3 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Software Engineering Firm

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Did you know that roughly 30 percent of IT projects fail?

This is one reason that the traditional model of software development – wherein an organization prescribes the solution, and then hires a development provider to execute it – is on its way out. In fact, poor delivery and the sheer pace of technological advancement are bringing about the rise of a new, much more collaborative software development model.

Today’s organizations are better served by hiring an expert development partner – not merely a development outsourcer – that can:

  • Collaborate with their client to understand unique needs and opportunities
  • Provide strategic advice and solution expertise
  • Dream up an innovative approach to bring the client’s vision to life

But how can you determine if the firm you’re interviewing is a traditional outsourcer or strategic development partner? It can be hard to know how a development team really operates before you hire them. We’ve put together these three questions to help you prod a little deeper and determine if your potential engineering provider will make a good partner:

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1.    How do you use design thinking to develop solutions?
Providers who leverage design thinking to plan and develop solutions are inherently better partners than those who don’t. Design thinking requires that the developer empathize with the end user. This means they’re not building based on a list of pre-determined specs and theoretical needs. Rather, their solutions are truly adapted to the experience of the end user and, as a result, often more successful.

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2.    Can you provide expertise across multimodal technologies?
A good partner is able to grow with your organization over time. For example, consider an organization that’s just beginning to develop its SaaS solution. As that software is deployed and becomes more successful, the company might want to expand its footprint by offering a mobile app. Or, the organization might need to migrate its solution to the cloud to better manage its IT resources. As the organization continues to mature, it might even consider developing its own smart device to accompany its service.

What began as a SaaS project could easily transform into something much more complex as an organization grows and expands. That’s why it is important to identify from the outset whether or not a potential provider can partner with your organization across a wide spectrum of future needs and technologies.

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3.    Can I speak to your references? 
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s such an important question to ask that we couldn’t leave it off our list. We’ve found that when you delight your clients, they’re eager to tell others about their experience. As you speak to a provider’s references, ask them:

  • Did the delivery team immerse themselves in the project, deeply understanding your needs and priorities?
  • What process did you undertake to develop the final solution?
  • What ideas or new thinking did the potential provider bring to the table?

These are just a few of the questions that we recommend asking a potential software development provider to make sure that they can act as a partner to your organization, rather than just an outsourced skill set. For more information about how we partner with clients like Nortek, the Dallas Cowboys, or Collective Goods, check out our case studies.


 
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Jamie Murphy

Guest blogger for DVmobile, busy mama, & strategy wiz.

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Removing Friction to Improve Customer Experience

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Friction is the enemy of customer experience. It comes in the form of outdated payment technologies, poorly designed websites, and irritating return processes. It can have a dramatic impact on an organization’s brand and bottom line:

  • 67 percent of consumers cite bad experiences as reason for churn
  • 51 percent of B2B companies avoid vendors after a negative customer experience
  • 95 percent of people will share their complaints with others
  • It is 6 to 7x more expensive for companies to attract new customers than to keep existing customers

According to recent research, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiation. Companies simply can’t afford the cost of friction.

So how can companies remove friction? 

Design thinking is a good place to start.

This methodology is about creating innovative solutions based on the real needs of people. At DVmobile, we lead with empathic UX design, putting the end user experience and all stakeholders first. We’ve found that this approach brings to life technical and project-specific objectives – making them immediate and relatable. By prioritizing the end user and understanding their needs, companies can more effectively evaluate their processes through the eyes of their customers and identify areas of friction.

Executing on design thinking principles to reduce friction requires a commitment to continuous and iterative improvement. Because technology changes so rapidly, companies must be agile in both solutions and processes. In our business, we’ve learned the impact of adapting as new learning, additional feature requests, and usability information comes to light. By continually incorporating new feedback, companies can reduce customer pain points – improving their business and their customers’ quality of life.

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Example: Netflix

How does this work in the real world? Here’s just one example from a company we’re probably all familiar with:

In February 2007, Netflix delivered its billionth DVD. But, instead of doubling down on its successful DVD rental and sales business, Netflix announced that it would begin streaming media.

What Netflix did so expertly was to remove the friction inherent in its core business. Subscribers no longer had to wait for their DVD to arrive in the mail or remember to mail the DVD back by a particular day. They no longer had to pick another option when Netflix was out of the movie they wanted. And they didn’t have to experience the frustration of waiting for their movie to arrive, only to find the DVD broken or scratched.

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By removing friction, Netflix has transformed the way the world accesses and consumes media. After many iterations, the company also transformed the behavior of it subscribers by offering on-demand access to media (aka: binge-watching) and developing original content. Want to know something else Netflix transformed by removing friction? Its bottom line. According to a MarketWatch article from May of this year, Netflix has a market capitalization approaching $68 billion, nearly 22,000% more than its $309 million valuation at IPO time [15 years ago].

If you want to learn more about how DVmobile has helped organizations remove friction from their business models, products, and services, read a few of our case studies here and here. Then tell us about the experience your customers have with your products, services, and processes. How have you identified and removed friction in your business? We’d love to hear from you!


 
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Danny Sanchez

UI/UX Designer at DVmobile, Men-at-Work fan, and 3D printing guru.

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RSR's Top 10: Retail Trends for IoT in 2017

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Retailers are still scrambling to understand the wide-ranging implications of the Internet of Things in a fast-changing industry landscape. Increasingly, both online and brick-and-mortar stores are finding themselves in direct competition with "Everything Store" giants like Amazon that change the definition of retail itself. As a result, approaches to managing inventory, executing on logistics, and living up to shoppers' expectations have become more complicated — and more urgent — than ever.

RSR's 2017 report delves into the ways IoT solutions can address age-old retail challenges, as well as the newest challenges posed by evolving technologies.

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