When it comes to custom software development for your business, having your software on the cloud has become a necessity to stay competitive. Using on-premise software and bulky infrastructure is extremely cost-inefficient in comparison to cloud computing. Software that leverages the cloud provides businesses with more flexibility, technical bandwidth, and the ability to build custom software across all verticals. Transitioning from your current software development protocols to the cloud provides your business with many benefits.
First, building your custom software for cloud deployment gives your business exponential technical bandwidth. If your business currently uses servers or any other sort of onsite platform for your software, it limits the capacity of what your programs can do. Deploying your custom software on the cloud allows your programs to run on thousands of devices concurrently. Organizations that run their programs on millions of devices use the cloud to power their software, so there’s virtually no cap on your custom software deployment ability on the cloud.
Also, moving on-premise software into the cloud is easy and can save your business money immediately. On-premise software requires your business to have everything in-house; it requires all of your server hardware and software licenses to be onsite in addition to having a team of IT professionals looking after it. The cost of on-site software is also much more than using the cloud. There’s a continual cost that accompanies keeping up with onsite servers and employees.
Another reason it’s important to use the cloud for your custom software development is it forces your business to be familiar with the mainstream cloud infrastructures like AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. By familiarizing your business with these platforms, you can see what cloud computing can do for various aspects of your business. Familiarizing your business with cloud computing also educates your business on what certifications and licenses you should have if you are working in a particular sector. Getting certifications will teach you how to optimally leverage the cloud for your business needs; certifications from cloud providers serve as a testament to your business keeping up with market needs.
Moving your custom software development to the cloud enables cost optimization of cloud-based implementations. This means a simpler interface for your users and they don’t have to understand the supporting infrastructure that allows them to use software programs. Most cloud service providers can provide a pay-as-you-go model for your custom software development. This flexibility allows you to use the cloud according to your development needs instead of using extensive on-site hardware and software.
For custom software development, many companies are unable to deliver on the goods promised on a given project for their clients. Companies use all kinds of delivery models for projects, but a flexible delivery model is best. A flexible delivery model refers to the specific way you use your resources, personnel, and equipment, to deliver on a project. A flexible delivery model is a necessity for custom software development in today’s market. Flexible delivery models allow your business to adjust to customers’ needs and helps finish projects in the most cost-effective way possible.
Components of flexible delivery models include:
On-site staffing: On-site staffing refers to using individuals that your business can use to supplement your internal team when you are short on staff to complete a project. This can include contractors, seasonal workers, etc. Your business invites these individuals to your offices and they integrate with your team to deliver on a project. Once the project demands are met, the on-site staff are no longer of service to your business and this saves money for your business.
Off-site projects: Off-site projects refer to utilizing external teams to handle an entire project instead of working with your team. Off-site projects can be very helpful for your business in several scenarios. For example, if a project requires expertise your business doesn’t have, your business can use off-site projects to meet your client's needs. Off-site projects can also be used to refocus your staff on your core operations instead of being busy with unrelated work.
Blended projects: Blended projects give your business the ability to use a hybrid model to deliver on a project. In a blended project, some of your team becomes embedded with another team; this allows for someone to know the software on a project when it’s complete. With a blended project, you can leverage the expertise of both groups to achieve the project goals.
Apprentice mentoring: Apprentice mentoring is a great long-term strategy to finish projects and recruit talent that fits well with your business. In apprentice mentoring, an apprentice is hired to learn your code base, and after 6 to 9 months of mentoring on your project or existing code, your business can hire the apprentice as part of your staff. Apprentices typically come out of a boot camp, such as Max Technical Training and/or Tech Elevator Boot Camps for Java or .Net.
These mentioned flexible delivery models are some ways your business can deliver on project needs for your clients. A mixture of delivery models can be utilized simultaneously to meet project demands for clients. If you’d like to learn more about how your business can employ flexible delivery models, talk to an expert here.
Transparent delivery is one of the most important pillars in custom software development. It has become an industry norm to promise deliverables on a project and come up short. Although this makes affairs with clients difficult, lack of transparency can amplify the problems that come along with delays in projects. Some ways to improve transparent delivery in custom software development include:
Agile methods: Using agile methods for delivery of software can greatly increase transparency. Using agile for project delivery improves transparency by default because transparency is a pillar within agile development. Whether the agile methods being used are Kanban, SAFe, OKR, or normal agile, transparency is facilitated by scrum meetings. For many businesses, it is tempting to hide deficiencies and tell the managers what they want to hear and this is what often gets done. In agile development, the team is checked in with almost daily, so transparency is required and lack of it will get exposed quickly; regular demonstrations of working code are a necessity for transparency in agile. When there’s total transparency in agile, there’s less politics, better morale and there’s faster cycles for development.
Bi-weekly review of working code, budget and schedule: It’s key to have timely reviews of code, budgets and future scheduling when facilitating transparency for custom software development. A meaningful period review, like every two weeks, is a great metric to illustrate the progress a team has made in delivering on a project. By having bi-weekly reviews of working code, budgets and the schedule, a team can cover the majority of their needs and address any issues immediately. This review provides a holistic picture for project managers in regards to where their team is in delivering on a project.
Delivery prioritized based on value to the business: Prioritizing what should be delivered is one of the most overlooked aspects of custom software development. It’s very easy to look busy and do whatever is most convenient for your team. In contrast, you should inspect what are the most impactful aspects of a client's business and tailor priorities for development around those needs. For example, if one of the flagship products for a client is struggling, that should take precedence over adding tiny, flashy features on an already functional product.
Some ways to incorporate transparency into a team include:
Scrum task board: A scrum task board is a great tool for exhibiting transparency for a team. The task board shows who’s working on what along with the progress of each task. This addition to your team’s workflow can greatly increase transparency.
Evaluations: Having a team fill out anonymous evaluations for a given project can give great insight as to how much team members know about a project. If team members express they know what is going on for a project, transparency is probably good for that team. In contrast, if team members have no clue what’s going on, it likely points to a lack of transparency in that team.
One of the most important must-haves for custom software development is a developer stack. Developer stacks are comprised of the software that makes up the back end of applications, programs, etc.
Companies choose one stack over another for several reasons depending on their needs. For example, a team may select a specific stack because they are comfortable with a programming language or they might need scalability in the near future. Some of the developer stacks include Java, .Net, Mobile and Database. Some of the benefits for selecting each of these include:
Java-based staffing and projects: Java is one of the two main developer stacks that is used for custom software development. This stack is great for scalability and many enterprise programs run on Java. Java differentiates itself from .Net in its ability to work on any operating system. Java is great for products that operate at great scale because it can afford to run across all platforms.
.Net-based staffing and projects: .Net is the second of the main developer stacks for custom software development. .Net has competitive advantage over the other stacks due to its unified environment that is backed by Microsoft. .Net is a great stack for programs that are looking for horizontal scalability; this allows a program to run on many different devices concurrently. One drawback on .Net is that it’s the most expensive to migrate to from other stacks.
Mobile: Selecting mobile as a developer stack gives your business a framework that is geared towards optimizing for a mobile product or portfolio. The mobile stack allows for flexibility because it can be applied to any product’s lifecycle and optimize for mobile usage. Mobile’s stack is characterized by its three layers: acquisition, engagement/retention and monetization. This stack is newer than the mainstream stacks, but it provides untapped opportunities for custom software development.
Database: Selecting your database for a project is crucial because it can have resounding effects. There are several pros and cons of selecting mainstream databases like SQL and noSQL for projects. There is no definitive right or wrong answer, but factors like structure, size and scale of data will heavily influence the database of choice for a given project. It’s also important to remember a team may need more than one database to meet their needs; factors like data structure and data storage can influence teams to use multiple databases for the highest optimization.
Before selecting a stack for a project, teams should consider several factors. This includes:
Scalability: Scalability is a crucial factor in selecting a stack. A good stack for an application provides a good foundation; deciding whether to optimize for horizontal (running on more devices) or vertical (adding more programs and processes) scaling is also important. Having a great foundation for code and a stack will allow scalability for most programs and applications.
Team’s strength: Optimizing for your team’s strengths is another factor to consider before selecting a stack. If your business tends to use a specific programming language or framework, you should select the stack that is most suitable. This will allow you to hit the ground running and design a minimum viable product as soon as possible.
Certifications and partnerships are an essential part of custom software development. Certifications give your business credibility in addition to providing assurance for your clients. Some of the best certifications and partnerships for custom software development include:
Microsoft Silver Partner: A Microsoft silver partner is a company that has been recognized by Microsoft for demonstrating the highest competency in a given business solution area. Silver competency is awarded to the top 5% of Microsoft partners worldwide. Silver partners undergo a rigorous audit and approval process to join and they also compete with the top Microsoft partners worldwide for that position. Having a certification like the Microsoft Silver Partner sets your services apart from other competitors significantly; it exhibits that your business is world-class at software development.
Having a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Player) on Staff: Microsoft MVPs are some of the most distinguished professionals in their fields. Having a Microsoft MVP on staff illustrates the type of talent your business has to offer for clients. Microsoft MVPs are known for their advancements in their fields, community efforts and their contributions to pushing their organizations forward. There are only several thousand MVPs world-wide, so having an MVP on staff is a great advantage.
AWS Certification: AWS is the market leader among cloud providers, so getting an AWS certification for your business is incredibly helpful to exhibiting your competency. AWS serves as a continuing education platform for tech professionals. There are courses and programs on the newest technologies and getting a certification from AWS will show that your business is committed to continuously improving your services.
Azure Certification: Microsoft Azure certifications are also some of the best certifications available today. Azure offers general and role-based certifications; this allows you to choose the certifications that your business operates in so you can position yourself as a domain expert. With Microsoft having a monopoly on the personal computer OS market, most users worldwide are familiar with Windows and applications that are built on their platform.
These listed certifications and partnerships are designed to position your business as a custom software development expert. With globally recognized certifications like these, prospects will have increased buyer confidence in your services and are more likely to refer other clients to your business. If you’d like to learn how certifications and partnerships from cloud providers can propel your business, talk to an expert here.