Employing external software development consultants for your startup offers a number of compelling benefits. They bring diverse skills, expertise, experience, fresh ideas, and industry insights to the table. Their unbiased perspective can help your organization identify hidden inefficiencies and spot opportunities that your internal team might have missed in day-to-day operations. Thanks to software engineering consulting, you stay ahead in terms of trends and innovation.
Albert Einstein once said that a problem cannot be solved using the same thinking that created it. Software development consulting provides you with a new way of thinking, and this is what matters most.
What is software development consulting?
The term refers to the guidance provided by external IT professionals or companies in order to enhance, optimize, or manage various aspects of the development process. They offer a wealth of industry experience and expertise in a variety of fields, including software architecture, design, development, tech stack, project management, and quality assessment, among others.
Software engineering consulting offers many benefits. Let’s talk about the eight most convincing ones.
Benefit #1. You get insights into the best practices and software development process
Running a tech startup comes with its own set of challenges. One way to navigate these hurdles is through consulting services, which offer practical advice, aimed at helping you tackle the specific issues you're facing.
Whether you're struggling with things like workflow issues, choosing the right technology, or maintaining high-quality output, consultants can provide customized guidance. They bring a wealth of knowledge from diverse industries, which can be invaluable in avoiding common pitfalls and accelerating your startup's growth.
What's more, consulting isn't just about quick fixes. It's about setting up long-lasting methods that improve how your business runs day-to-day, allowing you to spend more time focusing on growing your business and less time putting out fires.
Benefit #2. They can help you prioritize software development efforts
As a startup owner, you might have limited resources when it comes to people, time, and budget. Additionally, with a big picture in your mind and a multitude of day-to-day operations, you may easily lose focus on what should come first in the development process and what should follow.
Software consulting can help you identify the features that should be developed first, improve the scheduling of development projects, allocate resources most effectively, and meet all deadlines.
Benefit #3. They can help you maintain a competitive technological edge
In business, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards. When it comes to technology, this sentence could not be any more accurate. New tools and new updates emerge literally every day. This is most clearly demonstrated in the AI-powered sector.
As a startup owner, you need to be up-to-date with the latest technologies and frameworks in order to stay competitive.
A software consulting company can guide you on the latest advancements and help you select the right technologies. They can help you adopt innovative solutions such as the latest location-based services, messaging protocols, cloud and video streaming technologies, and artificial intelligence, positioning your startup at the forefront of the technological rush.
Benefit #4. You can request hands-on training for your in-house team
Being aware of emerging trends in technology is one thing; being able to put that knowledge into action is something entirely different.
Software consulting often includes training services that can enhance your in-house team’s skills in programming, frameworks, and technologies. Thanks to the adoption of new tools or practices, external training can accelerate development cycles and a product’s time-to-market.
Benefit #5. They can help you avoid or mitigate the hidden costs of software development
Team maintenance, training, software, cybersecurity, and hosting services are just a few examples of the hidden costs of software development. Their impact on the overall profitability of the project may be substantial. The Standish Group report claims that 52.7% of projects cost 189% of their original estimates.
Software consulting services are useful for anticipating and mitigating the hidden expenses that frequently accompany development projects. Consultants can help identify potential bottlenecks, and foresee potential changes in the scope of work, resource challenges, or technological threats. They can help you prepare a precise cost estimate while reducing the risk of underestimation or overrun.
Benefit #6. You can focus on core business operations
As a startup founder, you are engaged in dozens of day-to-day operations. Some of them may be critical for your company’s future, like team recruitment or investor acquisition. With a software consultant on board, you can concentrate on your core business activities.
Application software consulting can redirect your internal workforce to focus on the tasks that directly contribute to the company’s growth, innovation, and competitive edge. It can provide technological efficiency and empower your team to concentrate on their primary responsibilities. As a result, the company is able to keep up its current level of operational potential while simultaneously benefiting from cutting-edge software solutions.
Benefit #7. You get access to cross-domain tech talent
By partnering with a software development company, startups gain access to interdisciplinary technical talent without incurring the costs of direct recruitment. These companies have diverse teams with expertise in a wide range of technological fields, from UX/UI and prototyping to AI and cloud services.
Thanks to a collaboration with such a company, your startup can benefit from best practices across multiple tech domains and expand its technological capabilities.
Benefit #8. You can shorten your time-to-market (TTM)
Short time-to-market (TTM) is pivotal in software development. It offers an early return on investment and enables the gathering of insightful feedback.
When you work with a development consulting company, the time-to-market for your products or solutions can be significantly reduced. With software consulting services, you can speed up decision-making, optimize workflows, reduce bottlenecks, and achieve a competitive edge by delivering a valuable product to the market sooner.
The roadmap of software development consulting
Phase 1: Product discovery
If you are at the beginning of your journey and your product idea has coalesced recently, a professional software consulting company should be able to provide you with relevant product discovery services.
This term refers to the first phase of software development, in which the emphasis is on gathering and comprehending the project’s requirements, goals, scope, and constraints. The purpose of this step is to ensure that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of what needs to be built and why.
During the discovery phase, the software development company works closely with you and your development team to:
- identify project goals and requirements
- conduct market research and competitive analysis
- develop a detailed plan of software development
- define the necessary tech stack, team, and skill set for the project
- develop a timeline with milestones and a delivery date
- prepare a detailed budget plan
- identify potential risks and constraints
Phase 2: Product design
Once your product is discovered, either independently or with guidance from software development consultants, you can proceed to phase 2. Software product design is the process of creating a comprehensive blueprint for developing an app that meets user expectations.
A qualified software consultant will smoothly guide you through all the stages of the product design phase:
1. Conceptualization: The process of creating a design that involves the main features, workflows, and user interactions.
2. UX/UI design: Creating a user interface (UI) that is intuitive, user-friendly, and visually appealing. To show how various elements are laid out and interact with one another, this involves creating both lo-fi and hi-fi wireframes, and actual final designs.
3. Functional design: Outlining the specific features and functionalities of the app. This entails disassembling the complex product idea into smaller, more manageable components, each with a distinct set of functions.
4. Architecture design: Formulating the software architecture with the right technologies, frameworks, and platforms. During this phase, interaction and communication between the components are also determined.
5. Data design: Designing the data entities, data flow, and database structure that the software will use to store and manage information.
6. Prototyping: Developing interactive prototypes or mockups in order to validate the design and functionality with users.
7. Testing: Identifying possible usability issues, design flaws, or missing features in the early stages of the development cycle and making sure the product meets expectations.
8. Documentation: Gathering all the information regarding app design, functionality, and usage. Documentation is crucial for developers to start with phase 3.
Phase 3: Product development
Documentation should be handed over to the development team after the design has been completed, and this is when the most time-consuming phase begins.
Software development services can play a pivotal role in assisting startups with software development by providing expert guidance and technical know-how. Consultants can suggest appropriate tech stacks, architectures, and methodologies that meet product goals.
Moreover, software development companies are able to assist you in the formulation of an all-encompassing software development strategy, which includes segmentation of the project into milestones that are more easily managed.
In addition to this, consultants lend a hand in the process of putting together and managing development teams, making certain that those involved in the project possess the appropriate skill sets.
As development progresses, consultants can supervise testing and validation processes to ensure the product meets industry standards and user expectations.
Some of the most reputable consulting firms offer software development services themselves, so you can draw upon their talents for part of or the whole project. Building an MVP with them would be a good start.
Phase 4: Delivery and launch
Once your software is ready, it is time for deployment. A software development consulting firm will stand by you when making your product available for deployment to the destination environment: uploading the software to web servers, software repositories, app stores, or cloud platforms.
Managing the launch process means coordinating multiple tasks, such as ensuring that the correct version of the software is deployed, revising documentation, informing stakeholders, and getting the necessary approvals. A software development services firm will be of great help here, too.
Software release day is an important moment for every founder. A responsible software consulting company will be available to you during soft and hard launches and performance and user feedback will be monitored. Consultants will be ready to help you with potential bottlenecks or emergency fixes. Any problems that are discovered are mended immediately, either through patches, updates, or brand new releases.
How to identify the best software development consulting company?
Step 1: Define your goals and technical requirements
Start by defining your goals. This is crucial for achieving effective and successful collaboration with a software development consulting company. Goals that are clearly defined provide a roadmap for the project’s direction, scope, and outcomes.
As a result, communication will be more precise, resources will be distributed effectively, and the scope of the project will be constantly verified. This will allow the software company to tailor their solutions to your specific needs.
Last but not least, measurable goals allow you to evaluate the project’s success and its alignment with your business goals.
As a startup founder or leader, you do not necessarily need to be tech-savvy, but we do recommend that you try to define the most important software-related issues, challenges, and requirements that will create a foundation for your dialogue with the software consulting development firm.
Step 2: Make a list of software consulting firms
Software consulting firms can specialize in specific types of tools and technologies. Search for the company that has a strong profile in the area or technology that you are looking for, like mobility app development or chat app development.
If you do not have any previous experience, ask your friends for recommendations. Ask your investors. Ask Google. Analyze company websites. Are they professional enough? Does their UX appeal to you?
Look at the their size and the teams they employ. Research their workflows and methodologies. Read the list of services the companies provide. Look at their recent clients. Read case studies and references. Install the apps they have developed. If you find them attractive, this bodes well for future cooperation.
Step 3: Contact them and ask for estimations
Once you have listed a couple of software consulting firms, shortlist the three most promising ones, contact them, and tell them about your project. Do not shy away from asking for cost estimates. Professional software development firms do this on a regular basis.
Evaluate the way your request is being handled in terms of professionalism, speed, engagement, and proactivity.
Software development consultancy requires specialized IT knowledge and experience, but it is worth little without good communication skills. The consultants must be able to establish good contact with you and your team. They must be good listeners, eager to explain even the most sophisticated terms and technologies and give feedback.
Step 4: Final decision
Take a global look at all the aspects you have investigated and list the pros and cons of each company. Evaluate the scope of services, experience, credentials, team, availability, timing, and cost, and determine the importance of these factors for your product.
Remember that consulting requires soft, interpersonal and communication skills, too. Since you are about to spend a considerable amount of time together on your project, it is good to get along well with your software development consultant.
How RST Software can become your trusted software consulting firm
Regardless of the stage you are at, RST’s software consulting services can be of great help to your startup. A highly qualified team, dozens of launched applications, and insights into emerging technologies make us the perfect partner for your app. Should you want us to consult on your product or idea, do not hesitate to reach out via our contact form to request an informal chat or cost estimate.