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Why Do Custom Software Development Projects Go Over Budget?

Posted on April 17, 2018 by Julie Short

Why Custom Software Development Projects Go Over BudgetMany of the new clients who come to us have horror stories about custom software development projects that went way over their original and intended budgets. Nearly all of them have at least heard about these kinds of nightmares. As a result, they come to us feeling understandably worried about the costs associated with programming something new.

In order to help calm their fears, we typically do offer two things. First, we show them our long track record of success with delivering new pieces of software on time and under budget. Second, we explain the biggest reasons why so many custom software development projects end up costing more than they should.

Today, we want to lay out a few of those issues here…

Insufficient Understanding of the Project

The most common reason it’s difficult to complete a custom software development project for the right fee is the programmers really didn’t understand the scope of the job to begin with. In other words, they heard what the client asked for, but didn’t necessarily understand all the various features and functions that had to be incorporated. They didn’t ask enough questions (or not enough information was provided), so the project just seems to get bigger and bigger with each passing week.

Project Creep and Scope Changes

Project creep – the phenomenon where clients and/or their programming teams keep adding new features to the list of deliverables – can be a real issue, too. This occurs when a management team asks for one thing, but then treats the resulting software project like a Christmas tree, adding one new idea to the list after another until the whole thing falls down. An experienced programming partner can help keep this from happening, but the best way to prevent project creep is by simply being aware of it.

Bad or Deceptive Software Development Quotes

It’s unfortunate, but some custom software development companies will knowingly under-quote a project to get a client’s business. Then, they’ll add to the costs as work moves along, knowing that a business owner or executive is unlikely to find a new vendor once the job is underway. Obviously, you can mitigate this somewhat by being careful about agreements and invoices, but it’s better to simply avoid firms that don’t have a great reputation in the programming industry.

New Ideas or Inspirations from Programming Clients

This is somewhat less common but can actually be a good thing. If, in the middle of your custom software development project, you spot an opportunity to spend a little more and make the resulting product even better or more profitable, then why not go for it? If you come up with an idea that’s a winner and fits into the framework of what you are already planning, adding something a little extra to your contract – and getting a better business tool as a result – can be a good value.

Need a Custom Software Development Team You Can Count On?

At WebRevelation, we have decades of combined experience in planning, designing, and programming new pieces of software. If you want to work with a vendor that will take the time to understand your project, and then deliver just what you need at the right price, contact us today so we can get to work for you!

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What You Need to Know About API Integration

Posted on April 12, 2018 by Julie Short

What You Need to Know About API IntegrationIt would be a very unusual day if a business owner were call us out of the blue and want to talk about API integration. Most decision-makers outside the IT realm aren’t really sure what the term means, and only tend to think about it when they’re experiencing problems they don’t understand.

And yet, API integration can actually have a big effect on your company’s bottom line.

Don’t worry: we aren’t going to try to make you an expert in software programming or web development. What we do want, though, is to share a few simple ideas about API integration custom app development that can help you to meet your business goals.

An Introduction to Application Program Interfaces (or APIs)

APIs might sound complicated, but they aren’t. Basically, they allow your website to interface with other tools. For instance, when you go to set an appointment online, and are taken to someone’s Google calendar, there is an API making the connection between two different pieces of software.

APIs can be used in a lot of different ways. You probably encounter them all the time without knowing it. For example, many widgets that supply information on weather, sports scores, stock prices, or currency exchange rates all use APIs. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter rely on several of them.

You might be thinking that is interesting but doesn’t seem relevant to your business. That brings us to the next point.

You Probably Use (or Will Use) APIs On Your Website

At some point, it’s likely you’ll want specific data (possibly from a third-party or off-line source) to be displayed in your website. That might be to help with sales, to give some useful context, or just as a useful plug-in for guests. So, there’s a good chance you’ll be using an API to bring your website together with some other social or informational tool.

However, most web developers aren’t going to build APIs from scratch. That can be problematic because every piece of code you add to your website can slow it down, conflict with other instructions, or even lead to security vulnerabilities. Choosing the right APIs, and having them properly integrated, can be crucial even (or especially) because it happens behind the scenes.

That’s where a good web development partner comes into play.

What We Want You to Remember About API Integration

Unless you happen to be very technically-minded, or get into the details of web program on a regular basis, you probably won’t think of API integration again after you finish this article. However, hopefully you understand by this point that it’s about bringing different pieces of web-based software together. And, we hope you’ll come away with the knowledge that it's something your development team shouldn’t rush through.

When API integration isn’t handled carefully, and tested thoroughly, you can end up with problems on your website that are difficult to diagnose and fix. Pages can crash, your content can load slowly, or visitors might have the impression that things “just don’t work.”

Obviously, that’s not going to help your online strategy or your bottom line. So, while you don’t have to be an expert in API integration, you do have to hire the kind of web development company that pays attention to the details if you want to stay out of trouble.

Looking for Advanced Website Application Development?

At WebRevelation, with offices in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, we can program web applications other companies can’t. Better yet, we can finish our work on time and within budget.

To learn more about our capabilities, and what we can do to help your business grow, contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

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How to Get Great Work From a Custom Web Application Development Company

Posted on April 10, 2018 by Julie Short

How to Get Great Work From a Custom Web Application Development CompanyHow do you get a custom web application development company to do their best work?

This is a question you might not have ever considered, but it’s one you should think about if you’re building a website that will have advanced features. After all, good programming isn’t cheap or fast; you should do everything you can to get the most from your effort and investment.

It goes without saying that the first step is to work with a quality creative team in the first place. A company with lots of experience, strong technical skills, and a track record of success is much more likely to deliver the results you want than a vendor who is advertising themselves as the cheapest or fastest in the business.

Beyond that, though, there are certain things you can do as a business owner or executive to inspire a custom web application development company to produce work that’s award-worthy. Here are a few ideas to help you get started…

Make Sure Your Web Development Partner Understands the Project

This sounds so simple, but it’s crucial to the success of any project. If your custom web application development company fails to understand the details or minor points of your project, or misses a major need, then it’s going to slow things down. Or worse, it could lead to a situation where you get a finished website that doesn’t exactly do what you hoped it would. You don’t want to waste your time or money because of a simple misunderstanding.

Answer Questions With as Much Depth and Detail as Possible

You can be sure that, during the coding and design process, your web development partner is going to have a few questions. When possible, give depth and detail within your answers. Even yes and no queries can be given some context if it’s important for your team to know why you feel a certain way. This is one of those situations in life where more information is better than less. The better your development team understands your needs, the easier it will be for them to give you what you want.

Don’t Rush the Creative or Technical Process

Some business owners and executives get anxious to launch their new websites and will try to rush the process along. A good custom web application development company is going to resist efforts to speed through any step. That’s because we know how important it is to make sure all the bases have been covered, and that your web application has been thoroughly tested, before it goes live. That way you won’t have to deal with errors or unexpected downtime later.

Remember What You’re Trying to Build or Accomplish

The great thing about the digital age is the feeling that we have endless opportunities to connect and promote in innovative ways. The drawback is that the possibilities can quickly become overwhelming. If you want your custom web application development company to do their best work, remember what you’re trying to accomplish and don’t distract them with new ideas or priorities if they aren’t important. Then they can stay on task and focus on the outcomes that matter.

Need a Custom Web Application Development Company That Puts You First?

At WebRevelation, we have built our business up over 20+ years on client successes. When you come to us, you get real answers, real service, and the knowledge that meeting your business goals will be our top priority.

Contact us today to get answers to your questions or a quote on your web development project.

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What Do You Need From A Custom Web Application Development Company?

Posted on April 5, 2018 by Julie Short

What Do You Need From A Custom Web Application Development CompanyThere are a lot of custom web application development companies out there. We should know – we keep tabs on our industry and colleagues all the time, and find ourselves amazed at how many firms pitch their ability to generate new software.

Of course, some teams earn better reviews than others. Even though business owners and executives ultimately find us because they want a completed website with special functionality, there is a lot that goes into the process of generating a new web application. 

To help bring you closer to the tools you need, let’s look at some of the things you should look for in a web application development company…

The Patience to Learn and Research

In some ways, coding and new business app is the easy part. It’s learning about our clients, along with their ideas and challenges, that takes a special touch. We have learned over the years to be patient and let business owners and executives explain to us exactly what they need. Don’t settle for a development partner who won’t take plenty of time in the discovery phase of your project.

The Discipline to Meet Deadlines

It’s easy, if you aren’t careful, for a web application development project to go many weeks or months past a stated deadline. While some delays might be introduced by clients as they refine their ideas, it’s important to find a team you can count on to stick to a firm schedule.

A Good Eye for Design

Although your custom web application development company should be more concerned about the functionality of your website than pure aesthetics, we aren’t going to pretend looks don’t matter. Make sure you hire a team whose creative instincts are as strong as their programming chops.

An Emphasis on Usability

Usability could be considered part of design, but it’s so much bigger. Your website doesn’t just have to be powerful and beautiful, it has to be easy to use and interact with. Otherwise, no one is going to care about the unique features you're offering them.

The Ability to Take and Implement Feedback

Web programmers might be experts on coding, but they aren’t the ultimate authorities on your business. For that reason, they should be willing to take your feedback and make necessary edits or revisions quickly. If you find you’re working with a custom web application development company that thinks they always know better than you do, it might be time to shop around.

A Focus on Testing and Stability

Your website, and the underlying plug-ins, are only valuable so long as they can be used by your customers, employees, or vendors. That usually means ensuring compatibility across a wide range of devices and browsers. In order to be sure everything functions exactly as it should, your programmer should test extensively.

An Awareness of Security Standards

The last thing you want, when you’re adding new business features your website, is to introduce security issues that can be exploited by hackers. That’s why you need your team to not only prioritize online security, but to update and patch your web apps as needed to keep your company safe.

We Speak Business and Custom Web Applications

If you want to make your business website bigger, stronger, and faster, you need a programming team that can translate business opportunities into code that works flawlessly. That’s where the creative minds at WebRevelation come in.

Why not call us today and see how we take your inspiration and turn it into something that you can use to grow your company in revenue month after month?

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5 Ways You Can Use Data Integration to Grow Your Business

Posted on April 3, 2018 by Julie Short

5 Ways You Can Use Data Integration to Grow Your BusinessIs data integration just a buzzword, or a luxury for Fortune 500 firms with massive IT budgets? We don’t think so. In fact, experience has taught us that smaller and medium-sized organizations sometimes have the most to gain from organizing information more carefully.

To show you why, and get you thinking about the many ways you can use smarter technology and communications to reach your bottom-line goals, let’s look at five ways you can use data integration to grow your business…

#1 A Customer-Focused Sales Approach

Whether you realize it or not, your customers are constantly giving you new data about their needs, demographics, and preferences. They’re telling you exactly how you can sell more products and services to them. And, they’re telling you what other buyers who are in their shoes want as well.

With a smart data integration strategy, you can focus your sales and marketing on individual buyers or those who share specific traits. That’s a great way to boost revenue now and over the long run.

#2 Supply Chain and Logistics Management

The era of large warehouses filled with unsold inventory is quickly coming to an end. Today’s manufacturers and suppliers are using integrated data to track shipments, inputs, and orders in real time. They’re revolutionizing our understanding of the supply chain to maximize profitability.

This kind of coordinated production effort is virtually impossible without the right custom software. How can we help your company to get smarter about manufacturing, shipping, and storage?

#3 Auditing and Reporting Solutions

It’s much easier to have faith in the accuracy of your data when it’s coming from several sources and updated on a continual basis. That’s why automated data collection is so important to the integration process.

You can use the information you get from many different sources to generate customized reports or audit your own performance at the micro or macro level. Everything starts with having the right information. From there, drawing good conclusions is easy.

#4 Real-Time Forecasting

It’s difficult to look into the future when you can’t see the present clearly. This is another area where accurate reporting and data integration can be an enormous boost to your bottom line. When you have a firm handle on things like costs, sales, and inventory, you can move more confidently towards scheduled promotions or investments.

Forecasting and planning are crucial to the success of any business owner or executive. Those jobs are simplified with advanced data integration.

#5 Scheduling and Resource Management

You only have so many hours and employees to go around. And, your company might have shared resources like automobiles, meeting rooms, or specialized equipment. Cloud technology combined with smart data systems remove the headaches that come with overbooking or/and shortages.

With advanced data integration, you can schedule these for maximum usage and efficiency.

Want to Get Smarter About Data Integration?

You don’t have to become an IT expert to make use of data integration in your company or nonprofit. You just have to have the right tools (and creative minds) helping you to move in the right direction.

Contact the team at WebRevelation today so we can show you how we’ve helped other clients to collect, manage, and profit from data integration. It’s easier than you might think, and it could be the step that makes it easier for you to reach your other goals!
 

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Are You Sitting on a Data Goldmine?

Posted on March 29, 2018

are you sitting on a data goldmineOne of the most important assets in your business? Most of the owners and executives we talk to will come up with answers like real estate, patents, or even employees. A few forward-thinkers might name their brand or experience.

One answer that hardly ever comes up, however, is the data a company owns.

While data might not be the most valuable part of your business on paper, it can be worth a lot more than you might imagine. That’s because you can use data to sort customers into groups, market to a tightly-defined segment of buyers, spot industry trends, and a lot more.

In fact, many companies are sitting on goldmines they don’t even know exist. That’s because they aren’t paying any attention to data integration – the process of making information more accessible to users and decision-makers.

Here are a few ways you can avoid making the same mistake…

Data Integration Starts With Automated Capturing

It’s nearly impossible to get anything for your company’s data if you’re manually entering by hand. That’s not just because the costs will be high and duplication mistakes are going to occur, but also because there will always be a lag time between the moment when information is received and when it’s accessible.

Using specialized software, you can automate data collection through your website, incoming documents, and even printed mail. Given that computerized capturing systems are fast and inexpensive, why would you want to pay someone to type day after day… or worse yet, do it yourself?

Data Needs to Be Accessible in Real Time

It’s not exactly a secret that today’s business world moves at a faster-than-ever pace. In order to make good decisions, you have to have updated information. Old data isn’t just useless, it can actually cause you to make poor decisions that move your company backwards.

With smart software and automated data collection, though, you can maintain up-to-date records on customers, finances, inventory, personnel, and other parts of your company. Then, you can get real-time feedback on both what is and isn’t working.

Profitable Data Integration Requires Detailed Reporting

As we have noted in the past, data doesn’t have much value in and of itself. To profit from it, you have to parse it, understand it, and decipher trends. This brings us to another aspect of data integration, which revolves around detailed reporting.

When you have the right data systems in place, the metrics you need are available with the push of a button. Even better, reports can be customized for various date ranges, regions, customer types, etc. That’s everything you need to run your company in an easy-to-understand format. And, it’s insight you wouldn’t get from a spreadsheet or stack of papers on your desk.

Is It Time to Start Getting More from Data and Technology?

If you suspect your company could be doing more with technology than it is right now, take this chance to get the expert advice you need. The WebRevelation team is here to answer your questions and find cost-friendly solutions to your biggest challenges. Contact us today so we can set up a time to talk!

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