What is a software agency?
A software agency (or software development company) is a company that develops and builds custom software applications, frameworks, and other software components to assist in business problem-solving and achieving business goals.
Let’s start by discussing what software development is in order to have a better understanding of how this process evolves. The process of conceptualizing, defining, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug-fixing that goes into building and maintaining applications, frameworks, or other software components is known as software development.
A software development business assembles all software components. Research, new development, prototyping, modification, reuse, re-engineering, maintenance, and other activities are included from the software’s conception to its final product. Each business will have its own client interaction approach and development process.
What are the services a software agency provides?
Different Software agencies provide various services to clients based on their capabilities and market needs. However, these are two primary services that most software agencies have:
Custom Software and Mobile App Development
Custom software development is the solution built for the client’s specific requirements. Custom software is created for a specific client and, therefore, will be customed to that client’s demands. The client won’t need to change your present workflow in order to use these customized solutions because they were developed to comply with the client’s business process. The solution may be linked to other outdated custom or off-the-shelf software or replace these old systems. The client or the business owner can also upgrade or expand the custom software’s feature set in the future because they own the source code. Custom software is considered a premium alternative to ready-to-use software or “off-the-shelf” software due to its tailor-made characteristics and price.
For these reasons, all or most of the custom software’s features are expected to be set right before the very first development phase. A software agency will build the product for a fixed cost and within a contractually agreed-upon timeframe so the client will not have to pay for additional costs. Otherwise, the popularity of the agile methodology in software and mobile app development has helped businesses optimize the development cost by breaking the software or the application into different development phases and modules. For startups and businesses in which the processes are not matured, the first development phase mostly focuses on delivering an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that has all the essential functions so the end users can test and give feedback on its usage.
Offshore Development Center (ODC)
Contrary to custom software development, the ODC model doesn’t start with a full requirement of software/mobile application features. In many cases, the client doesn’t have a full vision of the feature set right from the start, or the client already has a development team in-house and their product is in the middle of the development roadmap. In these situations, the client doesn’t want a full development team but only needs to add some specific skill set to their already-formed team or to form the development team of their own will. To satisfy this demand, the software agency will provide talents on a monthly basis, which is called “man-month” as in industrial terms.
Once the talent from the software agency joins the client’s team, he will work closely with the technical team lead, under the latter’s supervision and assignments. For the client, choosing an ODC that can provide good-quality developers at a reasonable price is essential. Other hands, the difference between a good ODC provider and a Not Good one lies in the consistency of its developers’ performance. Although the hired talent works under the client’s direct supervision, the ODC provider always has to support that talent’s daily needs and prepare back up as soon as an unexpected event occurs such as sickness, family leaves… or so on.
Knowing exactly what you need as a development workforce at the moment is crucial to selecting the best outsourcing model for your business in terms of budget and successful delivery.
What does a software agency company do with app development?
1. Identifying the need
A software agency will first make an effort to comprehend the significance of the software they will develop. Why is it necessary? What specifications must be met? What effects will the software have on users?
At ICTS Custom Software, our first phase will always be Analyzing the actual workflow. At the beginning of the project, we assigned a senior business analyst to analyze the actual workflow in the client’s organization, from which we will draft out the software development roadmap. In some cases, our clients have many ideas which are either too ambitious compared to their budget or too vague due to the lack of software concepts. This is why we always consult them to visualize their ideas into wireframes, which are the first basic draft of their software or mobile app on paper.
2. Developing the software
The Software agency will then proceed to design and create the software to suit the criteria they chose and the needs of the clients. They might work on computer programs, mobile apps, SaaS services, and other things.
At this phase, we often divide the process into many steps in order to help the client’s staff onboard smoothly with the new digital working environment and also to adjust the software whenever our clients needed to keep up with the market. To manage the development phase, there are many methodologies such as waterfall, agile, scrum, and kanban,… each of them, of course, has advantages and disadvantages. ICTS custom software applies the agile development model in our workflow. This means the development will be reviewed constantly, but it also maximizes process efficiency and results in a perfectly adjusted application.
3. Testing & quality assurance
A software business may incorporate testing and iterations into the development process if they adapt to the agile methodology. Some businesses do not use this process and run their testing at the end of the development. In either scenario, the software agency will test it when development is finished to make sure it performs as expected and that their clients will obtain the desired outcomes. During this period, they will also identify any input and fix any bug they may have encountered.
4. Release and maintenance
Finally, the agency will release the product. At this phase, businesses can use their own software because the product is ready for users. To guarantee that the product is continually functioning properly, the software agency may additionally offer ongoing maintenance or support.
Software development is a long run. You have to keep close contact with the software agency to instant update and adjust the software to fit your business need and keep up with the market.
Most software agencies will follow this fundamental workflow. However, some businesses improve their process and make them easy for every client by putting what they have learned after working on numerous projects into practice. For example, with non-tech clients, ICTS Custom Software usually breakdown the process into understandable milestones in order to help our clients visualize the final product and help them make their decision easier in each development phase.
How to choose the right Software Agency
So the question is how to choose the right Software Agency that can work for you. Here are some tips
Choose the right software agency category.
Three categories can be used to categorize software agencies.
- Technologically focused: those who pride themselves on being experts in technologies such as Nodejs, Python (Django), Vue JS, and React Native
- Business-focused: with service that is optimized to satisfy certain corporate objectives.
- Generally focused: works on everything in any sector or technology.
By taking a look at the company blog, you can easily determine whether they focus more on technological breakthroughs or business efficiency and time-saving strategies. Make a wise choice based on the things you want to optimize while keeping your business goals in mind.
Look through their past projects.
Happy clients tell us a lot about a business. Software development companies often make it simple for you to view examples of their previous projects.
Gathering references can be done in a variety of ways.
- Look through the case studies section and home page of the software development company’s website.
- Visit their social channels and listing sites like LinkedIn or Clutch and Goodfirms.
- Use the software developed by the software agency.
Be aware that some of the sources are only available upon request. Particularly in the business sector, not all clients would like to be connected to software providers.
The right agency size for your vision.
With software agencies, your business will be expanded. They will have an impact on some of the business processes as well as how you design software. The secret to efficient communication and workflow is to align your culture with the software agency you work with.
If you want to move quickly with SME business, have access to the founders, and receive professional guidance that is specifically customized to your needs, then choose an agency that caters to your size. On the other hand, if you require enterprise software development, corporate-style release cycles, best-in-class documentation, and hundreds of developers, look for a larger partner who provides standardized custom software development services.
How they manage when your project does not go as expected
There is always a little excitement when we think about new products. Everyone is overly optimistic about the future and the chances that come along the way. However, in reality, even under ideal circumstances, things can go wrong.
In such a situation, both sides must be supportive and eager to go above and overcome the problem to put things right. Before you contract, do not be hesitant to ask for some information from a software development agency.
- How had they acted in the past when their projects turned out to be underestimated?
- How were production-level occurrences that occurred on the weekend or at night handled?
- Do they stop development the moment you are a few weeks late with a payment?
Your understanding of the software development agency will be greatly improved by the responses.
If you have any ideas for your business but don’t know how to start, Contact us for consultancy and see if we are the right Software Agency for you.