Businesses are constantly embracing digital technology in new and intuitive ways. Some companies are now taking the step to develop their own software either to help their staff or help their customers. Examples of uses include training programmes for staff, loyalty card apps for clients and electronic catalogues for recording stock. If you’re looking to develop your own business software, here are the steps you should take.
Research the market
Is there a real need for your software? Better still, is there already a programme out there than you can be adopting rather than building your own? These are the questions that you should be first asking yourself before developing software. Research online and read reviews of already existing software. Offer clients and customers a survey to find out if they think it would be an effective move to make.
Establish a budget
Developing software isn’t cheap – unless you’ve got the coding know-how to do it yourself, and even then you may have to hire team members and testers. Create a budget that you’re willing to spend. When you approach developers with your idea, you can then find out how feasible your idea is. Developers may be able to negotiate tweaks with you so that it meets your financial plan.
Design your software
It’s important to design your software before approaching developers or doing it yourself. Write down all the features you want and draw out how you’d like it to look. Look at other similar programmes to get ideas.
If you’re developing the programme yourself, you’ll need to assemble a team to help you (otherwise it could take a long time to build). Use management software and tools to make the process more organised and give your team more power – this guide What is DevOps? discusses the importance of giving your team ownership. You’ll also need to hire a testing team and get to grips with testing software.
If you’re paying a development team to do it for you, make sure that you keep in contact throughout the development process in case they need to discuss any issues or much needed tweaks along the way.
Putting your software to use
Once your programme is built and fully tested, it’s then time to put it into action. If the programme is for staff use, you’ll need to get to grips with it first and then ideally write up a guide on how to operate it so that your staff can then get trained up on it.
If the software is for clients, you’ll need to market it. Let all your existing clients know about it via email, over social media and in person. Keep promoting it so that all your clients use it and highlight how it will make their lives easier (a digital menu app for a takeaway restaurant might also give clients loyalty points that could make future meals cheaper).