Going digital or commencing a new software project within your enterprise can be both daunting and thrilling at the same time. But beyond the excitement, there is the knowledge that the software development company/consultant you pick as a partner can be the one thing that either helps your business excel or make it struggle.
There should be a method and purpose to choosing a software company, especially in a metropolis such as Lagos, where the competition in this industry—like many others—is steep. In a bid to outdo their competitors, some of these companies might tell you everything you want to hear to get you to pay for their services.
Enterprise software is a costly expense. Therefore, you want a software development company that you can trust to deliver excellent solutions. And trust can only be found when there is an absence of doubt. To clear every doubt, you must first do due diligence on the company of choice, and this research should be objective and thorough to enable you to make the best decision.
That said, here are 15 signs to look out for when choosing a software development company:
- The Company’s Track Record:
Your best bet is to hire a software developer with several significant years of experience under the belt. This does not imply that newer companies cannot deliver excellent products, but you are safer in the hands of a company that has well over five to ten years in the industry.
Another thing to consider is their portfolio: the projects and clients they brag about. This insight can help you see the company’s strengths, especially in creating products similar to what you are looking to onboard. While expertise in various technologies, languages, and solutions is great, quality should always trump quantity when it’s time to decide.
- The Company’s Knowledge of Your Project Scope:
Many issues can arise when there is a poor definition of the project scope from the jump. Having a detailed, end-to-end scope of your project before contacting a software company is very crucial. This can be compiled by asking your employees about their problem areas and how they believe technology can improve their workflow. Your project scope clearly states your needs and helps you communicate them easily with your software company.
Before going further with any agreement, you should have a sit-down with your prospective software company to know if they understand the scope of the project you are trying to embark on. They should be able to ask you questions that help them proffer better solutions while answering your questions regarding the same technologies. The scope will also determine the pricing, so you should be very suspicious of any company that refuses to clarify and agree on a scope with you.
- The Company’s Reviews:
Portfolios are not enough in this industry. While a long list of big names can be enticing, the customer’s experience is just as valuable, if not more. Therefore, it is important to read up or inquire about their past clients’ experiences collaborating with the company you are looking at.
Ask the software company for their references, and possibly speak to their past clients to find out about their experience first hand. Also, while looking at the reviews, expect to see some not-so-favourable reviews because it can also be a red flag if there are only good reviews.
- The Company’s Business and Technology Know-How:
You may find many software development companies in Lagos. Still, it can take a little more digging to find a company that truly understands the business of consulting for your enterprise or industry in particular.
Customising impressive software with a pleasing interface alone is only one facet of this transformation; it should also improve efficiency, save time, and increase profit. An exceptional software company understands how to merge your business principles with their technological prowess to meet all your desires and operational goals.
- The Time Frame:
A company with Fortune 500s on its clientele list is of no benefit to you if they will not be available to attend to your needs. Therefore, after coming up with a realistic timeline for your project, your software company of choice should be able to commit to the stipulated time. This means asking questions like how many hours they can commit to your project per day/week, how frequently they will give you updates and what interruptions to expect, as well as supplementary time for new features, training, and testing.
- The Cost vs ROI:
Getting enterprise software is a big financial responsibility. Often, a cheap invoice translates to a cheap solution in this industry, so you have to be wary of those offering you mouth-watering deals. We already stated that pricing varies with project scope, but even your timeline and added needs can affect the cost of the software.
A company with dynamic pricing is your best bet; this way, you are not charged outrageous prices for requirements outside your agreed scope. If you decide to go all out and pay big bucks, make sure that you are privy to the perks and added values of their expensive solutions.
But this does not mean you cannot have a budget. The important thing is that the software company gives you value equal to the money you are willing to pay, and you should also be willing to pay good money for good solutions. You will surely reap the benefits.
And finally, remember to put everything in writing, so you’re not conned into paying more money along the line.
- Software Development Model:
Have several sit-downs with the software development company to find out their definition of creating value and their preferred methods to accomplish this. This can be in the form of a case-study session to review their previous projects and their paths to yield positive outcomes.
In most cases, highly collaborative and flexible models work the best. Since enterprise software is not one-size-fits-all, you would have the most favourable experience with one that can easily adapt to change.
- Delivery Methodology:
One thing that you must agree upon with your software developers are the stages of implementation of the solution from start to finish. This schedule helps you track deliverables and the progress of the project and know when you are on track to meet your deadline or fall behind schedule.
- Post-Deployment Support:
When a company cares about its reputation and delivering top-notch solutions and product development, it will add post-deployment support for your system to run smoothly. Enterprise software requires backups and maintenance of infrastructure, and so if this is not agreed upon, you may have to find a company that offers this service.
It is also up to you to find out the scope of this post-deployment support so that you know what is expected of the software company. Again, write it all down to avoid future conflict.
- Project Management System:
There should be a project management system that oversees the project from start to finish. A software company should assign a project manager to all projects. This middle man should have a birds’ eye view of the project, handle both clients and consultants, and organise meetings and other correspondence. A good project management system will ensure a smooth-running project.
- Resource Capacity:
If the scope of your project is large, then your software company should also be a large-scale one with the workforce resources to accommodate the volume of your project. If you are a small or medium enterprise, you will fare well with an agency of your size. Find out what your software provider can handle before heaping it on their plates.
- Resource Competence:
A yes-man is a huge red flag in the software development industry, and you can spot such companies at the initial consultation phase. Any company that says yes to every single request might not be competent enough to offer suggestions or is manipulating the truth to gain customers. You should be mindful of them.
Also, the expertise, professionalism, and problem-solving abilities of the developer(s) being assigned to your project must be taken into consideration. Working with a person who has an abrasive personality can cause the project to fail.
- Communication Policy:
Miscommunication contributes greatly to failed projects. Apart from meetings and scheduled discussions, communication is most important when there is a delay. Instead of going AWOL, you want a software partner who understands the value of communicating when there is an issue. This way, you will not be blindsided or taken by surprise at any point, and you can cover up any gaps so that things do not get out of hand.
- Customer Service/Satisfaction Policy:
It is necessary to partner with a software company that prioritizes customer happiness, a company that is prepared to be hands-on at every stage. This means hiring polite, humble, and attentive consultants who exhibit professional behavior. A satisfied customer can give birth to a long-term relationship that would benefit both companies in the future.
- Data/Information Safety Policies:
Enterprises should take cognisance of the confidentiality of information and data being shared and stored from the beginning. It is a significant investment, so factors like ownership of codes, encryptions, data loss, and other deployment risks should be decided upon before any agreement is met.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a software company, and none of these things should be negotiated. But look no further for a software company in Lagos that will meet all these criteria. Hidden Brains has come to put an end to your search. We not only check all these boxes, but we never stop learning and advancing our knowledge to serve you better.