data-driven websites for collecting the list of the top-notch software outsourcing companies around the world with objective reviews and reports: Let’s explore where to find a software vendor.
- Clutch: Clutch is a great place to collect a huge amount of information about companies from various industries, including web, software, and mobile development, IT services, and solutions. One of the biggest advantages of Clutch is that besides showing reviews and rankings, it collects objective feedback from the clients about the registered companies. On the other hand, Clutch allows learning about a specific company by following the activities of its employees, for example, their published articles. Check out CodeRiders' profile on Clutch.
- G2 (formerly G2 Crowd): This is a great platform for finding authentic timely reviews from real users about various software products and services. One of the biggest advantages of G2 is that it gives an opportunity for longer and more thorough opinions. Thus, if you want to know details about a company from a 3rd party, make sure to check this website. G2 provides buyer intent data so, if you’re busy but are still having trouble finding a typical software vendor with good rates, you can leave your company’s information and expect vendors to reach out. Check out CodeRiders’ profile on the G2 platform for more details.
- Crunchbase: Crunchbase facilitates a number of sales activities by gathering them on one single platform. Crunchbase is a great solution for finding investment opportunities, doing market research, etc. Browse, then filter out the list of your desired companies. Get in-detail information about them, check highlights, employees, financials, tech stack. Like G2, Crunchbase shows the latest news about a specific company on its profile, provides metrics about its solutions gives analysis on its web traffic and engagement by SEMrush. Check out CodeRiders’ profile on Crunchbase.
- GoodFirms: GoodFirms is another popular B2B platform for Research and Reviews of IT companies. Here you can find software outsourcing companies around the world that concentrate on mobile app development, custom software development, web development and design, E-commerce development, Blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence, etc. Recently, GoodFirms has organized a large virtual tech expo GFIT 2020. CodeRiders was also a part of this online event.
The polls and lists of the companies in these platforms may seem endless. In order not to be confused, filter your search as much as you can and check out the first 10 companies that pop up in a row, then continue with another 10, and so on. Usually, clients orientate with the first 10 and start browsing their data. For further information, check their websites and have a clearer view of the specific software vendor by checking out their blog and their approach to the working process and routine. Social media profiles and activities should also be considered.
In conclusion, software development outsourcing is a proven practice of beneficial co-operation, if companies follow certain tips, rights, and procedures. Finding a good software development vendor ensures the company’s success in the effective management of time, finance, and human resources, as well as fastens its business development process. Finding your ideal match is an easy task if you know where and how to search for a software vendor that completely follows your business criteria.
CodeRiders will address your web and mobile development challenges by creating custom software, helping with outsourcing services, or just consulting on your software development requirements.