4 Ways to Help a Custom Software Developer Understand Your Needs

Posted on February 20, 2018 by Julie Short

An experienced custom software programming team can create applications that automate tasks, improve your marketing, and grow your bottom line. Before any of that can happen, though, they have to understand what your needs for the project look like in the first place. 

In other words, you have to help them understand what you do, so they can help. That can be a little more complicated than it sounds, since you are an expert in your business but not software development, and your programming team knows coding but might not have a firm grasp on your strengths and challenges.

Today, we want to share four of our favorite tools you can use to help a custom software development team to understand your project needs…

#1 Notes or Questionnaires

By putting together a set of written notes and observations, you can gather your thoughts, put them in order of importance, and make sure you don’t miss anything that’s crucial to the success of your software development project. Additionally, some clients like to work from notes because it relieves the pressure of having to list off their needs or ideas on the spot.

Also know that your software development partner might have a questionnaire they’ll ask you to complete. This can be a great way to get your thoughts moving and clarify your priorities.

#2 Interviews

Regardless of whether you put anything in writing or not, you can be sure your development team will want to interview you so they can get depth, context, and the answers to follow-up questions. Try not to rush this process. It can be difficult to take time out of your busy schedule to answer basic questions about your company, but the more your programming team knows, the easier it will be for them to meet your needs.

Expect your interview to last at least an hour or two, with additional questions likely to follow.

#3 Software Examples

Sometimes, new clients will come to us with examples of other software packages they like to point at. Usually, they want something that’s a little bit different than the application they are showing us, but it’s always helpful to have a starting point, if one exists. In fact, your example software doesn’t even have to be from the same business or industry.

If you do provide your team with an example, be prepared to point to a few specific features or visuals you like. Additionally, think ahead of time about the different ways you’ll want your custom software to be different.

#4 Observation

If you really want a software developer to understand what you do and why it’s important, you might invite them to watch you and your team work. That way, they can see how users or customers are interacting with your existing software, what your current workflow looks like, and how things can be improved in the future.

The advantage of this approach is that it can yield insights or ideas you might not have thought of on your own.

Need a Great Software Development Partner?

Whether you already have an idea for the custom software application you need to have built, or simply want to talk with an experienced team who can help you find profit and savings opportunities, now is the perfect time to take the next step. Call the programming experts at WebRevelation today. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and show you exactly how you can use our work to improve your business!

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How to Avoid Losing Big Money on Software Development

Posted on February 15, 2018 by Julie Short

Software development can transform an organization and help a company to save huge amounts of money over time. Or, it can be a never-ending process that results in wasted time and money.

Some of the world’s biggest organizations have seen major losses when it comes to custom software programming. Let’s look at just a few of the headline examples from recent history:

  • The Canadian government set out to consolidate 17 million webpages into a single system. After more than $35 million spent, less than 1% have been integrated.
  • The UK grocery chain Sainsbury’s wrote off roughly $300 million after its inventory automation platform was determined to be unusable.
  • Ford Motor Company scrapped its new purchasing system after investing $400 million in its development.

These are just a few examples, and they involve big organizations with enormous IT budgets. However, there are likely hundreds of smaller examples for each of these that never see the light of day. Because small and medium-sized companies don’t have as many shareholders or outside observers, their losses go unreported.

The point we want to make is that it’s easier than you might think to lose a lot of money on a software development project. Here’s how you can stop that from happening in your business

Be Clear on What You Want and Need

In many cases, the biggest software development blunders occur because the decision-makers involved didn’t have a clear picture of what they were trying to accomplish. And so, it was left to their development teams to try to sort through conflicting ideas and priorities. That’s never easy, and it can lead to delays, cost overruns, and incomplete work.

Commit Enough Time and Resources to the Project

As with most things in life, software gets a lot easier when you don’t try to cut corners. If you don’t devote enough time or money to your application, then you can’t be surprised when the finished project comes up short. You can save money by scaling back your needs and working with a smaller team that doesn’t have huge overhead expenses, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you get quality work for nothing.

Be Actively Involved in Testing and Development

Your software development team should engage you at several different points in the process, ensuring that their work meets your vision and expectations. Don’t simply rubberstamp approvals on what you see – be actively involved in the testing and development. It’s better to work out any kinks or issues early than it is to ask your vendor to re-encode big sections of your project later.

Hire a Software Programming Vendor You Can Trust

Developing a new piece of software is a lot easier, and more likely to succeed, when you have an experienced team on your side. Only hire a firm you can trust to meet their deadlines and stay true to their word. Your programming partner should be able to ask good questions and guide your thinking, not leave you with big invoices and unfulfilled promises.

We Know Custom Software Development

At WebRevelation we have 20+ years developing custom software solutions for businesses and organizations of all sizes. With offices in Oklahoma City and San Antonio, we are your affordable, dependable, and experienced programming team.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation and see what our team of experts can do for you!

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What Role Does the Client Play in Custom Software Development?

Posted on February 13, 2018 by Julie Short

In a perfect world, an entrepreneur or executive could think of an idea for a new software application, send a few notes to a talented programming team, and get a finished product they could use in just a few weeks.

That would be great, but it isn’t the world we live in. Instead, software developers and their clients need to be in continual contact, asking and answering questions on an ongoing basis until the project has been completed perfectly. When clients simply want to write a check and “have the job finished,” there are inevitable setbacks and delays that pop up along the way.

To help you avoid these kinds of difficulties, and to make it easier for ourselves and all the other experienced software programming teams out there, let’s take a look at the role clients play in the custom software development process…

You Provide the Inspiration

It goes without saying, but we need our clients to tell us what kinds of software packages they want to see built. The more specific your idea and inspiration is, the easier it will be for us to turn that vision into a reality.

We can certainly help you to flush out your thoughts and make them more concrete, but it’s a good idea to get together with some members of your team – and even a few of your customers or vendors, if they’ll be affected – to think about the different ways you can use software to improve your business. Then, we can help you put all of those needs or concepts together in a way that works.

It’s Your Job to Approve Work or Request Changes

Many new clients are very excited about the process of brainstorming new applications, but aren’t as enthusiastic (or prompt) when it comes to providing feedback. That can leave a software development team guessing about the best direction to take when moving forward.

Because it’s ultimately your money (and your business) that’s on the line, you should be as detailed and thorough as you can when reviewing design layouts, feature lists, and beta versions of your software. The more you have to say during the development process, the fewer revisions and delays you will have left to deal with when you get closer to the release of your software.

You Keep the Project on Track

Developing a new piece of software is a little bit like writing a novel. You don’t always know what twists and turns are going to be waiting for you until they arrive.

When it comes to making tough decisions that involve deadlines, budgets, or core features, it’s your job as the client to decide what best fits the vision you have in your mind. Additionally, it helps if you can stay consistent with regards to your needs, so your development team isn’t chasing a target that is constantly moving.

We Can Bring Your Ideas to Life

Have an idea for a piece of software that could make a huge impact in your business or industry? Or, do you just want to find out how a strong programming team can help you to cut costs and solve problems?

In either case, your next step is clear – contact the WebRevelation team in Oklahoma City today to learn more about our work and see how we can help. Your initial consultation is free, and it could change your business forever!

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How Clients Can Help With Custom Software Development

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Julie Short

Want to ensure your software development project goes as smoothly as possible? Want to avoid the delays, cost overruns, and late-stage changes that can make programming a new application such a hassle? 

A lot of clients think the software development process is out of their hands the minute they hire a programming team to get to work, but there are a number of ways business owners, managers, and executives can stay involved. By remaining engaged, they can help to ensure the end product is exactly what is needed and expected.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to learn how to code or use technical software. In fact, your contributions are as simple as they are important. Here are a few ways clients can help their programming teams of custom software development…

Take Time With Discovery Meetings

The most important thing you can do to ensure your software development project is a success is to make sure your development team understands exactly what you’re looking for. Explain your business, your customers, and the challenges you’re facing. Take the time to spell out any complex requirements, and point to examples of what you do and don’t like if possible.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Often, the biggest misunderstandings that come up when programming a new piece of software lie in the assumptions that either the client or developer make. Don’t simply take it for granted that your team knows exactly what you mean when you give them a direction to work from. Be as specific as you can with your feedback and examples, since this will help to prevent key ideas from being lost in translation when they are being brought to life.

Keep Focused On Your Goal

Programming a new piece of software is more of a creative endeavor than a lot of businesspeople realize. It’s easy for clients and developers alike to follow twists, turns, and inspirations at various points. As a business owner or executive, you need to keep your ultimate goal in mind. Know what you want your software to do, and how it should look. If you waver in your intentions, it will be hard for your programmer to deliver the finished product you need.

Give Sharp Design Feedback

The look and feel of your finished application is just as important as its functionality. Additionally, the design elements of your custom software project need to match your existing branding. For that reason, it’s always helpful if clients can give sharp feedback on visual elements and interfaces. These parts of your software project are easy to change in the beginning, but can require lots of work to alter when the job is nearly done.

Let Your Software Development Team Test Their Work

Any good custom software development team is going to want to test what they’ve built, extensively. Sometimes, business owners and executives will be so excited with what they see during the beta version rollout that they try to push deadlines ahead or skip testing. That’s a mistake. You want your software to be as safe, stable, and as functional as possible, so give your development team the time they need to test their work and wrap things up properly.

How to Get Started with Custom Software Development

Have an idea for a piece of custom software that could help your business grow, or just want answers to your most pressing questions about application development? Talk to the friendly and experienced team at WebRevelation. We’ll be happy to set a time to speak with you, and there’s no obligation.

Reach out to us today to set a time for your initial consultation!

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Why Enterprise System Development Can Save Your Business Money

Posted on February 6, 2018 by Julie Short

Talk to the average business owner or executive about enterprise system development and what they’ll hear is “expensive software programming that only huge companies can use.” What they should be thinking, though, is big savings with custom apps.

That’s because enterprise system development is really about using software that’s tailored to your needs in order to cut your business expenses. While there are up-front investments involved in programming, they tend to be a lot smaller than most businesspeople think. And, they are nothing compared to what you get in return.

To help you understand why, let’s take a look at a few of the ways your business could save money with enterprise system development…

Enterprise Software Can Replace Many Different Tools

In our experience, most companies have software packages and subscriptions they don’t really need. That’s because they rely on individual tools to perform very small tasks, and then keep paying for them out of habit. Or worse, they hire extra IT personnel to make all these different tools work together.

With the right enterprise software solution, you can trade multiple different software suites for one interactive program that covers everything you need. Then, you can either own it outright or license it at a discounted rate.

You Can Save Employee Hours With Enterprise Systems

If paying for many different software packages that do the same thing is a waste, then having temps, vendors, or employees handle data entry again and again is an even bigger anchor on your quarterly expenses. That’s because human data entry costs a great deal, while introducing errors into the process.

You can use enterprise systems to scan, organize, and automate virtually any task that involves storing or retrieving information. For a small investment, you can say goodbye to annoying data entry costs forever.

Enterprise Software Can Give You IT Stability

Another by-product of having many different software solutions working together in a makeshift way is that it can cause problems related to compatibility and updates. In other words, most off-the-shelf software solutions are built to be standalone; they may not play well with other applications.

By swapping out several different software tools for one solution, you can avoid these kinds of conflicts, making your networks run faster and preventing outages. That equates to higher productivity and more money in your pocket.

You Have Fewer Security Issues With an Enterprise Solution

If some of the information your business handles is sensitive, you might want to look into enterprise software development simply because it can be more secure. You can set up your application to restrict access, store data locally, or require extra passwords and controls before certain actions are performed.

Each of these makes your business just a little bit more secure, protecting you both from online thieves and everyday employee errors. The last thing any business can afford is the unexpected expense of an IT security problem.

Want to Learn More About Enterprise System Development?

You can save big by getting the right tools for your company – and you can probably do it while spending a lot less time and money on programming than you might imagine. To learn more, or to get a free quote for your enterprise system development project, contact the friendly team at WebRevelation in San Antonio today.

We’ll be happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction!

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5 Real-World Uses for Custom Enterprise Systems

Posted on February 1, 2018 by Julie Short

We like to remind our clients and prospects that enterprise systems are all about increased efficiency and savings. You can use custom applications and solutions to give yourself more time, automate repetitive tasks, and cut costs in several different areas of your company organization.

Entrepreneurs and CEOs often tell us the benefits of enterprise development sound great, but they have trouble placing them in a real-world context. So today, we want to spell out five ways you could use software solutions to take away your biggest headaches. These may or may not match your needs, but they should help you to get started in thinking about the different ways enterprise systems can work for you…

#1 Customer Service Interaction Tracking

What happens when a customer contacts you with a question or request? Imagine what it would be like to be able to track the source of the inquiry, and then follow its resolution from the first step to the conclusion. Now think of what it would be like to be able to follow up with that customer based on that information, or even market to them again in the future. What would that do for your revenue? That’s how smart companies are managing buyer interactions, and it’s one of the most obvious uses of a custom enterprise system.

#2 Data Entry and Information Recording

In the digital age getting information isn’t a problem. You could measure every marketing and buyer interaction if you wanted to, and then use what you’ve learned to generate detailed reports about trends, inventory, etc. However, most businesses struggle to properly record and utilize all the data out there. With a custom enterprise system, you could automate these processes to make information faster, more accessible, and more accurate.

#3 File Sharing and Project Management

Do you have several people, departments, or teams working together on big projects? Need to combine the efforts of in-house employees and managers with outside vendors or support personnel? If so, you could use custom enterprise software share files, to keep everyone on same page, and manage task completion in real-time. This is especially valuable if you have certain types of jobs that need to be duplicated again and again.

#4 Manufacturing and Supply Chains

It’s never easy managing resources, employee schedules, and inventory. Add those together with the difficulties associated with wholesaler or retailer orders, fluid cost concerns, and supply chain logistics and your business can become unmanageable very quickly. However, with the right enterprise software solution in place, you can enjoy better information, improved forecasting, and faster communication at every level. That’s a good way to make your manufacturing business more profitable and responsive.

#5 Cloud-Based Document Delivery

Manufacturers, professional service providers, and many other types of businesses have a need to deliver thousands of documents – including product manuals, client or patient records, etc. – that are continually being revised and updated. Additionally, they need those records to be accurate, secure, and available on a number of devices or workstations. In many cases, an enterprise software platform is the answer, giving you stability, security, and low-cost reliable performance.

Ready to See What Enterprise Systems Could Do for Your Company?

Want to move past these general examples and get a sense of what enterprise systems might be able to do for your company  or organization? Taking the next step is easy – just contact the San Antonio-based team at WebRevelation so we can discuss your business. In one short consultation, we can tell you how you can use software to save time and money every quarter.

Contact us today to get started!

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