What Exactly Does a Software Development Firm Do?

April 27, 2022

By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
Phoenix Bizz, a division of Sofvue, LLC
Printed with permission of Sofvue, LLC and the author

Without question, technology today is front and center for every business, and not just technology companies. We’ve designed “non-techy” solutions for what some might consider a non-technology business. A few examples include a design project for an umbrella rental company near Los Angeles, as well as a vent-hood cleaning company in Las Vegas, and hundreds of other types of companies. Sometimes, we receive calls from a company in a service or production segment we never considered would need some type of custom solution, only to discover they do.

While some people are aware that a software development firm in Phoenix can help them build the solutions they need, there is still little understanding of what we do.  

Let’s dig a little deeper.

What Is a Software Development Company?

A software development company is made up of a group of people who design and develop custom solutions for its clients. At Phoenix Bizz, our client base includes private individuals, start-ups and small businesses who have been in business for more than 10 years.

Generally speaking, most of our clients need one of five services. They either need a web-based application, a mobile application, a database system, prototype or in some cases, a combination of all the above. Budgets start at $10,000 and go up from there. We’ve designed and developed applications exceeding development costs of over a million dollars, so the range of costs and time vary widely.

There are numerous disciplines associated with software development, and include seven primary phases including concept and design, wireframing, financing, coding, QA and User Acceptance Testing, release and maintenance. For this reason, most companies have, at a minimum, a software architect, project manager, business analyst, development engineer, operational staff, user acceptance tester(s), quality assurance personnel, along with project owners and stakeholders. 

What Does a Software Development Company Do?

Here is a broad overview of how a software development company in Phoenix develops software and mobile apps.

1. Identify the Problem

What is the problem being solved? Before you can solve a problem, you must first understand it, and often times the only way to understand it is to walk in the shoes of the person doing the tasks. For software development, this often requires numerous discovery calls, on-site visits and resource time allowing company personnel the time and freedom to really explain what the software must do. Sometimes this is accomplished in a few discovery calls, other times the process can take several months to understand.

2. Set Expectations

This is quite possibly the most important aspect of software development and requires a combination of balance between helping you understand the process as opposed to going “too deep down the rabbit hole”. A company worth their salt will provide continuous updates regarding the process, as well as providing Gantt charts detailing project development and standing. At Phoenix Bizz, we use Microsoft Project, as well as several proprietary tools, as well as Wire Atlas, our in-house system for tracking project development. More importantly, however, is working with a company that can anticipate problems and make contact with you before small problems turn into big ones.

3. Create and Develop

After understanding your problems, needs, and expectations, the software development company will begin creating wireframes for your custom software, database, mobile apps, etc. Done properly, wireframing can eliminate 99% of all project development meetings (something that typically consumes 20+% of most projects) as well as lower overall development costs and time.

Wireframes are, in my view, the single point of project success or failure. We often have companies and start-ups who, to their detriment, want to ‘skip’ the wireframing process. We then explain that (a) we won’t work with any company, under any circumstances, who do not recognize the wireframing process, and (b) that without going through the formal process of wireframing a solution, their project will fail. I should know, we get at least one call a week from a start-up or established business who hired a software company to build them an application, and three, six or twelve months later, have absolutely nothing to show for the effort.  

Once the wireframing process is completed, whether using the ‘Waterfall’ or ‘Sprint’ development model, the next step is to ‘code’ the solution. Depending on the scope & type of project underway, coding or development can take as little as a few weeks or as long as a few years (our current record is five years for a major application). Additionally, if a project’s scope includes mobile app development, you have build in time for working with Apple’s and Google’s application process, as well as their sandbox and versioning controls, a process that is sometimes straightforward and quick, and at other times, very time consuming.

4. Test and Bug/Fix Issues

Next comes testing, which by its very nature, automatically includes bug/fix issues. During this phase of the project, quality assurance personnel (QAs) go through the application and complete comprehensive testing. The QA’s should test the software on multiple devices to ensure it performs seamlessly everywhere. Based on their findings, the development team will make any necessary changes, retest and reload the application for release.

5. Launch and Maintenance

Now that everything is done (designing, development, and testing), the software company can help you launch your software into the marketplace. If the software is for internal company use, and only company employees can use the software, some companies, (including Phoenix Bizz), can provide off-site video or on-site training, or for larger companies, or train-the-trainer. If your platform is for external use, such as an e-commerce, social media, or niche B2c, B2b, some companies can help you broadcast your technology through various channels, app stores, social media, etc.

Many software development companies offer free software maintenance for the first few months, then online support and billing thereafter, but every company is different, so you need to communicate with your software company at the very beginning of a project, so you know what to expect at the end.

Read this blog: Custom Software Development – Solving The Multi-Dimensional Business Problem

How to Choose the Right Software Development Company for Your Business?

Choosing the right software development company is essential to ensure project success. Therefore, do your homework, and find a company that offers:

Experience: How long has the company been in business?  Have they been in business for more than 10 years?  Where is their corporate office?  Verify their company information through your state provided corporation search tools.  What is their Dun & Bradstreet number, and can you visit at least three recently completed projects?

Past projects: Talk with different software companies about their areas of expertise, where they specialize and what types of projects they are looking for.  Also find out their availability and whether they can take on new projects.

Testimonials: Get the phone numbers of at least two recent clients that you can pick up the phone and talk to them directly, and make sure that any testimonials and contact information supplied are from companies based here in Phoenix, Tucson or Southern California.

Wrapping Up
 
A software development company can provide you with tailored solutions to solve your business problems and streamline your business processes. When you are looking for a reliable, long-established software company here in Phoenix, call Phoenix Bizz. We have nearly two decades of experience developing custom software solutions for small businesses in the B2b, D2c, medical, finance, real estate, AEC and manufacturing market sectors. To learn more, contact us at 623-845-2747.

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