A software consultancy is a company that helps businesses (sometimes individuals) with implementing software to improve their business processes. Simple enough, right? Well… the process of implementing software is a bit tougher than just picking something off the shelf and using it. Software projects and implementations are notorious for failing due to causes that range from plain bad software, bad process match, lack of skills internally for a team, slow/low adoption rates, etc. Here, we discuss some services of good technology consulting companies.
This is the kickstart phase of the project. During the requirements phase, a technology consultant would generally sit with the business owner and understand what the challenges are in the business, what the opportunities are, and what your company is aiming to accomplish through the use of technology. In some cases, a business owner may not know what can be accomplished, and the IT consultant would provide case studies and examples to guide the process.
A major step of ANY software project, and one which is often neglected, is business analysis. This is where a technology consultancy invests time to sit with your team to fully understand your business’s processes, the work you do, and the systems currently in use. This phase of the project is critical, as any misunderstanding here, would cause a lot of pains later in the process.
At the end of the business analysis stage, a software requirements document is usually created that contains all of the specific requirements that are needed for your company. This document can be extensive and contain forms, flowcharts, access control information, etc.
Strategy, Options & Budget
Now that the IT consultancy understands the aims of the business owner and the specific requirements of the business, the software consultancy reviews the available technology options, presents these to the customer along with pricing for the various option. Once decisions are made on a way forward, an implementation strategy is then formalized, along with timelines and requirements from both parties.
Development & Customization
Based on the needs of the customer, the IT consultant can use software that already exists, build custom software, or a combination of both. This phase of the project, usually the longest in terms of time, is where all custom software development and customization of applications are done, polishing up the product for the best business results.
Implementation & Infrastructure
Sometimes after development is completed, and in most cases, coming towards the end of development, the software consultancy starts building out any infrastructure that is needed – these can include physical networks, server infrastructure, etc. Once the infrastructure is read, implementing and beta testing the software is the next stage – this can be done in collaboration with the business, or independently by the software consultancy. The technology is then made available to the client at the end of this phase.
Training, Data Entry, Adoption & Improvement
Another critical and often overlooked phase by software consultancies, but very critical to the project’s success. Training is generally provided by the software consultancy. Parallel to training, the team works on data entry if it’s needed and the business’s team starts using the software at this point.
During the initial use of the software, any improvements to workflows, and bug fixes reported by the team using the software are made by the IT consultancy.
Support & Expansion
After the software is launched, the consultancy would provide ongoing support, including a warranty period for the software where bugs are fixed.
After launch, once your business starts receiving the benefits of software, you’d generally want the software to be expanded to digitize other workflows and processes of your company – this type of work is usually done as ongoing development, and any new features developed are rolled out in a production environment.