In 2020, technology will make or break a business’ success. It improves productivity, streamlines processes, and allows complex business structures to integrate seamlessly. Your ability to successfully launch and use these technologies is critical to your business’ growth.
Organizing and managing all IT solutions in-house can be expensive, timely, and stressful, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. When you’re needing unbiased solutions for your company’s tech needs, a software consulting company will deliver.
Software consulting companies don’t just develop software programs. They meet one-on-one with business owners, find out their business needs, and create software solutions to make their day-to-day operations run smoothly.
But is software consulting the right option for your company? Before you hire one, consider asking them the following questions:
Do they have expertise in related technology?
Are they able to control costs throughout the project?
Are they able to provide you with objective advice?
How are they better than other companies? Do they have some competitive advantages?
Once you’ve figured out if a software consulting company is right for you, you’ll need to ensure they’ll be reliable throughout the journey. What does it mean for a consulting company to be reliable?
They keep their commitments.
They communicate clearly and regularly.
They finish what they start.
They’re honest. And even if things go bad, they won’t try to cover it up.
In this article, we’ll outline 5 factors to consider when hiring a software consulting company to ensure your business is able to keep up with the latest tech in this fast-paced world.
5 Factors to Consider When Hiring a Software Consulting Company
Hiring a software consulting company isn’t an easy task. There are a number of variables that are crucial to consider choosing the right company.
Here are 5 factors to consider when hiring a software consulting company:
1. The Company’s Profile
The first thing you’ll want to do to ensure you choose the right company is to analyze their company profile.
Are they new or long-standing?
How long have they been in business? Did they start this year? Or have they been in business for a decade? Make sure you find out how long they’ve been serving their clientele.
Are they credible?
Do they have a solid reputation? What are their references like? Are they willing to connect you with a past client to ask about their experience? Did they manage to meet all the client’s requirements?
Do they have the right experience?
How many developers do they have on the team? What is the average number of years of experience? Do they have the necessary experience to tackle your business’ specific designs and UX needs?
What technologies do they use? Are they up-to-date? Do they have experience with the specific tech your business needs?
Does their service offering match your needs?
Do they offer a choice of architecture, like popular microservices?
Are they a small company or a large vendor? Depending on your needs, either could be good. If they’re small and you need to scale, would they be able to enlarge their team if necessary?
2. Past Projects
Do they have relevant experience?
Have they built a software solution in the past that is similar to what you want to build? Can they show you some examples?
Are they transparent about problem-solving?
What problems occurred in past projects and how did they handle them?
Will they maintain the project?
Do they have experience with project maintenance? Will they offer to maintain the project with your business?
What about security?
Do they have experience with software security and network security? If not, your project could be at risk.
How is their initial communication?
How are their basic communications skills? Is communicating with them easy or difficult? Are they helpful and engaged? Or uninterested and “busy”?
If the vendor isn’t from the U.S., do they speak proper English?
From initial talks, do they seem to understand what you want to build? Do they “get” your vision? If not, you could run into a lot of trouble down the road.
What’s their communication tech like?
Do they use a transparent project management tool or instant messaging tool like Slack? Did they suggest regular video calls through Skype or Zoom? This is especially important when working with a remote team or vendor.
How is their communication process?
What’s their communication process and methodology? Is it transparent? Did they suggest regular phone calls? Have they developed and tested the communication model that worked in other projects? How does it work?
Does it make sense?
How detailed is the proposal? Do they provide a line item breakdown of tasks and hours?
Are they including everything?
Do they include time for design and testing? Did they also estimate the infrastructure cost (cloud, AWS)?
Did they provide the cost of software testing? If not, that might be bad news. That usually means it’ll be tested by the developers which is not very effective cost-wise, nor a good testing methodology since professional testers should be involved.
How do they measure up against competition?
How does the price compare? If it is higher than another quote, is the company able to justify it? Do they provide clear reasoning of their prices? If they can’t provide a clear reason for their prices, especially if they’re higher, that’s not a good sign.
How much thought went into estimation?
Is the project estimated in detail? Or is it just a brief estimation?
How much time did it take them to estimate? If they sent back the estimation the very same day, that might indicate that it’s not well thought out.
When your project is complete, is your development team going to have your back? What’s their plan after the project is complete? Are they offering to maintain a project for you?
Will they support you? If so, how? You want to ensure they have you covered if something goes wrong or you have questions.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
Choosing the right software consulting company is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Once you’ve covered the 5 factors above in narrowing down the right company, you’re almost set. However, there are a few red flags you’ll need to watch out for. If you encounter any of these in your screening process, it’s a good sign you should move on to another choice
Don’t choose the company if:
They aren’t willing to provide you with contact to their previous clients. They should be able to give you names, phone numbers, and project details. If they set up a meeting, that’s even better.
If they haven’t built anything similar to your project. The risk of failure is too high.
If they don’t know the core technology you want to use, or if they aren’t up to date with recent tech changes. You should get a local senior software engineer to interview the team from a technical standpoint. Ideally, you should also involve a problem-solving challenge.
Are their engineers competent? Do they understand you? If you see they don’t fully understand or comprehend what you’re saying, they’ll likely not be a good engineer.
If you feel the initial communication isn’t great, it will be even worse if you decide to go on with the project.
Do their engineers speak English well? This is especially important if they’re not from the U.S.
If they’re too cheap. If the price is too low, it can be a sign they aren’t actually good. If they’re too inexpensive, it means they also hire a cheap workforce, which means the standard of quality and ability will likely be compromised. The cost of a qualified software engineer, even outside of the U.S., is pretty high, so if the price is too low, you should expect problems.
If they don’t have the same vision of the final product as you. Not being on the same page with the development team can be a recipe for disaster.
If they don’t consider maintaining the project. It means the product quality might be bad and hard to maintain. They should be the first ones to tell you ongoing maintenance is included.
Finding a Reliable Software Consulting Company
Trying to manage all of your IT solutions in-house can be costly. Not only is it costly money-wise, but it can also cost you time, resources, and even your sanity. You have enough team members and tasks to juggle as it is running a company.
Handing off your developmental needs over to a credible third-party company will allow you to take advantage of the latest tech that can streamline your business while taking a load off your shoulders.
Hiring a software consulting company is a great idea for your project if you want to ensure your business is competing at the highest level, but only if you choose the right one. Your decision should only be made after getting all possible data.
By going over these 5 factors when hiring a software consulting company, you’ll ensure you’re able to collaborate with a reliable development team who will see your success from the start of the project to the end and beyond.
If you want to ensure you’re able to compete with the latest tech, and aren’t sure where to start, reach out to us at DevsData.
We’re a technology consulting company and software agency based in New York City and Europe. Equipped with Google-level engineers, we have the skills, experience, and resources to build complex, personalized technology systems to grow your business.
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