The Weidenhammer Blog

Define key criteria for app development partners

Posted on: January 12th, 2016 | Category: Application Development, Business Consulting

Today's business leaders demand more from their enterprise applications, knowing that these programs play a central role in the efficiency and productivity of their workforce. That explains why so many organizations are opting to invest in custom solutions rather than going for the readymade software choices that have so long been par for the course. 

Since 'off-the-shelf' is now out of the question, business leaders are no longer occupied with selecting software, but are instead focused on picking the best possible development partner. For many companies, this is new territory that may take some getting used to, even if they have long been shoppers in the vast enterprise software market. 

Now that IT decision-makers are navigating a relatively new environment with little familiarity, a set of development partnership criteria may be helpful to pave the way with a bit more confidence. Project leaders that follow these guidelines will likely find a capable development team and start their custom app creation process on the right foot. 

Proven development pedigree
When evaluating a partner for a custom application development process, the first and most important criteria relates to the reputation of the organization in question, and how it is recognized in the enterprise application community. Decision-makers should examine a potential partner's track record, client testimonials and any other information they might need to determine whether the developer will be a good fit. 

From there, it's time to dive into the details of the development firm and discover as much as possible, including its breadth of expertise, roster of engineers, areas of specialization and its unique processes. All of these factors will help project leaders come to a conclusion about whether the team is right for the job, and ensure that only the best prospects make it to the next round for consideration. 

"Involve end users in consultation."

Consultative engineering expertise
Apart from investigating the reputation and background of a development team, a business needs to ensure that the partnership begins with a consultation process that identifies the most pressing demands that an application is meant to fulfill. Only a team of experts can reveal the biggest shortcomings in the organization's app portfolio, which is why consultative engineering is so crucial. According to a blog article from ImageWorks contributor Jeffrey Cohen, this process should involve many stakeholders, including regular employees. 

"Involving the users within your organization at this point is extremely helpful," wrote Cohen in his blog article. "While the IT folks may have the technical experience to help with the decision, many times it is the business case that is driving the need of the project, so the actual business users have more at stake."

Although the consultation process should not take too much time, it needs to be thorough. A complete evaluation of performance, compliance and technical demands must take place in order to maximize ROI while combating risk factors. A truly custom project will be based on enough upfront information to guide developers in the right direction. 

Ongoing support and assistance
The business world is ever-changing, meaning that a company will always face new challenges and shift its priorities according to new trends and developments. Applications must be built with this fast-paced environment in mind, readily adaptable and capable of scaling at any time. 

"As your business needs change and as your industry evolves, being able to quickly shift technology strategies can mean the difference between market dominance and obsolesces," explained Forbes contributor Chuck Cohn in a blog post. 

By following this system of evaluation, a company will find the best development partner for its unique and innovative app needs. 

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Mike Groves

Mike Groves

Mr. Groves is the Manager of Development here at Weidenhammer. He possess over twenty-five years of experience in information systems management consulting covering a broad range of information system technologies and industries. His management consulting experience includes: development of information technology plans, focusing on the use of information technology as a tool for carrying out key business strategies to attain stated business objectives; the performance of detailed business process analysis and documentation, identifying opportunities for process improvements and changes; and the development of marketing plans, focusing on marketing objectives, target markets, market segmentation, and increasing market share through the devising of strategies concerning products/services, pricing, promotion, and distribution. Mr. Groves information system development life cycle experience includes project management, requirements gathering, detailed design, construction, system testing, and production support. Lastly, his packaged software implementation experience includes managing the implementation of a major Enterprise-Resource Planning (ERP) package, SAP. Mr. Groves holds a MBA from Lehigh University and a BS from Albright College in Finance and English.