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Build vs Buy Software: Which Do You Need?

12/27/20217 minute read

Running a business is hard work. One of the many challenges for any company is choosing what kind of software they need or want to use. This guide will answer the most common “build vs buy” software questions and help you decide whether custom or off-the-shelf software would be best for your business goals.

Choosing between building and buying software

There are a number of key factors that need to be considered when choosing between custom and off-the-shelf software. These include budgets, timelines, technical skill levels, expertise in your business domain, level of control over the new solution desired, team capacity and project planning needed.

One deciding factor is whether you would like to have a unique product for your company or if you would prefer a standardized solution that may already exist for your industry. For example an insurance company may not want a standard quote taking tool but rather a specific quoting system for their own internal use. Whereas an online retailer such as Amazon might want this type of quote-taking functionality from an off-the-shelf product so they can focus elsewhere on aspects customized to their brand.

How can the pros and cons of custom and off-the-shelf software be weighted?

When considering the advantages and disadvantages of each solution it is important to weigh them against budget, time constraints as well as your team’s capacity. A company may choose a custom product because they need extra functionality that an off-the-shelf software solution may not provide.  But, this could delay the project if there is no internal expertise available to build their customized solution. 

By choosing a prebuilt application you may lose some control over how it looks or functions. But, if the timeline is tight then this might be more expedient than building it from scratch. It is important to understand what business needs are being met by choosing a custom or off-the-shelf product and then to build the solution that is most appropriate for your current situation.

What are the costs of building software? Will this cause additional expenses in the future?

  • Costs include hiring an in-house development team according to project size or using outsourcing services. 
  • Implementation costs, including training and time spent by employees who will be using the software will need to be estimated.
  • There will be ongoing maintenance costs to keep up with technology changes and updates.
  • Potential for a lack of compatibility with other systems within your company or industry can create additional implementation costs down the line.

Custom software will typically cost more than off-the-shelf solutions. Unless you have a large budget for your computer system, this option may not be realistic for most companies. 

What are the costs of purchasing off-the-shelf software?

  • The initial purchase price is typically higher because it must cover all development costs instead of only covering ongoing operating expenses. In addition, customization of a specific feature often incurs an extra charge. 
  • Implementation costs are typically lower when purchasing, because it already includes training and ongoing support, which can range from minimal to extensive depending on the product you purchase.
  • The long-term costs for off-the-shelf software depend on the product you choose. Some products have lower upfront costs, but higher maintenance costs over time. Others have a higher upfront cost, but lower maintenance costs over time. It is important to carefully compare products and read the fine print before making a purchase.

Ask yourself a question: How much maintenance will I need?

Some software is never touched, like the code that runs the server that serves web pages for instance. Others, such as data analysis tools or games, often need to be updated and maintained.

The more maintenance required, the greater your risk – you will need experts who can maintain it and make sure they don’t break anything vital. With custom solutions, this expertise is yours already (since you had to build it) and with off-the-shelf software you pay extra for updates and fixes when problems arise.

What about security?

Reliability means how long a system keeps working before something goes wrong. Perhaps an update no longer works correctly or your hardware fails in some way. If there’s a problem, how easy is it to fix?

Standard software updates can sometimes cause problems. You might have a great working system then learning the new version is going to take time, or your support contract may no longer cover errors caused by out-of-date libraries. For that reason alone, off-the-shelf solutions are not always ideal. – you’re tied into using whatever they provide. If this fails you’re potentially up a creek without a paddle unless there’s money in the bank for an emergency upgrade. With custom software solutions, you make sure everything works as it should before going live because bugs will never be added at a later date.

That said, if your needs change and your software can’t adapt to suit them, developing software on your own will always be the only option.

Is off-the-shelf software scalable? How does this scale with my business’s needs and overall budget?

Off-the-shelf software is generally not scalable. It is often created for a specific purpose or set of users, and it may not be able to grow with your business’s needs. Building your own software, on the other hand, can be scaled to fit your exact needs. This makes it a more cost-effective option in the long run, as you will not need to upgrade or change your software as your business grows.

What are the risks associated with custom software development?

  • Risks associated with any software solution, such as cost overruns, missed deadlines, and poor quality.
  • An additional risk that arises from custom development is that it may not meet user requirements or be compatible with existing systems.
  • There is also a risk that the company does not have the expertise in-house to develop and maintain custom software.

And the risks associated with purchasing software

When you purchase custom software instead of building your own, there is no requirement that your needs be met or that you will receive what you expect. Additionally, because this type of work typically involves working with independent contractors rather than full-time employees, there may be difficulty in ensuring quality control. Finally, even if the product meets your expectations today, it may not meet your future requirements as they change over time. This can leave you stuck using outdated technology.

  • Loss of future development flexibility due to high reliance on one product can lead to higher upgrade costs if upgrades are needed in the future
  • Lack of integration with other software may limit data sharing and collaboration.
  • Inability to customize off-the-shelf software to fit specific business needs
  • Vendor lock-in, which can make it difficult or impossible to switch to a different vendor’s product in the future

What additional training will my staff need if I choose custom software?

If you decide to create custom software, employees will likely need extensive training to learn how to use this new system. They may also require assistance from outside sources if they have not worked with similar products. If you choose off-the-shelf software, your team members already know how to use these types of tools and won’t need any special training before using them for their everyday work duties. Also the off-the-shelf product already may include training (as stated above)

Will custom and off-the-shelf software be compatible with my current set of business tools? Or does it require an entirely new suite of tools?

This depends on the type of software you are using. Generally, custom software is more compatible with other systems because it is specifically designed to meet your needs. Off-the-shelf software may require you to purchase new tools or to make significant changes to your existing infrastructure.

3 considerations you should make before deciding whether to “build vs. buy” software

Determine the scope of your project

Software that is specific to your business and its needs can be more costly and time-consuming to build than off-the-shelf software. But, it will also likely be more tailored to your specific needs. If you have a smaller project or if you need software that is not overly complex, buying an off-the-shelf solution may be the better option.

Consider your budget

Building software from scratch can be expensive, especially if you need custom features or if you need to hire a developer or team of developers to build it for you. Off-the-shelf software is typically much more affordable, and in some cases, you may even be able to find free software options.

Evaluate your needs

If you have a complex or unique need that is not met by off-the-shelf software, then building software may be the best option. However, if your needs are relatively simple, buying off-the-shelf software may be a better choice. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what is most important to you – cost, complexity, or customization.

When making the “build vs buy software” decision, you need to weigh all of the potential impacts it will have on your business‘s long-term growth. Custom software development will require more time and resources upfront, but can provide a number of benefits, such as increased flexibility, better fit to your specific needs, and easier integration with existing systems. However, off-the-shelf software is typically much cheaper and easier to deploy, and may already include additional features that meet your needs. You’ll need to carefully consider all of your business requirements before making a decision.

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How Custom Software is the Resolve for Company Growth: Top Benefits of Bespoke Software

12/24/20217 minute read

As a business owner, you know that technology is essential to your success. You rely on your computer to keep an eye on finances, manage inventory, and be in touch with customers. But what happens when the software you require doesn’t exist? That’s where custom software comes in. 

Custom software is designed specially for your business, meeting your unique needs, improving efficiency and reducing costs. Still not sure whether to choose custom software over off-the-shelf solutions? We’ll try to change your mind!

Top Custom Software Development Benefits

Any company, small or large, can take advantage of custom software development services. The key is finding a custom software development company that understands your specific needs and then creates a solution just for you – one that meets all your needs and requirements and fits within your budget. With custom software development, businesses can increase efficiency, productivity and customizability, all while delivering a top-notch customer experience that will keep customers coming back for more. 

Customized software offers a number of benefits that cannot be delivered by off-the-shelf solutions or mass-produced products: access to better features, customization freedom, improved data management and security, enhanced decision-making capabilities, and maintainability. Here are the key benefits of custom software:

Cost-Effectiveness

Bespoke software is designed individually for your company: you can save money by covering all of your company’s needs, including those that don’t relate to business operations. Custom software is designed to suit your company’s specific requirements, which eliminates the necessity to pay for features that aren’t relevant to your particular situation. The price of custom development is lower in comparison to purchasing an off-the-shelf product with limited features, which means you don’t have worry about regulatory fines or penalties in the future! 

Custom software development is custom made for specific customer’s needs, it is designed to be unique, which makes the price per unit higher than mass-produced software. However, custom software can potentially give you access to better functionality that is also more affordable.

If custom software development services are outsourced to an offshore company, the costs of customizing off-the-shelf products are often lower than developing custom commercial software – for this reason, custom software is adapted from already existing programs or components that are simpler or smaller in nature. This creates less probability of errors and speeds up the process by using pre-existing modules for features that are common to most custom software.

The total cost of a custom software project can be difficult to estimate, as it depends on a variety of factors such as the complexity and size of the project, the number of custom features required, the level of testing and quality assurance required, and whether or not post-delivery support is needed. However, custom software development projects are normally more cost-effective than off-the-shelf software products that have to be heavily customized to meet specific customer requirements.

Greater Scalability & Flexibility

Bespoke software solutions are a perfect fit for you since they are designed specifically for your company’s needs. Custom software solutions evolve with your company and its requirements, so they can adapt to new situations or changes in the market. It is designed for complete flexibility, which ensures that it will continue to meet your evolving needs, you can be sure that it will always be the perfect fit for your company and also provides businesses with increased productivity. The custom solution will enable you to meet your business goals, improve communication and expand to new markets. On top of this, custom software development eliminates duplication of effort and enables departments within an organization to work more closely together.

Continuous Expert Technical Support

Among the advantages of custom software is that it is designed and developed by experts who understand your business and its needs, which ensures that you receive the best possible service and assistance when you need it.  These experts are available to assist you with any questions or problems that you may have with your custom software. You can always rely on experienced QA specialists and software engineers to help you get the most out of your custom software solution.

Increasing Customer Satisfaction and Retention Rates

Since it is tailored specifically to meet customers’ needs, custom software development is designed to be intuitive and easy to use, so customers will appreciate its streamlined design. Custom software also allows businesses to better compete in the market by tailoring their products and services to meet specific customer needs. Custom software will increase client satisfaction and retention rates, as customers will appreciate the attention to detail that has gone into the design of the software. 

Even customizing off-the-shelf software programs to meet those needs is better than using the same software as everyone else, because it saves money and time. When implemented correctly, custom software can provide significant benefits to businesses of all sizes. By tailoring a custom solution to meet your specific needs, bespoke software can improve process efficiency, productivity, and customizability. This leads to improved decision-making and a better overall customer experience. So if you’re looking for a way to take your business to the next level, consider custom software development services – it just might be the answer you’re looking for.

Automation of Business Processes

…and eliminates the need for manual input! Additionally, custom software development can be used to monitor and/or control business processes. This can help reduce the need for additional staff, as custom software offers more functionality than off-the-shelf software. The right software will help increase process efficiency and at the same time improve decision making. It can also help identify and correct errors or inefficiencies in specific business tasks or processes. Processes that are automated through custom software will run smoother and be less prone to human error; this increases customer satisfaction rates as well as organizational productivity. 

Seamless Integration with Other Systems in the Company 

Although many off-the-shelf software products can be integrated with other programs and systems used in the company, you can significantly reduce your costs and effort spent integrating the personalized software with other products: ready-made solutions may contain lots of bugs and similar problems, they can be too heavy and outdated. Custom software, developed specifically for your company’s needs, will integrate with other systems smoothly and more securely, thus enabling you to focus more of your attention on expanding your business and further growing customer satisfaction.

Improving Team Spirit & Communication in the Company Workflow

Customized software is created for a particular business reason. It will ensure that your company has a competitive advantage over other companies in your industry and can also provide a boost to employee morale as they know that their employer is investing in custom solutions that improve overall productivity levels!

Investing in custom software development reinforces an organization’s commitment to its workforce as it shows employees that management care about progress and success. A custom solution provides increased collaboration between departments as everyone works towards one common goal: ensuring the custom software enhances daily tasks. Custom software allows you to easily edit and create custom reports, facilitating decision-making and planning. Customized reporting means that you will have access to the information you need when it’s really needed – not weeks or months later.

Higher Reliability & Security 

Custom software development is known for its high level of reliability, which means that it runs without any problems or interruptions. It is designed with the highest quality and industry-leading security standards in mind, so you can rely on its performance. It will keep your data and information safe and secure. 

Conclusion

You see? Customized software is more secure and efficient than off-the-shelf software, saving you time and money! If you want to get ahead of the competition and add a competitive edge, it may be time for your company to invest in building custom software development. It’s true that there are many benefits associated with creating an application tailored specifically to your needs.

Looking for custom software development that provides a competitive advantage? We want to help you create the perfect tailor-made software solution and provide continuous support. Let us know what your requirements are and we’ll put together an initial project proposal with our best estimate of cost, timeline, and other details. If this sounds like something you could use or if you have any questions at all about how we can provide custom software benefits for your business in 2022 and beyond, contact us today!

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Tackling Software Development Challenges: Do You Know All of Them Yet?

12/22/20217 minute read

Software Development is a fascinating field. It’s always changing, and software engineers are always on the cutting edge of technology. As software becomes more and more complex, Software Development teams may change or grow larger to manage the bigger workloads. It becomes harder to keep engineers and teams up-to-date on changes in technology or new company policies, which can lead to software errors. This blog post discusses some widespread challenges faced by software development teams, as well as solutions that proved to be effective.

Importance of recognizing software development challenges

If developers can’t identify when a challenge is present, they will have a difficult time finding a solution. This means that the team’s productivity may suffer and the project could potentially be delayed or canceled altogether. It is therefore important for teams to learn how to recognize when software development challenges arise so that they can work together to solve potential roadblocks.

How do I know if my team will be successful at overcoming a particular challenge?

Software development challenges can be overcome by working together and communicating effectively. If team members are able to openly discuss the challenge that they are facing and come up with a plan to solve it, then chances are high that the team will be successful. However, if team members do not feel comfortable discussing software development challenges or do not have a clear plan for solving them, then the team will likely not be successful.

Prepare for and prevent new project pitfalls

There are a few things that software development teams can do in order to increase their chances of success when working on challenging projects:

  • Understand the different types of software development problems and their potential outcomes.
  • Use tools such as mind maps, kanban boards, or software project management software to help track your progress and stay organized.
  • Make sure that each software project team has a software development manager that they can go to for advice and support.
  • Attend software developer meetings or social events where staff members are encouraged to collaborate with one another, so that employees will have the opportunity to share their concerns with others on the team.

Software development life cycle challenges

There are many potential roadblocks that can prevent teams from successfully completing the software development process, but some of the most common ones include:  

Gathering and analysis of requirements

  • Teams may experience difficulties in understanding customer requirements. This can delay the project timeline if not handled properly and can lead to design and coding errors.
  • It can be difficult to track software requirements as they change and evolve over time.

Which strategies should be used in order to combat these challenges?

  • Use software requirement gathering templates or checklists when meeting with customers in order to ensure that all required information is captured.
  • Make sure that software requirements are clearly communicated to all software development team members in order to avoid software design errors.

Design

  • Teams may struggle to come up with a design that is both feasible and meets customer requirements. As a result, they may have to go back and forth between designing and coding, which can delay the software development projects timeline.
  • It can be difficult to communicate design ideas and concepts between team members, which can lead to software design errors. It also could be difficult to convey software concepts and ideas to customers, which could lead to changes in the initial software requirements.

Which strategies should design teams use?

  • Use a software requirements specification or a software design document as a reference for team members when software design concepts are being discussed.
  • Make sure that software designs are clearly communicated to all software development team members in order to avoid design errors.

Coding

  • Teams may experience difficulties in writing code that meets required standards. This can lead to delays since changes must be made at this point in the process.
  • It may take time for team members to fully understand how their work fits into the overall software design.
  • There is a higher risk for software design errors when code is being written.

Which strategies should be used in order to combat coding challenges?

  • Encourage all team members to ask questions and participate in code reviews in order to get a better understanding of the software design.
  • Make sure that software designs are clearly communicated to all software development team members in order to avoid software design errors.
  • Use code management tools such as version control software in order to track changes and ensure that all coding standards are met.

Testing

  • Software testing teams may experience difficulties in finding and fixing software bugs. 
  • Teams may also struggle to test all aspects of the software, which can lead to incomplete or inaccurate software testing results.
  • It can be difficult to test software if team members are unable to communicate effectively with each other, or if software development tools such as code review tools are not used properly.

Which strategies should be used?

  • Make sure that all software testers have access to software requirements, design documentation, and software code in order to effectively test it.
  • Try to utilize automated software testing tools whenever possible in order to speed up the software testing process.

Project management

  • It is often difficult to estimate the time required to complete software solutions accurately, resulting in projects that are either completed late or over budget.
  • Managing different team members with varying levels of experience and expertise can be difficult, as can coordinating work between multiple teams working on the same system. Software bugs can happen when people do not understand each other. This wastes time and creates more problems in the software.
  • The need for extensive testing prior to release can delay a software project’s launch date, preventing it from being delivered on time. 

Project managers can use a variety of tools and techniques to help them manage software development projects effectively. These include agile software development methodologies, which focus on shortening the length of the software development process, as well as using prototypes to get feedback from users early in the design process. Using software prototyping allows software developers to quickly share their ideas with stakeholders and users, which can lead to cost savings in the long run.

Other challenges you may face and ways to overcome them 

Finding the right team members

A software solution can be very complex, and it may require a number of different skill sets. It can be difficult to find all of them in one person, so you may need to bring on a few contractors or team members to help with the project. 

Another challenge with finding team members is making sure that everyone is on the same page. It can be difficult when they are all working remotely or in different parts of the country. You need to make sure that everyone is aware of the goals of the project and what they need to do to help achieve those goals.

One way to overcome this challenge is by using project management tools such as Asana or Trello. These tools can help you keep track of what everyone is working on and ensure that everyone is aware of the goals of the project.

Another way is having regular team meetings. This will allow you to discuss the progress of the project and make sure that everyone is on track. It’s especially great to have daily stand-up meetings to make sure that everyone is aware of their goals for the day.

Managing expectations

Another common challenge is managing expectations for both the client and the team members, because they are always changing and the team members may also have new ideas or changes in their availability.

One way to manage expectations is by using a requirements document. This document will outline all of the demands that the client has for the project. It will also list any changes or updates to those requirements. This document can help keep everyone on track and know what is expected of them.

Another way to manage expectations is by having regular communication with the client. This can be done through email, phone calls or even in person meetings. It is important to have open lines of communication so that everyone remains aware of changes and updates as they happen.

Balancing time between Software Development and other projects 

Another challenge is balancing time between development and other projects in your pipeline. When you are working on Software Development, it can be all consuming and easy to ignore other commitments. Moreover, you need to make sure that you are not overworking yourself scheduling your time appropriately 

One way to balance time is by using a timeline or Gantt chart. This will help you see how much time you have for each project and how much work needs to be done. This will help you plan out your time so that you can make sure that each project is completed on time.

Another way to balance time is by using a task management tool (such as Asana or Trello). These tools will help you keep track of what needs to be done for each project and when it is due. This will help you stay organized and make sure that each project is completed on time.

Solving the right problems at the right time for your customers 

There may be times when it seems like what you are doing for one client does not really matter to them or solve their problem. You need to make sure that whatever Software Development work you do, it has value and solves some sort of problem for them.

One way to ensure that you are solving software development challenges needed by the client right is by using a requirements document. This document can help keep team members on track and make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them. Moreover, it will also list any changes or updates to those requirements. 

Another way to ensure that you are solving the right problems is by scheduling regular communication with the client. 

Finding ways to keep up with new technologies and trends in the industry 

When Software Development is your career, it is easy to become complacent and feel like there are no challenges. However, Software Development professionals need to constantly learn new things in order to stay competitive with other Software Development companies or contractors. You need to find ways that you can keep up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends.

One way to keep up-to-date is by attending Software Development conferences or seminars, reading Software Development books and magazines, or listening to Software Development podcasts. These can help you learn about new trends in the industry as well as meet other professionals who are doing Software Development work.

Another way to stay competitive with other companies is by using social media. You can follow Software Development companies on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook to see what they are working on and how they are doing it. This can help you learn new things and stay ahead of the competition.

Examples of how people have successfully overcome similar challenges in other industries or fields

In order for developers to overcome Software Development challenges, they can also look to other industries for examples.

  • One example is the automotive industry, which has faced many of the same challenges as the software development industry. In response, the automotive industry has developed new technologies and processes that have helped them become more efficient and produce higher-quality products. 
  • Another example is the pharmaceutical industry, which has had to overcome many regulatory challenges in order to bring new drugs to market. The pharmaceutical industry has responded by developing innovative software testing methodologies that help them ensure the quality of their products.

By looking at how other industries have faced and overcome similar challenges, software developers can be better equipped to overcome software development challenges themselves.

With so many Software Development challenges out there, it can be hard to know them all. And the ones you don’t know about are probably going to come up at some point in your career as a developer. This blog post is meant to provide an introduction to the kinds of obstacles developers will face and how they can overcome them with time, patience, and practice. We hope this resource serves as a starting place for tackling these common problems that arise when developing software products or features. Let us know if we missed anything!

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The Software Product Development Life Cycle: Tips and Tricks to Successful Software Development

12/13/20217 minute read

Looking forward to developing your new software product? A disappointing majority of software development projects still fail even when using talented and experienced project managers, software engineers and business analysts. Using the Product Development Life Cycle, an effective product management tool, helps you create a better product.

This article will not explain why failures happen but provide some tips and tricks to help you create better product using the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC)  – an effective product management process used to create new products. This article will answer some common questions about this PDLC: what is it? What are its benefits and what steps it includes? Moreover, here we’ll discuss the use of product management software and give you some examples of it.

This blog post was written with you in mind!

What is the Product Development Life Cycle?

The product development life cycle (software development life cycle) is a process that helps companies create new products. This process includes everything from designing the product to shipping it to customers. It can be used for both digital and physical products.

It starts with identifying a need or opportunity. From there, the team will come up with ideas on how to meet that need. They’ll then design a prototype of the product and test it out with users. Once they have finalized the design, they’ll build the product and launch it to customers. Finally, they’ll track how the product is performing and make changes as needed (don’t worry, we’ll tell you more about each step later).

Why use a Product Management Software?

Let’s talk about product management software: it can help you track your software development lifecycle progress and performance over time, while this information can be used to make future products even better. Moreover, it can help you improve your product’s quality, speed up the development process, and reduce costs. Not surprisingly, it is used by 71% of organizations while developing new high-quality software. 

How to use the Product Management Software?

There are three steps to using product management software: planning, executing, and monitoring.

  • Planning involves setting up your project and determining your product goals. You’ll need to decide which stage of the systems development life cycle your product is in and what activities you need to do to meet those goals.
  • Executing is when you actually do the work for your project. This includes designing prototypes, testing products with users, building products, and launching them to customers.
  • Monitoring is where you track your product’s progress and performance.

Cost of using the Product Management Software

The cost can vary depending on the product and the company. Some companies offer software for free, while others charge a fee. It’s important to find a product that meets your needs and is within your budget. Be sure to do your research first; there are many options out there, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs and your budget.

Pros and Cons of using the Product Management Software (and some examples!)

  • It can help improve your product’s quality, speed up the software development life cycle, and reduce costs.
  • It will give you feedback from users early on in the development process. This information can help you make changes to the product before it’s too late.
  • Finally, it allows you to track your product’s progress and performance over time for future projects or updates. Understanding how customers use your products is a great way to learn how they work and what features could be improved upon later down the line.

It’s important to remember that there are some downsides. The product management software can be expensive and may not fit your needs or budget.

Also, while it is a good way to get feedback from users, it’s also important for you to understand their behavior yourself so that any changes made are valuable additions. If you don’t have time to watch the product in action with real customers, then this might not be the best solution for you.

Now that we know both sides of the story about using systems development life cycle software, let’s take a look at some top contenders! Check out these product management tools below:


  • Jira helps keep track of all tasks during the project and assigns them to specific members so nothing gets missed or forgotten about. It provides reports on different aspects such as issues, sprints, velocity, release cycles, etc. which makes it easy to see what needs improvement going forward. This product works well with small development teams because there is no on how many projects. It also provides product roadmaps to keep track of future product updates. Jira is not new, but still considered number 1 software development tool for agile teams.
  • Trello uses boards for each area of data in different formats for further analysis. This product is great for users who want an easy way to organize projects and prioritize tasks in a simple dashboard interface. It’s also useful for the agile model because it allows you to work with boards, lists, and cards that can all be shared between development team members.
  • Visma Severa offers a lot of features for product management software like Gantt charts that help visualize the project schedule and dependencies between tasks. It also has a built-in reporting system so you can track progress over time and export.
  • Microsoft Teams helps teams communicate better by providing channels for different types of communication (text, audio, video, meeting). It also archives all chat transcripts and product development files such as design, marketing, and QA. If your company uses Microsoft Office 365, then this tool will allow you to communicate with your entire organization from one place using different channels.
  • Google Docs helps product teams collaborate on the product development life cycle phase together. It allows for real-time editing so that there are no unnecessary steps in completing tasks and you can see when they were last edited. This free tool allows you to create documents with others in real-time as well as Google Sheets, which allows you to create spreadsheets with others in real-time.

In finally, product management software is essential to keep track of what still needs to be done and manage the project as a whole. The tools we just went over can help with anything from organizing tasks, tracking progress, collaborating with team members, and more. So make sure to choose the right one for your specific project!

Product Development Life Cycle: A Series of Steps

Let’s go through each step of the product development life cycle so you can see how to successfully move from one stage to another.

The first step in product development is to identify a problem or opportunity. This can be done through market research, customer feedback, surveys, and other methods. Once you have identified a problem or opportunity, you need to determine if it is worth pursuing.

If the problem or opportunity is not feasible, it is not worth pursuing. Factors that need to be considered include the size of the market, the competition, how much it will cost to develop and launch the product, and other factors.

The next step is to do research on the market and competitors. This includes determining what your target customers are, how much it costs to produce, who will sell it (ie: retailers or other businesses), pricing strategies, and marketing plans. This step is crucial for the project life cycle when making solid business decisions. Once you have this information clearly laid out in a written business plan, then you can proceed with creating a prototype.

Tip: If you have a well-developed business plan and software requirement specification, it will be easier to get funding from investors or banks. You can also use the business plan to attract talented employees who want to work on a new and exciting product.

The next step is to create a prototype. This will help you determine if the product works properly and can be manufactured successfully. It is also important to get customer feedback at this stage so you can make changes to the design if needed.

If there are any major problems with the prototype, it is best to address them now instead of further going into the software development process. This will result in less time and money wasted, which is something you definitely want to avoid.

This involves actually creating the product and a testing phase to see if it meets all the requirements. It is important to have a quality control process in place so that any problems with the product can be addressed early on.

The testing phase should not take too long otherwise you will delay the launch of the product. Customers need to get their hands on the product and test it out before they make a purchase.

In many cases, another round of testing will be needed to address any issues with the prototype. This is because getting customer feedback from a focus group or through surveys can give you an incomplete picture of what customers want and may not include all aspects of how they use your product. In this case, it is best to have them test out the product in its actual production environment to be sure that your product meets customer expectations.

This is known as beta testing and it is a critical step in the product development life cycle. If there are any major problems with the product at this development stage, it can mean the end of your product.

Once you have addressed all the issues with the prototype, you can move on to marketing and sales.

Marketing and Sales Planning is a critical step in product development. You need to determine how you will promote your product, what steps will be taken prior to launching the product, who the target customer base is, pricing strategies, etc. It is important that this part of the development process is written out clearly as it can have a big impact on how much profit your product brings in.

After all the features are set and you have a good marketing and sales plan, it is time to launch the product. The steps for this include promotion, production, distribution and delivery of the product to retailers or other businesses that will sell them to end users.

The next development stage is are to promote and distribute your finished product. This typically involves advertising, selling the product through distributors or retailers, and delivering it to their warehouse if necessary. You also need to establish pricing strategies at this stage as well as making sure that any logistics issues (ie: where products will be stored) have been worked out.

Once all of that is taken care of, it’s time to sit back and watch the profits roll in!

If you’re trying to create a new product or improve an old one, Softvoya can help. Whether it be consulting on developing the perfect marketing strategy for your company’s next launch, researching and brainstorming with you about what features will make your customers fall in love with your product or helping guide manufacturing through our years of experience as experts in this field – we’ve got everything covered. We’re here to support you every step of the way from concept creation all the way through production, distribution and post-launch customer service. Want us on board? Check out our services and contact us today!

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The Power of a Strategic Website: Drive Traffic, Generate Leads, Increase Sales! Part 2

11/03/202110 minute read

It is Part 2 of our recommendations on how to boost your website traffic. In the first part, we’ve covered the goals of your website, gave advice on how to catch the eye of your audience, and shared our favorite free WordPress plugins. In this article, you’ll find out how to maximize your digital efforts through Google Analytics and Social Media. Read it, save it, master it and grow your traffic by 400%, as we did at Softvoya.

Google Analytics

If you’re wondering how you’ll track your website data, there’s a fantastic free tool called Google Analytics that you’ll want to become comfortable with.

Google Analytics offers you the ability to:

  • Better understand your site and assess your marketing, content and product performance
  • Reach the right customers
  • See where your traffic is coming from
  • Learn how people are interacting with your site
  • Determine which users are more likely to convert
  • Understand which content your visitors like the most
  • Find out which marketing tactics are driving the most traffic

To use Google Analytics, you’ll need to create an account and then link it to your website by installing a tracking code on it. Google will then track your stats and all you have to do is log in to your account to get a comprehensive overview of what’s happening on your site.

Understanding the data from Google Analytics is a whole other ball game. Google has its own training academy that will help you understand what all of the information means. And there’s no shortage of comprehensive guides that can teach you the ins and outs of Google Analytics.

Our favorite hosting providers

There are plenty of hosting providers out there. Broadly speaking, you’ll want to avoid those companies that offer super deals and inexpensive offers as they tend to offer less than stellar customer service. Two of our favorite hosts are WPXHosting and Flywheel.

WPX has a team online at all times to help you with any and every issue that arises, your website will load at blazing speed, they remove malware and they offer unlimited SSL certificates. If you need more proof, just check out their reviews
FlyWheel is another outstanding hosting provider known for its excellent customer support and speed. As a premium host, they’re more expensive than the average company but you get plenty of bang for your buck and will be pleased with their overall service.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

You’re going to want an SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, for your website. This is simply technology that helps you maintain a secure internet connection and encrypt sensitive data. 

You need one because the information you send online travels from computer to computer until it finally reaches the destination server. If the sensitive information is not encrypted with an SSL certificate, any other computer between you and the server can access passwords, usernames, credit card numbers, and other private information. The SSL makes that information unreadable to hackers and thieves.

Setting up your certificate is fairly easy. First you need to make sure your website has its own IP address as opposed to a shared IP. Then you’ll have to purchase a certificate. There are multiple vendors, such as this one

The next step is to activate and install the certificate. This step is a bit complicated so you might reach out to your hosting provider and ask them to help you do it. 

Finally, you’ll want to update your site. If your SSL certificate is installed properly, you will find that your site loads with an “s,” as https://yourdomain.com as opposed to http://yourdomain.com.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that all business and website owners should learn how to leverage. Today, 72% of Americans use some type of social media. Whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Clubhouse or some other new and emerging platform, social media is the perfect tool for engaging and connecting with your customers.

There are myriad benefits for your company, from helping you develop your position as an authority and positioning yourself as a thought leader in your niche to humanizing your brand. Beyond that, and in the context of your business website, social media can:

  • Help generate leads
  • Drive traffic 
  • Increase sales
  • Connect with influencers
  • Promote your content and potentially go viral

But a word to the wise: you don’t have to be on every social media platform for your brand to succeed; in fact, you shouldn’t. The best approach is to figure out where your potential customers spend their time and then master that (or those) platform(s). 

Facebook

Facebook’s user base and reach is global, which makes it very easy for brands to increase their visibility and find their target audience on the network, even those with an international social presence. With 269 million users, India has the largest user base of any country. After that is 183 million users in the US and 123 million users in Indonesia.

Setting up a Facebook is probably a no-brainer as it’s one of the most widely-used social media platforms, with 2.45 billion monthly users. There are lots of ways to use it to promote your brand and website. Here are some tips and strategies for leveraging Facebook.

Post regularly

How often should you post? Authorities agree that there is such a thing as posting too much content, so you’ll want to avoid that trap, but you don’t want to post sporadically either. 

Your best bet is to post at most once a day for a week or two and then look at your traffic and engagement numbers. Then you’ll be able to decide whether to post more or less frequently. 

Build a community

Facebook is a great tool for building a community around your area of expertise. You can create a group, invite others to join, offer lots of value, establish your authority and drive people to your website and business.

For example, if you train dogs, you can create a group for dog owners who need help with their pets. As you share blog posts, offer advice, and engage with community members, you’ll be able to establish yourself as a leader in the niche and generate traffic, leads and sales.

Use reviews from real customers

Your Facebook business page offers the chance to feature testimonials and reviews from real customers. This is the perfect opportunity to let others speak to your professionalism and expertise. Ask happy customers to leave a review and support your business.

Advertise on your Facebook cover

Your Facebook cover photo is the perfect place to advertise your business and highlight your services. Include a high-quality photo or some other graphic that helps you stand out and speaks to users. Use this piece of real estate strategically.

Run Facebook ads

You can use Facebook ads to achieve a number of goals, such as driving traffic to your website, raising awareness about your products and brand, generating leads, and increasing engagement with your Facebook posts. You’ll need to learn how to run your own ads or hire someone with experience to do this as you’ll want to spend your money wisely. 

That being said, Facebook ads are cheaper than Google ads and the conversion rate tends to be higher. Your best bet is to experiment with this strategy and then decide whether or not it’s effective for your particular business.

Showcase real customers and business situations

Take advantage of this opportunity and share real situations your business has addressed. Let people see the range of your expertise and the kinds of problems you’re capable of solving. You can write up short summaries about customers you have helped, you can ask them to share their stories, or you can share your case studies on Facebook.

Hire new staff

You can add a career section to your business profile if you’re hiring. Who better to add to your staff than a follower or a fan on Facebook, someone who already knows and loves your brand?

Take advantage of the call to action button

Make sure you include all of your services in detail and don’t forget to set up a call to action button to encourage your potential client to call you, book an appointment, visit your website or learn more about your business.

Promote your business in the Our Story section

For business owners who aren’t familiar with this section of their page, Facebook created it so companies could share a little of their backstory with users. It’s the perfect place to include images that reflect your brand along with a brand summary. This section is very visible and, therefore, has the potential to impact your audience.

Livestream on Facebook

There’s no shortage of benefits to going live on Facebook. From reaching more people and creating a better relationship with your audience to providing unique content and creating excitement around your product, going live is a win-win situation for your brand and your customers.

LinkedIn

There are many ways you can use LinkedIn to grow your business and drive traffic to your website. By a wide margin, the US has the highest number of users on the platform, with  160 million, so there’s plenty of potential to reach a wide audience.

This platform is not strictly for job seekers and professionals, though. You can absolutely make business connections and find highly targeted customers. What’s more, you can easily stay on their radar by publishing content that is high quality, engaging and relevant.

You can also used LinkedIn to 

  • Grow your email marketing list
  • Create a niche specific group and build authority
  • Join other groups and showcase your expertise
  • Run ads and attract exactly the right customers to your page
  • Promote and potentially participate in professional meetups and conferences

Make sure your company page is fully optimized and you’ve taken advantage of every section to showcase your company, brand and product or service. Make sure you use the Showcase Pages function to spotlight different aspects of your business.

LinkedIn, like other platforms, is all about making connections and then building relationships from there.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks in the world. The US has the most users, with 116 million, followed by India with 73 million and Brazil with 72 million. This international presence makes the network appealing to both brands and influencers alike.

This is an outstanding, easy-to-use platform for B2C businesses. Instagram gives you a real opportunity to connect and engage with consumers directly, drive them to your website and turn them into customers. In fact, Instagram is considered the top performing platform for brand engagement. 

Here are a few more reasons to start using Instagram for business.

You can make your brand more human

Putting a face to your brand will help you develop a better connection with your followers and customers. Let them get to know you and vice versa. Take them behind the scenes and let them see how you do what you do. It also helps build trust as today’s consumers expect businesses to have an Instagram account.

You can tell stories

Instagram Stories is for storytelling and allows you to get creative when engaging with your audience. You can also run sales and contests there. IGTV is another part of Instagram that can be used to upload long-form videos to highlight your brand.

You can understand trends

Having a presence on Instagram will help you understand what’s new, what’s hot and what’s not. It’s important to have your finger on the pulse as a business owner as it will allow you to adapt, pivot and take advantage of different trends to drive business. You’ll also see what people are sharing and what they like, and you can use that information to grow your business.

You can drive website traffic and sales

Everything you have on your website—from blog posts to white papers to infographics—can be shared on Instagram. Grab people’s attention and watch them flock to your site. Build anticipation for a new product launch. Focus on creating professional-looking images and promoting your services and products.

You can network

It’s all about connections on social media. Network with customers, other brands you can partner with, and influencers that can boost your brand and business. Focus on building a relationship over time and all that effort will pay off in the long term.

Final thoughts

The right website, designed strategically with your business goals in mind, can become one of your company’s greatest assets. There’s no shortage of benefits that come with an effective digital presence and in today’s society being “just” a brick-and-mortar business won’t cut it. If that’s you, you’re leaving money on the table.

If you truly want to stand out from the crowd, reach millions of potential customers and grow your brand online, there’s no better web design and development company than Softvoya. Our team of designers, SEO experts and writers will help you define your goals and will build a website for you that generates leads, speaks to your audience, and boosts your bottom line. Get in touch and we can get started today.

It’s time to start promoting your brand, establishing yourself as a thought leader, and engaging with current and potential customers. A business website is all about connecting. And once you’ve made a solid connection, the traffic, leads and sales will follow.

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The Power of a Strategic Website: Drive Traffic, Generate Leads, Increase Sales! Part 1

10/25/20217 minute read

In this day and age, if your business doesn’t have an online presence, you’re missing out—on new customers, new leads and new sales.

But you can’t just throw up a website and be done with it. There are many pieces to the puzzle. 

You’ll want to create a strategic website, one that establishes you as an authority in your niche and shows people how you can solve their problems. You’ll need to create engaging content that captures the attention of potential customers and then promote and market that content, along with your brand, products and services, on social media. 

Is it a lot of work? Yes. Does it pay dividends? The answer to that is also “yes.”

What’s the goal of your website?

First things first: You’ll have to figure out what you want your website to do for you. Do you simply want to inform readers about your services? Do you want to set up an online store and sell your products? Do you want people to book an appointment? You’ll need to figure all of that out for your first point of contact with potential customers: your homepage.

Homepage

Your homepage is an important piece of real estate. You have roughly 0.05 seconds to make a great impression, or your visitors are gone. With that in mind, this page must:

  • Have a compelling visual design
  • Clearly explain what your business does and the problem it solves
  • Explain HOW you solve that problem
  • Show you understand your customers’ pain points
  • Indicate how you do a better job than your competitors

When you (or the web design team you decide to work with) are designing your website, it’s imperative that you convey to visitors your unique value proposition, i.e. what it is that makes you different from all the others in your industry. 

Call to action

A call to action (CTA) aims to encourage an immediate response from visitors and every page of your website should have one, including your landing page. Invite visitors to take action with the right CTA. Examples include:

One way to figure out your best CTA is to complete the sentence the user should ask themself: I want to “X.”

Design

Good web design is essential for having a successful online presence. What’s the point in having a website if it’s an eyesore, if it’s hard to use, or if it’s not responsive on mobile? In fact, 38% of people will leave your website if they think the layout or the content is unattractive and 88% won’t come back to your site if they’ve had a bad experience.

The most important areas to focus on when designing your website include:

  • Credibility: Establish your authority and be transparent with your pricing
  • Accessibility: Your site must work seamlessly on all devices
  • Simplicity: Make it easy to understand and navigate your site
  • Consistency: Your site should have the same colors and theme throughout
  • Familiarity: Use the same design elements with which people are already familiar
  • User-Centricity: Have the site revolve around the user and offer an excellent user experience 

How to catch the eye of your audience

There are millions of websites on the internet today, so you’ll need to figure out how to stand out from the crowd. 

Obviously, you’ll need to create an aesthetically-pleasing site, taking into account best practices in user experience, or UX. You’ll want it to be intuitive and easy to use, as well as responsive on mobile.

Beyond this, here are tips and ideas for creating a memorable website.

Load fast

It’s 2021. People are in a hurry and nobody’s going to stick around for 7, 8, or 9 seconds. In fact, the ideal website load time is between 2 and 5 seconds. 

How fast your site loads is critical and every single second counts. A 1-second delay in loading time has been proven to lead to a 7% loss in conversion and an 11% decline in page views. What’s more, 47% of people expect a maximum loading time of 2 seconds for the average website.

If you find that your website loads too slowly, there are several measures you can take to remedy this, such as optimizing files, compressing images and reducing HTTP requests, among others.

Be straightforward

Here’s some sobering data: 55% of people spend less than 15 seconds on your website. So what does that mean for you?

It means you’ve only got a few seconds to make a lasting impression and tell customers and visitors who you are and what you do. 

Businesses must convey what problem they solve for their customers, how they do it, and why people should trust them, as quickly as possible.

Make it easy

Once you’ve gone through all the effort to actually get people to your website, it’s your job to make them stay there.

Hire a professional copywriter and feature interesting content that engages with your audience. Use bullet points, callout boxes and other stylistic elements to break up your articles and make them easy to digest. Use subheadings and a table of contents (where appropriate) and use a large, easy-to-read font.

Use the right multimedia

Use high-quality, original, non-stock photos and images whenever possible. If you must use stock photos, our favorite free sources are Unsplash, Pexels and Pixabay. 

If you have the budget, Deposit Photos is reasonably priced, has an extensive portfolio of good photos, and often has deals and special offers. 

Build credibility

Your website gives you a very important platform where you can build credibility and authority in your niche. In addition to having an attractive, professionally-designed website, there are many ways to develop trust and to position yourself as a leader in your industry.

Testimonials

What better way to win over new customers than with glowing reviews from previous customers? Customer reviews are very powerful and can, and should, be leveraged strategically as they help people understand exactly what it’s like to work with you.

Around 95% of people read reviews before making a purchase and 93% of local consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad.

Case studies

Case studies give you the chance to write about your business experiences in detail and to showcase your expertise. Not only are they specific to your niche, they explain how problems are solved and help you position your brand as an authority, among other advantages.

Portfolio

Your website is the perfect place to show off your portfolio. Convince visitors why you’re the best in your niche by highlighting your past projects and your success stories. Whether you have a product or a service, both can be included in a portfolio, you just might have to get creative.

Connect on a personal level

When you have a website, you can let your potential customers get to know you better. They can see there’s a real person behind your company and you have a great opportunity to connect with your visitor on a more personal level. You can include photos of your team members as well, and this builds trust as customers “get to know” exactly who they would be working with.

Free WordPress Plugins

Once you have your website set up, there are lots of free WordPress plugins available to enhance the user experience. We’ve used dozens over the years, so here is our final list of the most useful.

Yoast SEO

Proper search engine optimization (SEO) is essential if you want your website to rank on Google and other search engines. This free plugin will help you keep your content in line with best SEO practices and help you optimize several other SEO-related details.

WP Smush

Many people fall into the trap of uploading lots of large photos, which slows down your website. You’ll recall that a too-slow website is a fate worse than death in the online universe. This handy plugin will shrink your images and help you achieve a faster load time.

TablePress

You’re going to want to include different elements in your blog posts such as photos, videos, bulleted lists, and tables. This plugin makes it super easy to include tables in your content so you can better organize your articles for your readers.

Envira Gallery

This plugin lets you build eye-catching photo and video galleries. It comes with an easy-to-use drag and drop builder and has lots of pre-built templates you can use to customize your gallery.

Redirection

Sometimes you need to redirect a web page, for any number of reasons. This is by far the most popular redirect manager, and it lets you keep your site organized, reduce errors and improve your ranking. Manage your 301 redirects and keep track of 404 errors in a flash.

Pretty Links

If you’re planning to monetize with affiliate marketing, this plugin will help you clean up, track, manage and shrink any URL from your website. It even lets you create links using your domain name. 

Broken Link Checker

Google doesn’t want to see any broken links on your website, but how do you keep track of all your links to make sure they’re still working? This free plugin scans your internal and external links and finds real broken links so you can fix them.

Make the initial check-up of everything you’ve learned in Part 1 of our helpful tips on how to boost traffic to your website, and proceed to the second part. You’ll find why it is vital to use such tools as Google Analytics and Social Media in your digital marketing strategy. Stay tuned!

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