A fundamental analysis of the needs is the first step that should be carried out before choosing the software house to build your application. This key task is often somewhat neglected which may cause issues at the later stages of designing and developing the software. How to avoid that risk by properly identifying the needs of your company?
What is the identification of a company's needs?
It is a process during which you can identify the elements which should be included in the system. It means a detailed description of the actions that are to be taken within the application while taking into consideration the requirements of the future users of the application and the types of devices that the application will be installed or accessed on.
How to identify the needs of a company?
You can identify the needs of your company in a few ways. The easiest path is to give detailed answers to a series of questions:
1. Which processes should be streamlined by the application? E.g. arranging the schedule, issuing documents, building a comprehensive customer database, all that using just one solution.
2. How many users will be using the system? The answer to this question will determine the size of the system and the way of granting access to the developed application for certain users (e.g. possibility to edit data, access it, etc.)
3. What devices will the system be accessed on? In this respect it is essential to establish whether the application will be used on desktop PCs or mobile devices as this determines the type of software license that will apply.
4. What modules do you need to have in the system? While planning the modules, it is important to focus on the aim of each one. The module can include e.g. calendar, customer database, invoices, documents, sales leads, etc.
5. What server will the application be hosted on? It can be installed in your server and used on desktop PCs, or can be installed on the software house's server and be stored in a cloud, which means it would be accessed in a browser.
6. Will there be field workers or home workers among the users of the system? The answer to this question will help to determine whether it is necessary to develop the application in accordance with the SaaS model, or if it can be installed on a customer-owned server.
7. Is it necessary to integrate the application with external software? Defining the degree of integration will ensure the integration itself is carried out smoothly. It can include e.g. mail system or invoicing software.
8. Where and how was the data stored so far? Gathering all separate files with data will allow seamless import of it during the first days of using the system and this will guarantee that you get the most of your software.
9. Which practices developed in your company it would be good to standardize? These could be sales processes or the way in which customer data is gathered. Taking these questions into consideration during the process of identifying your needs will ensure that these are present in the developed application.
How to present the identified needs to the software house?
To ensure that the needs you have identified are understandable for the software house, it is good to write them down in a text file. To make your thought clearer, it may be worth to create a table of contents, which will list the questions that are described in detail in the file. This will ensure that the software house can quickly understand your needs and provide you with the quote.
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