If you are transforming your company for the digital era, it is essential to know good software when you see it. Even better? Knowing what to ask for.
How do you know that the software you are considering investing on is right for your company? How do you know it will handle all your unique requests and satisfy all your users’ needs? Will it be adaptable and grow with your organization? How about efficiency – will it be easy to use? Will it integrate nicely into your existing processes?
If you are working with an offshore development team to bring your idea to life, questions like these are an essential part of the process. Answers provide a development team with the ability to incorporate the following four must-haves into your custom product.
The four essentials of a great software product
You have questions but your outsourced development team should have even more of them. A good dev team knows to ask (and answer) all kinds of questions during the development process. The answers they get help to solve critical problems related to feasibility, usability, longevity and more.
Since the idea behind investing in a custom software product is to unlock benefits that give your organization a competitive advantage, you might want to know more. Here is a more in-depth look at the four qualities a great software product should have.
Must-have #1: User-centricity
Customer-facing apps and products are especially sensitive to the effects of bad User Experience. Since they have options (namely, competitors), an app that does not fulfill their expectations will quickly drive them elsewhere. Meeting customer demand with user-centric design is critical, which is why it is one of the four must-haves.
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Behind a great interface, you will find tons of user research and usability analysis. Developing the right product for your specific users and their unique needs means staying focused on who you are building for. It is common for teams to lose sight of their customer. This can easily occur when they get too wrapped up in the “cool” factor of designing features. Those features might be impressive but they are useless if they do not serve customer needs. User-centric development and design means doing a good deal of user analysis before investing too many resources into those bells and whistles.
For internal processes, it is still important to adhere to user-centric principles of development. The goal here is different, however. The better the UX of your enterprise app, the more productive people will be at work. Streamlined processes and faster access to documents, for example, can increase efficiency and productivity far and above what a legacy system can offer.
Must-have #2: Future-proof architecture
To bring value and ROI, software must be ready to adapt as your organization evolves. That takes using lasting and cutting-edge technologies. Developers who have the skills to provide consumer-grade engineering with top-notch skills and the latest, most powerful platforms and tools are more likely to provide future-proof architecture. They also are more likely to deliver a product providing a lasting solution for your organization (thus, ROI).
The architecture should be cloud-ready -if it is possible-, for example. Whether you are using a private Cloud or you are using a hybrid Cloud strategy, your software should be able to work with your present solution as well as what you will be using in the future. The product should last into the future, with an architecture that allows quick adaptations to last the entire duration of the product lifecycle.
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Must-have #3: Insights from data
Good software should allow you to leverage data and draw important insights. Software must have near-cognitive abilities, making things easy to use and understand, as well as more intimate.
Using embedded intelligence, the product should offer information that you can use to speed up processes, improve the experience, and make better decisions.
Must-have #4: Resiliency
A resilient product is built upon a solid foundation of best practices, tight security, speed, and durability. All of these rely upon good, clean code.
Code must be easy to change. This allows you to pivot quickly to new capabilities and add new features rapidly. It is in your best interest to move from Version 1 to Version 2 and so on. And the process never stops, since there are always new features to be released and new security standards to be implemented. Programmers should follow best practices in coding to ensure the product rapidly evolves to keep up with user demands and market pressures. In short, if your platforms and apps do not allow for rapid innovation and adaptability, then you will soon need new products.
Innovation and speed are two keys to staying relevant and competitive in the digital era. But do not forget about security. In a world full of threats and vulnerabilities, security can never be sacrificed in the name of speed.
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To Sum Up
Software development is not just for Silicon Valley startups anymore. In this digital era, the more you know about the software you choose, the better. From IT pros moving into wider areas of responsibility to business unit managers making their own IT decisions to SMBs looking to gain a competitive edge or startups seeking funding, custom software projects are everyone’s domain these days.
The more you know about the people who develop your software and the processes they use, the better. This article was published with that goal in mind.
If you would like to know more, we invite you to get in touch. We are always happy to assess organizations to follow the right track on software development.
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