For businesses, it’s never too early to look into the future and plan for investment and growth. Yearly forecasts often include some kind of investment in software development. A new app. A new platform. Or updates to existing technology.
When budgeting, it’s important to look at the investment behind the numbers. What is the value the business will gain in a few months, a year or beyond? Software that functions at its maximum output is the goal. But true ROI goes so much further.
Any web or mobile app development company can create software that performs as expected. Few take the partnership a step further, offering trend insight to help you shape your solution to better match evolving tech capabilities. These are the partners who challenge you, helping you completely rethink what you need to best fit your business strategy.
The truth is: they’re hard to find.
How to Identify Standout Partners in the Crowd
Do Your Research
Before you select a web or mobile app development company, complete your due diligence. Ask for references and reach out to previous clients to learn more about their experiences.
Ask these five questions when interviewing development house references:
- What was your overall experience like working with X?
- Was your project delivered on time and in budget?
- What value did X add that you didn’t anticipate?
- How did you overcome challenges along the way?
- Was the final result in line with what you expected?
- How did they collaborate with you throughout the course of the project?
Don’t Settle for a Race to the Bottom
The landscape to secure client business is a competitive one. Developer Economics estimates there are 2.3 million developers worldwide with 680,000 of those working in the U.S. These developers are either working independently or split between firms across the country. With a glut of developers and firms vying to secure business, many mobile and digital solution providers will say what it takes — whatever it takes — to secure client business. This includes overpromising on delivery time and underestimating the funds it will take to actually complete the project.
Look Beyond the Best Rate
Don’t select a mobile app development company just because they offer you the best rate. Consider what might accompany that decision to undercut the competition. Maybe they are an inexperienced firm hoping to win big business and bolster their portfolio? Whatever the case, set yourself up for success by securing the long-term value that comes with practiced software development.
Avoid the Classic Oversell
When new clients release an RFP for business and software development firms respond, clients hear it all. All vendors claim to be the best, the first and the smartest. So how can you recognize the diamonds in the pack who actually CAN deliver? Ask yourself, do the vendors I’m considering know as much or more than me? They should have the technical expertise to add value and show you what you don’t already know. That’s what you’re paying for. Growth is another factor to consider. During the software partner’s time in business, has it been stagnant or marked by continued expansion?
Especially in choosing a strategy firm, look for a partner whose business trajectory mirrors the results you are hoping to achieve. Here are telltale signs you’re being oversold:
- The vendor can’t offer specifics detailing how they plan to execute on their recommendations.
- They don’t ask thought-provoking questions. They are only parroting back your assumptions.
- They offer aggressive timelines that seem too good to be true.
- Their rates are SIGNIFICANTLY lower than other vendors. This could be a vendor’s play to expand their area of expertise. Ask yourself if you want your project to be the guinea pig?
Look for High Partner Involvement
Valuable, functional apps aren’t built in a vacuum. They require collaboration and communication between the project delivery team and client along the way. Formal check-ins between client and team should happen on a weekly basis.
If you’re in talks to select a development partner and they don’t mention collaborative planning and review sessions, gather your sketches and don’t look back.
How to Spot a Custom Software Partner Early On
They Ask A Lot of Questions
Your software development partner should challenge you. They bring a wealth of experience, having worked on an expansive set of projects for other clients. They have seen and experienced what works — and what doesn’t. They are widely familiar with the use patterns of today and what features work best across the variety of devices in the market.
Your software company moves from provider to partner status when they can offer new insight you haven’t considered and offer suggestions to take your solution to the next level. This should be the standard. Unfortunately, it isn’t. When you find it, you’ll know you’ve struck gold.
They Advocate for You
Find a good software development partner and they become a technical extension of your close-knit product team. Call it mind-meld or just close listening, you become in synch. As a result, your mobile app development company has an understanding of your needs and expectations. Your partner should become your biggest supporter and most trusted counsel.
On-time delivery. In-budget completion. These are the hallmarks of an expert technology partner.