- Choose the Right Partner
Creating custom software is typically done by companies that specialize in software development because most organizations do not have the internal resources or the knowledge and time to do it themselves.
It’s very important to choose a partner who has the experience, technical and business know-how to design an application that truly delivers business impact, and who can support your software as your business scales. Be cautious of software companies who promise you the moon for little money and time, or who outsource their work. Take your time to meet with prospective vendors, understand how they capture requirements, their project management process, technical capabilities, delivery timelines and support options. These are critical steps in ensuring a successful custom software outcome.
At Whitecap, we pride ourselves on having a 22-year track record of success; a 100% local, highly-skilled and talented team of 40+ people; a proven development process that
prioritizes our clients’ needs above all else; and post-deployment support options that include 24/7/365 availability.
- Weigh Your Technology Options
As this guide demonstrates, building a custom software solution can involve doing so from the ground up, customizing an off-the-shelf solution or developing an application using the building blocks of a cloud-based platform.
frameworks, PHP, MySQL and other open source tools.
You should be confident that the technology stack on which your custom software solution is being built, is the perfect fit for your business today while providing the flexibility to support future growth or changes.
- Planning & Process Are Critical
Before kicking off any software development project, your technology partner should conduct an in-depth analysis to help them understand your business, application users, goals and functional requirements. Based
on the findings, you should be presented with a detailed project plan, recommended development approach and price range. This can be a time-consuming but critical first step. You may be very eager to jump right into the development stage, but proper planning will ensure a successful outcome and decrease the chances of any unexpected surprises, setbacks, or costly do-overs.
“Whitecap’s process was key to helping us articulate our vision for a new simpler yet more powerful CRM system. As a result, in just five years IXACT Contact has become one of the top real estate CRMs in North America.”
At Whitecap our proprietary e-RAD process is the key to our success. After conducting a detailed discovery and design of a project, we develop using either an Agile, Waterfall or hybrid approach depending on what best suits our clients’ needs. We’re laser-focused on meeting our clients’ expectations, in terms of the systems we develop for them and also in terms of cost, timing and open/honest project communications.
- Put Your Users First
Whoever you choose as your development partner, whichever technology and process you land on, one thing is critical to the success of your custom application: putting your users first. It has never been more important to be customer-centric. Gone are the days of “build it and they will come” thinking. Your job as a business leader is
to understand your customer needs and behaviours and provide the experience they are looking for. Similarly, employees need to be provided the tools they need to do their job effectively and efficiently.
One of the biggest mistakes stakeholders make is assuming they are their target customer, or that they think and behave like their target customer,
and they’re building a solution for someone like themselves. Your preconceived ideas of what a customer wants or needs aren’t always accurate and could mean you are developing a product that won’t succeed in delivering the user experience (UX) you’re seeking.
“Working with Whitecap is a more iterative, collaborative experience. They listen to suggestions and help us come up with the best solutions. They are very hands-on and are as invested in the outcomes as we are.”
The key is to involve UX experts in the development process from
the beginning. Too often companies start working on their websites or applications and focus exclusively on business goals, features and functions. They don’t discuss UX until they’re well down the development process. Earlier involvement of UX will improve the end product and you’ll avoid having to fix problems when you’re almost
at the finish line.