If you are thinking about getting your own app or any other special software built, we know the number of options and things you’ll need to consider can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve tried putting together this blog post, pointing out the best way to approach it.
These are the top things you need to think about when you’re building your own bespoke software or app:
What problem does your bespoke software or app solve?
A common mistake most businesses make is to start with a solution before they really know why they need it. It’s easy to say “we need an app because our competitors have one” for instance. But if your competitors created theirs with a deep understanding of the problems their users are facing, and you don’t, it will be difficult for your solution to be anywhere near as successful.
However, if you take time to understand the problem your business is facing or the issues your users are encountering, you can apply empathy to innovation and create a product that puts the user first. That’s why this question should pop in your mind before you even consider bespoke software development.
Have a good idea of how to solve the problem
Once you’ve taken time to understand your user’s issues, the second consideration for app and software development is working out what type of software you’ll need and the specific features that will help your users/customers resolve their issues.
Here are a couple of options to consider when trying to find the solutions:
- Look at competing brands’ software to understand whether your ideas are on the right track
- Employ user research to get a feel for what users of your current system like and dislike about it, how they feel about other software in that space, and what features they would like to see from your solution
- Have Workshops with your team to get a better understanding of their understanding of the audience and potential features they feel might serve that demographic
- Work with an external partner who has the expertise to help you direct all of the above and is able to offer their own suggestions
Taking the results here and whittling them down to the most useful and relevant will help you move onto the next step of the process.
Research your options
Now that you’ve taken time to understand the problems and figured out the features your new software will need to help solve them, you should look into the kinds of solutions available to you.
These include a choice between:
In-house development: Is your team resourced and skilled to develop the project? If so, keeping it in-house could be the ideal solution
External development: This carries the benefits of outside expertise plus more flexibility to scale up or down on resources as the project progresses
If the external development option feels right, that then presents three further options for how to pursue it:
Offshore development: working with a developer in another country and time zone, which is sometimes more cost-effective than working with a local team
Onshore development: partnering with a local company that are more accessible owing to the lack of time differential
Near-shore development: sometimes the ideal middle ground between onshore and offshore. Working with a foreign developer in the same or a nearby time zone can deliver some of the savings of offshore, together with the accessibility of an onshore partnership.
Take time to identify the constraints of your project
This step involves taking the time to understand all of the factors that your project software partner will need to think about, these include:
- Your budget
- Your timelines
- Systems already in use and compatibility with them
- Technologies used by your intended audience
- Your own availability for meetings, catch-ups and ongoing feedback
Which features are the most important?
Your software might not necessarily need to launch with every feature you identified at step two above. If getting a product to market fast is your priority, then defining the main features and creating a roadmap for adding the other ones later can be a very viable strategy.
Preparing to launch your bespoke software
Above we mentioned launching with some features and adding more over time? That’s just one approach to releasing your product to the marketplace. You may also want to soft launch by targeting specific user groups, or go all-in from the start with a fully-featured app or program. This is also the stage where we’d look at migrating data, training your users, and how you’ll want to communicate with your customers about the product arriving in the marketplace.
Launch and post-launch
In today’s world, launching is no longer the end of the process – it’s just another step on the journey to serving your customers.
That’s because software is no longer a solo release (a set and forget thing), launched into a marketplace with no need for updates or user support. Instead, it’s a live service, with regular maintenance work and new features being added periodically.
That’s where a maintenance agreement comes in, making sure that your bespoke software is kept running smoothly and can grow and scale to the demands of your business.
A maintenance agreement is crucial to building your brand, keeping existing customers happy and bringing new ones on board. Because of that, it’s important you either plan your in-house development roadmap, or you pick the right software partner to handle the ongoing management of your software for the long term.
How can JustApplications help you with developing bespoke software?
We have years of experience when it comes to developing bespoke software to solve all sorts of problems for businesses big and small.
Our range of services is designed to help you plan, develop and launch and market your bespoke software. From early UI/UX designs to prototyping and launching an MVP, we have you covered!