Every day in Sales & Marketing Department of an IT company is extremely dynamic and interesting. This is the place where numerous requests from clients are received and multiple creative ideas are born. We communicate with representatives of the companies from diverse business spheres, and we are constantly in search of effective solutions for our clients.
The requests we receive are very different, and sometimes they may be somewhat confusing for us.
-I need to use blockchain in my business
-How exactly and why?
-I don’t really know, but I definitely need it, because everyone is talking about it nowadays
-I need a website
-OK, what exactly do you want us to do?
-Let’s start from taking a promo video in Germany….
-We are going to organize a scientific conference. We need a web page for it.
-It is easy, we are ready to start
-We also need you to write all texts, and we need SEO, by the way, our event is in two weeks
-I need to build a platform like Facebook with some features of LinkedIn…
-Can you create for me a website just like company A has, but with another design? And I need to hear the price by the end of the day. No, we don’t have a TS. What is a TS?
Sometimes it is hard to answer such requests because they are somewhat too fuzzy or a bit inappropriate from our point of view, and at the same time, clients cannot understand what is wrong. And here are just a few reasons: it is ineffective to copy somebody’s website, it is impossible to estimate the price of development without a TS, and such things as writing content, recording a promo video, and SEO cannot be done by a software development company.
Basically, in these cases, we have one of the two widespread problems.
- Incorrectly determined target.
The client wants to use some technology, usually very popular, but cannot explain why. Or he/she wants to create a website, a platform or some other product just because somebody already has such a product, such products are trendy, or everybody else creates them.
Why is it bad?
Every project and its development should always be based on the client’s business goals. If the client has some other goals, like imitating competitors or following trends – it will never work. Only by achieving your own business goals can you reach more efficiency and gain more profit. Pointless creation of an IT product will only waste your money and other resources. Good IT companies do not aim to develop for the sake of development. Take our word for it, it is much more interesting to really help you improve your business and build a long-term productive partnership. So, honestly, we do not like such kinds of requests that are not based on some meaningful business idea. Because we know that this will not end up good for all the parties involved.
What should be done?
If you want to make your business more progressive and innovative, first of all, you should perform a thorough analysis of your company and your activity to determine bottlenecks, problems, opportunities etc. You need a high-quality business analysis which can be performed by a business analyst or a crisis manager in case you cannot do it by yourself. Only then can you find an IT team and think of the type of solution you need. Good news – there are some IT companies which can provide you with IT consulting for free. For instance, you can find such an offer at [bvblogic] company.
- Incorrectly determined tools.
The client needs some service, but it is not connected with the development. It can be photo-, video- or text content, SEO or promotion and advertising.
Why is it bad?
The client is looking for an IT company while actually he/she needs another kind of company with different expertise. Basically it takes time, and the solution cannot be found. And there is a risk of starting cooperation with an incompetent team.
What should be done?
It is a good idea to look for a company with a narrow specialization that will fulfill specifically your needs. If you want not only to create a website, but also to fill it with content – divide these tasks. Let the development specialists take care of programming, and leave content for the marketing agencies.
You can consider professional hubs – organizations which can provide you with a full cycle of development from writing tech specs to promoting the final product, it would be a perfect option for your project. A good example of such an association is the TechCarrot Hub, which consists of about 100 companies: here you can get a full range of IT services: consulting and marketing services, software development, testing, SEO, promotion of the finished product, and even services of hardware development companies.
And now let us look through some basic infographics and see the standard stages of development from the very beginning, when all you have is an idea, and until the moment your users learn about your product. Of course, not every development goes exactly like that, but a high-quality development of a truly successful solution should include these important stages and elements. After you finish reading this text you will understand why the dialogues at the beginning of this article may actually sound inappropriate.
Who do you need on every stage of your technological solution development?
- If you want to improve your business efficiency, but you do not yet have clear ideas on how to do it, you need a business analyst (consulting agency). This specialist will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your business, opportunities for growth and improvement, risks that you may not be aware of, and formulate clear business goals that you can further discuss with IT consultants.
- When you already have business goals, you need to understand how IT can solve these tasks or problems, and an IT consultant (most IT companies have such professionals) will help you with that. As a result, you will receive a vision of the solution (in other words – what you should develop to reach your business goals: a website, a mobile application, an ERP system etc., and how the solution will work). This specialist will also help you choose the most suitable technologies for the implementation of this vision.
- Once you have already determined what you are planning to develop and which technologies to use, before the start of the development, and even just in order to determine the exact cost of the development, you definitely need a technical specification (TS). TS can be written by a technical expert of your company (if you have such an expert), or by the IT consultant from an IT company. This is a document that contains a detailed description of all the functionality and prototypes of your project. Each smallest detail of the functionality can greatly affect the cost and time of the development, that is why when the clients ask us to estimate the project without the TS, we are always confused. If the IT company estimates the cost of the development without a TS, you should understand that hardly ever is this price accurate, it is usually very approximate, and contains all possible risks, thus, it may tend to be higher than the real price. When you have a TS, you can ask for an estimation from different companies and compare prices. This is another advantage of having the TS.
- When you have the final TS, you can start the development itself with a reliable team. Development is always divided into typical stages and involves specialists from different departments.
- It all starts with the design, which is usually created by a web designer or a UX/UI specialist. Not every software development company works with design. Therefore, you may need to use services of a design agency. However, finding all the services in a single company will certainly be a plus, as it will reduce the amount of communication and the number of approvals.At about the same time, you need content. It is necessary to understand what kind of information, in what format, in what amount, will be placed on your site/online store/mobile application. Producing content is not a direct function of an IT company, and only a few IT companies have departments that produce content. So, you had better contact a marketing agency that can provide you with a copywriting service or engage a third-party professional. Thus, writing texts, taking photos or videos is not a part of the development, and these tasks are not traditionally performed by IT companies.
- When the design part is complete and you can see exactly what your project will look like, the front-end development starts. At this stage, developers add interactivity and functionality to the picture you see on the screen.
- Complex operations with data are provided by backend development. It is more complicated than the previous stages and usually takes much more time, but it depends on the type of your project.
You can find more information about the types of websites in one of our previous articles: What Kind of Website Will Suit Your Business Model?
- We have more and more cases when our clients need not only software development, but also hardware. For example, when they want to create “smart houses”, or to automate some equipment or workplaces. This is a complex and serious business that usually works separately, so in this case, it is important to find a company with relevant expertise. Although, sometimes you can find a software development company which works with hardware.
- When the development process is over, or even after some stages of it, a very important phase begins. It is software testing, and it is done by the Quality Assurance department. This process helps to identify possible errors in the work of your software and eliminate them before the users can access your product. So, after successful testing, your project can finally be launched on the market.
- So, the product is ready for use, and customers should somehow find out about its existence. The exception can be internal, corporate projects (CRM, ERP, corporate portals etc.). The process of launching a software product inside a company is called integration or implementation. If the product is produced for a wide audience of users, you need to use services of a marketing agency to promote the product on the market. Such an agency will regularly report on the efficiency of all marketing activities, analyze the results, arrange and select the most efficient channels of promotion. IT companies usually do not deal with that, so we recommend you to separate such things like promotion services, SEO and IT development.
- Very often, there are cases when customers think that they need SEO (Search Engine Optimization), while actually they need contextual advertising. What is the difference? SEO is a complicated and long process of optimizing your website for search engines, the foundations of SEO are laid in the process of front-end development. Experienced developers know what and how to do to make your website well-ranked by search engines like Google. While contextual advertising (such as Google Adwords), SMM (Social Media Marketing) are high-performing and fast ways to reach a large audience within short timeframes. So, for example, if you need a website for an event that you organize in two weeks, SEO agency cannot help you, instead you need a marketing agency that deals with contextual advertising.
Now you know who can help you at every stage in the creation of your successful project. We hope you find this information useful and that it will help you make the right and most efficient decisions!