Choosing the right software development company is a complex process. Suppose you want your partner to live up to your expectations regarding quality, professional mindset, and culture fit. In that case, you need to specify specific standards from the very beginning for choosing a software development company. This article will examine the top 15 criteria companies should consider in their supplier selection process.
When a company wants to find a reliable software development company, there are several criteria to consider – company size, pricing models, experience, etc. Rarely do they identify communication as the main factor. Here we highlight this criterion to emphasize its weight in the project’s overall success.
Ineffective communication can span many aspects, including poor English proficiency, lack of emotional intelligence, cultural differences, and more. But let’s approach this from the other side, paying more attention to understanding the client’s needs. The desire of the seller to clarify all the nuances with you ensures the comfort of your further cooperation with them.
The size of a software company and the scale of its projects are of great importance. If the provider is too big and works primarily with large enterprises, it may not be interested in your specific needs. A small company, on the contrary, may not have enough experience to operate on such a scale.
Another aspect that is affected by the vendor’s size is its ability to scale up or down the development team. Medium and large vendors have more internal resources and more external candidates. This way, they can quickly expand the development team to handle the growing workload and move people to another project if you need to shorten the deadline.
Pricing is undoubtedly not the first criterion to look at, but it plays an essential role in the decision-making process. The cheapest service, or rather the most economical one, is not always a good decision. To avoid wasting money, you must clearly understand your project’s scope and ultimate goal. Usually, the project budget is determined by the interaction model you choose.
For example, it doesn’t make sense to hire a full-time IT architect or UX designer if you only need their services for a certain period on a project. On the other hand, paying developers or QA specialists by the hour doesn’t make sense if they are fully involved in the project and work a 40-hour work week.
The fixed price model works well for companies with a complete understanding of the product and clearly defined requirements. In contrast, the dedicated development team model is optimal for long-term projects with changing conditions.
It isn’t easy to find a software development company that specializes specifically in a particular area and technology stack. Let’s say you want to expand your internal team with Java developers who work with microservices. You should first consider those vendors who can provide you with this experience and rapid staffing, regardless of all other criteria. Therefore, when looking for a specific set of skills, you should choose providers with expertise in this area.
Here arises the question – what exactly can this company do for you that others can’t? Most companies offer similar services, so searching for specific features can be a compelling argument when choosing. The best way to determine what features you need is to first think through all the possible use cases for the system and then compare them with the proposed functionality.
Before you start working with a particular supplier, ensure that the company has practical experience in similar projects in your industry. Those who develop fintech solutions and specialize in insurance, crowdfunding, and P2P lending cannot be equally good at car software development services.
The same applies to managing large-scale projects with multiple distributed teams. A company with no experience with remote teams would find it difficult to establish effective communication between groups at both the technical and organizational levels.
Feedback from customers
When choosing a software development firm, visit popular review platforms such as Clutch, GoodFirms, AppFutura, and more to get honest customer reviews of various vendors. In addition, it is essential to seek references from real, previous clients who can give you a true insight into the company’s processes and service quality. If a company is looking for professional growth, you can easily find it in the lists of the most in-demand software development firms.
Knowledge of agile development techniques is essential for any software development company today. However, that is not what we mean when we say that a service provider must be versatile. Here we want to underline the importance of business flexibility.
When choosing a software development company, ensure it is flexible enough to adapt to changes as your business grows. This applies to many aspects such as scalability, new technologies, offering different pricing models, data adoption, etc.
First, the supplier must be able to quickly adapt to your plans and strategies and scale easily as your business evolves. Second, technological progress has become so fast that the technologies you use today may be obsolete. Therefore, choosing a software development firm that can keep up with innovation is essential.
Corporate culture exceptionally values and different corporate cultures can hinder the quality of a software product, affect communication, and lead to project delays. If you want a successful partnership with a software company, you need to delve deeper into the vendor’s culture and business ethics.
For example, Indian developers are unlikely to question customer requirements and offer alternative ways to develop a product. This often leads to misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations. In some cultures, religious beliefs can make it difficult for developers to work with a client that makes or sells beer, for example.
In contrast, Eastern European software developers share Western culture, so it is easier for them to work with North American and European businesses.
Knowledge of English
Since English is the de facto lingua franca in the tech world, it goes without saying that a software company must have a reasonable level of English proficiency.
We can say that the Bulgarian IT developers have one of the highest rates of knowledge of English. Studying this language is compulsory in almost all schools in Bulgari, and students preparing for an IT career pay great attention to learning well. Many people in the country below 60 years of age speak English at some level.
Convenient geographic location is a vital criterion every business must consider when looking for a partner abroad. Short flight distance, little time difference, e, and visa-free travel are some benefits that can significantly improve outsourcing partnerships.
Technical infrastructure and office space
A software company must be able to provide a reliable and secure IT infrastructure. Companies, for their part, must ensure that the vendor can equip their future team with suitable hardware, software, networks, and all the technical infrastructure needed to develop, test, deliver, and support IT services.
Comfortable office infrastructure is no less critical. Suitable office spaces are conveniently located, have plenty of space, enough conference rooms and seating areas, and, most importantly, they must be safe. Intelligent office spaces can help employees increase productivity, reduce stress, and spur creativity.
When negotiating a deal with a software development firm, ask about their employee training policy. The supplier must provide its employees with various training opportunities so that all distributed team members use the same coding methods and speak the same language.
It is essential that the supplier takes care of the professional development of its employees and provides them with the necessary tools, such as professional certificates, leadership programs, employee career maps, etc.
Exchange of information and termination of cooperation
It’s no secret that they take valuable knowledge when a software developer or manager leaves a project. Thus, a software development firm needs to organize and encourage knowledge-sharing sessions between team members within a project. This practice is essential for distributed teams that work remotely and are located worldwide. Sharing best practices eliminates loss of knowledge about the project and gaps in misunderstandings.
Companies looking for a software development partner rarely consider how they will end the partnership. Ending a partnership with a software company is just as important as the search and selection process. The supplier must ensure that project knowledge is well documented and experience transferred to the client.
Safety of data
Some companies focus only on closed enterprise systems, others choose cloud solutions, and others use mixed approaches. Each company has its attitude to security and its requirements for ensuring it. But no matter what you choose, you need to ensure that the platform offered by the vendors keeps your data safe while being flexible enough to meet all your needs.
Customization and integration
Most customers are interested in the possibility of integrating the proposed software solutions with those already used in the company. Sometimes this can be critical. However, not all vendors can provide fast and efficient integration with other programs, so this aspect should be considered in advance and one of the first.
Easy to learn and use
This is a critical parameter, and it can be decisive. You must ensure that every employee in your organization can use your chosen platform.
Competent suppliers pay special attention to this parameter. Many try to make their interfaces as easy and intuitive as possible while using elements already familiar to users – for example, those used in social networks.
To evaluate this criterion, it is desirable to use test periods of using the system to analyze the “feedback” of users. And remember – no matter how powerful and functional the system is, it does not deserve attention if it is cumbersome and inconvenient to use.
Support and maintenance cost
Make sure the vendor offers adequate support for their product. Prices here vary widely – some manufacturers charge more than 20 percent of the annual license, while others, on the contrary, offer free support. Some vendors set up the system and then leave it up to solve problematic issues. Others commit themselves to constantly updating and tweaking the platform as new versions are released.
Contractor’s brand reputation
A software company’s image in global and local technology markets dramatically impacts how well and quickly it can attract technical talent. The company is looking for a software development partner, above all, to get rid of the hassle of recruiting and share the risk of hiring people. Thus, a salesperson with a reputable employer image has fewer staffing and retention issues. Therefore, the employer brand is a decisive criterion that must be considered when choosing a partner.
You must pay attention to whether the contractor acts as an expert in his industry and his resources for training users. Regularly releasing educational materials, manuals, seminars, and the like is a good sign that you are dealing with professionals. In an industry as volatile and rapidly evolving as IT, working with people who provide their clients with up-to-date knowledge is preferable. This helps in achieving common goals.
Good interpersonal relationships between business partners directly affect the success of both parties. So when a salesperson shows genuine concern for a customer’s success, it’s a game-changer. If a supplier does not offer genuine enthusiasm for your project and your business in the early stages of cooperation, this should be a wake-up call for you.
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