A Complete Guide to Understanding Offshore Software Development
- What is offshore development?
- What is the difference between onshore, nearshore, and offshore?
- What makes offshoring software development so popular?
- How does offshore development work?
- What are the advantages of offshoring software development?
- What are the disadvantages of offshoring software development
- What are the latest trends in offshore software development?
- How to choose the right offshore software company?
- Best practices to follow while offshoring software development
- Final thoughts
What is offshore development?
Offshore development simply is synonymous with outsourcing. It means you’re sending your software development to be done remotely by people who are located in different geography. Though ‘offshoring’ is perceived as risky in ROI, many software companies are considering offshoring software development as it can actually help a lot. Often, the main reason for outsourcing is the lack of human resources required for software development or lack of needed qualification level.
From simple coding to custom development, mobile application development, software support and maintenance, and website design and development, you can outsource tasks to a third-party offshore software development company.
Offshoring development will spare you from the challenge of hiring and training new staff and at the same time ensure you get the best quality software delivered to you in a short time. Offshore application development is used by many of the world’s largest and most famous corporations, so there is no question about its effectiveness.
In 2019, the global IT outsourcing market was valued at USD 333.7 bn which is only expected to grow further in the coming years. The inevitability of digital transformation is motivating organizations worldwide to offshore their software development needs. Offshore development companies thus become an extremely important part of the global economy.
What is the difference between onshore, nearshore, and offshore?
Onshore: Onshore outsourcing is when you decide to hire software developers within your country. Most companies find this option convenient and approachable.
Nearshore: Nearshore outsourcing is when you decide to outsource to developers from countries with a similar time zone. Typically, customers count on geographic proximity and cultural similarities.
Offshore: Here, the company of the service provider is located in a different country from yours. It can even be in a different continent with a notable time zone difference.
What makes offshoring software development so popular?
The main reason for its popularity is financial profitability. With offshoring, it is possible to minimize staff expenses within the customer’s organization as well as cut expenses such as rent of premises, equipment, social security, and deployment of development. In many of the developed countries, hiring and paying skilled in-house developers have a significant impact on the budget.
Some of the popular offshore countries in the world include India, China, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Taiwan, Vietnam, S.Korea, etc.
On average, you can expect your offshore software development vendor to approximately charge the following rates per person per hour of work;
- Asia and Africa: $18-$40
- Eastern Europe: $25-$50
- Central America and South America: $30-$50
- North America: $95-$170
Depending on the requirements, engagement, and pricing models, the above charges may vary. To find out the actual outsourcing rates, you need to directly communicate with the vendor.
How does offshore development work?
When you consider teaming up with a software development company located in a different country, you can:
- Delegate the project to an individual developer or an offshore development company
- Delegate only certain parts of the software or the whole project to the remote team
- Hire a dedicated offshore development team
If you hire a dedicated team or an individual, you will have complete control and ownership over the development progress which ensures that your remote workers are in touch with one another. This may not be a great idea unless you are a product management enthusiast.
If you turn to the services of a development agency, you won’t have to worry about finding the right resource to manage the working processes. Most of the issues such as what if a team member falls sick or quits will be taken care of by the company instead.
What are the advantages of offshoring software development?
1. Shared responsibilities and competent skills
Offshore development companies are more likely to share and manage the risks during projects, as they depend on the end-result as well. Also, deadlines facilitate a faster process.
2. No training or administration needed
Outsourcing companies need to stay competitive, hence they will have the requisite expertise. So, you need not worry about training the resources. Additionally, operational and administration costs will be negligible as you will not have to take care of office space, equipment, recruiting, etc. All these will be handled by the offshore software development company.
3. Faster time-to-market
Offshoring development ensures that your product reaches the market faster and on time. When qualified people work round the clock to develop your product, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting quality software at the end. Additionally, an external person or team can help improve your business processes and let you leverage creativity and innovation at each stage of the software cycle.
4. Lower cost
There’s no denying that maintaining an in-house IT team having expertise in the latest technologies is both challenging as well as expensive. By outsourcing your software development, you do not have to invest in IT infrastructure or worry about recruiting and training employees.
What are the disadvantages of offshoring software development?
1. Differences in language and culture
Differences in language and work ethics, cultural issues, what’s offensive and what’s not, etc., could lead to unpleasant situations if not known beforehand. For instance, working hard could mean something different in Spain and the UK. So, you will need to be thorough about the culture of that particular country before offshoring.
2. Core communication issues
Different time zones, working hours, bandwidth, etc may slow down communication. This could even hinder monitoring and resolving everything timely. A clear interpretation of roles and mechanisms, strong leadership, and an active management of culture by adapting to either the customer’s or the vendor’s corporate culture is an effective way to manage cultural differences.
Data security is one of the biggest challenges faced by enterprises today. When offshoring your data, it’s important to validate the vendor’s trustworthiness and respectability w.r.t. ensuring data security. As a best practice, it’s recommended to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) or the confidentiality agreement between both parties (customer and offshore partner) which strengthens the confidentiality of data and relationship terms.
4. Quality of work
While offshoring may be cheaper, it does not assure the accurate skills or commitment to do the job. There’s always a chance of hiring a team with no proper skills. It’s important to conduct the vendor’s background check before outsourcing your requirements.
What are the latest trends in offshore software development?
Software development involves complex processes and is never an easy task. Developers and agencies have to embrace new technologies and trends to stay relevant and competitive.
Here are some of the latest trends in offshore software development:
Automation plays an important role in reducing human dependency, risks associated with manual labor, and costs. Apart from innovation and faster responses to changing business environments, technologies such as RPA contribute heavily to reducing administrative overheads.
2. Cloud computing
Cloud computing offers scalability and flexibility and plays a vital role in offshore software development. More and more companies are realizing the benefits and possibilities of cloud computing and leveraging it. Soon, cloud-based applications and cloud infrastructure will be the way of life in offshore software development enabling companies to address the growing needs of businesses across the globe.
3. Artificial Intelligence(AI)
AI is taking the world by storm and software development is no exception. AI is specifically used to improve the quality of code and testing as well. Developers can combine AI technologies such as natural language processing, machine learning and business rules to build better software in a short span of time.
How to choose the right offshore software company?
There are plenty of offshore software companies across the world and finding the right one can be a daunting task. While word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to ask for a reference and talk about the offshore team and ask important questions, there are still many other things to consider.
Firstly, groundwork is important. Finding the right offshore development company needs evaluation and time. One important tip is to contact several agencies and compare what they have to offer.
Along with checking the portfolios of software outsourcing companies, take your time to go through their social media handles, blogs, resources, endorsements, and codes if possible. You can even consider making a test run of a potential partner company related to technical requirements as it will help you make an informed decision.
Here are a few tips to choose the ideal offshore custom software development company:
- Visit the websites of several offshore development companies
- Check their portfolio and analyze their past and ongoing projects
- Understand the experience the company has in the industry you are interested in
- Learn the company rating on websites such as Goodfirms or Clutch
- Read reviews and testimonials from clients
- Learn about the professionalism of the programmers
- Learn how the company can support the applications if you develop any issues with the development
- Find out if the project development is iterative/ agile (that is, doing the work parallelly with continuous analysis of the results and adjustments in previous stages of work) or not
Best practices to follow while offshoring software development
- Get introduced to all the developers who are supposed to work on your project
- Make sure to have a full-time on-shore as well as an offshore team leads as they can establish necessary coding standards, help solve technical issues, and mentor the offshore team
- Use videoconferencing to arrange regular meetings to handle any issues and resolve the same in a timely and efficient manner
- Use appropriate tracking tools (project management tools) to plan tasks efficiently and prioritize work accordingly
The demand for offshoring software development keeps surging as organizations want to optimize their business processes and align their strategic planning with their operational strategies. Outsourcing your IT necessities can be a boon in times of financial and natural adversities because offshore development companies like Fingent implement business continuity planning and disaster recovery plans to fulfill obligations and deliver services without interruption.
Our specialists and developers have several years of experience to complete complex tasks. We have expertise in offshore application development, cloud application development, system integration, and more. Hire our services and discover the benefits of partnering with us! Talk to our expert to learn more.
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What are the different types of software applications in vogue today?
- Definition of Software
- System Software and Types of System Software
- Application Software and Types of Application Software
- Functions of an Application Software
- Future of Software
Software program(s) is to a computer what an orchestra conductor is to a symphony. They tell the computer what to do and how to do it in perfect harmony. A computer needs different types of software to perform various tasks ranging from the simplest of tasks like greeting us when we switch on the system to running complex gaming systems that require some serious programming skills. System software can bring in business benefits including, increased productivity, informed decision-making, more reliable data, improved data security, enhanced analysis, better customer service, and increased sales potential.
We have all come a long way from the computers of old that had just one software, which was installed onto individual machines from floppy disks and CD ROMs. We now have multiple categories of application software to suit every need and purpose. While that is wonderful, it also places before us an array of choices. You may be wondering which of these categories of software fulfills the needs of your business. To help you with this, here is a detailed guide by Fingent, a top software development company to understand the types of software and categories of application software.
Let us begin by understanding the definition of what software is.
Definition of Software
Software is any computer program that enables you to perform certain specific tasks on your computer. It directs the function of all the peripheral devices of the computer, including your mouse, hard drive, monitor, and keyboard, etc. Without software, it would be impossible to operate the hardware. A software comprises two major categories: system software and application software.
System Software and Types of System Software
System software is the interface, or the intermediary. It lets you communicate between the other software and the hardware. There are five types of system software. These are intended to control and coordinate the functions and procedures of computer hardware and, thus, streamline the interaction between software, hardware, and the user.
Types of system software:
- Operating system (OS): It is a system software kernel that is installed first on the computer to allow applications and devices to be identified and become functional. Being the first layer of software, it is loaded into memory each time a computer is powered up. Some types of operating systems are real-time OS, single-user and single-task OS, network OS, and mobile OS.
- Device drivers: These bring computer devices and peripherals to life. Device drivers connect components and external add-ons so that they can perform their intended tasks. Without the driver, the operating system would not assign any duties. The mouse, keyboard, speakers, and printer are a few examples of devices that need drivers to function.
- Firmware: It is the operational software embedded within a ROM, flash, or EPROM memory chip for the operating system to identify it. It manages and controls all the activities of a single hardware directly. Firmware can be upgraded easily without swapping semiconductor chips.
- Programming language translators: These are intermediate programs used to translate high-level language source code to machine language code. Popular language translators include assemblers, compilers, and interpreters. They may be used to perform complete translation of program codes or they may translate each instruction one at a time.
- Utilities: It is intended for diagnostic and maintenance tasks for the computer. Their tasks may range from crucial data security to disk drive defragmentation.
Application Software and Types of Application Software
Application software is a computer program that performs a specific function, be it educational, personal, or business. It is also known as an end-user program or a productivity program. You can think of system software as a cake and the application software as the frosting on top of it. It is the application software (frosting) that you, the user, get to see upfront when you are working with that software.
Each of the computer application software programs is developed to assist you with a particular process that may be related to creativity, productivity, or better communication. It helps you in completing your tasks, be it jotting down notes, completing your online research, setting an alarm, keeping an account log, and even playing games. Unlike system software, computer application software programs are specific in their functionality and do the job that they are designed to do. For instance, a browser is an application used specifically for browsing the Internet. Similarly, MS PowerPoint is an application designed specifically for making presentations. Application software is also termed as a non-essential software. As we saw in the analogy of a cake and its frosting, its requirement is subjective and its absence does not affect the functioning of the system. All the apps that we see on our smartphones are examples of application software.
Picking up the right application for personal or business use can improve function and efficiency. If you do not learn about your options, you may end up with something that does not benefit your business, which will cost you time and resources and affect your productivity. Knowing what types of application software are available to you will help you make an informed decision.
The application software list includes:
- Word processors
- Graphics software
- Database software
- Spreadsheet software
- Presentation software
- Web browsers
- Enterprise software
- Information worker software
- Multimedia software
- Education and reference software
- Content access software
The categories of application software you are required to use depends on your needs, some of which are detailed below:
1. Presentation software:
Presentation software enables you to put forth your thoughts and ideas with ease and with good clarity by using visual information. It lets you display the information in the form of slides. You can make your slide more informative and more engrossing by adding text, images, graphs, and videos. It has three components:
- Text editor to input and format text
- Insert graphics, text, video, and multimedia files
- Slideshow to display the information
2. Web browsers:
These software applications are used to browse the Internet enabling you to locate and retrieve data across the web. The most popular ones are Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.
3. Multimedia software:
This lets you create or record images, and create audio or video files. This software is extensively used in animation, graphics, image, and video editing. Popular examples are the VLC media player and Windows media player.
4. Education and reference software:
This application software, also termed as academic software, is specifically designed to facilitate the learning of a particular subject. Various kinds of tutorial software are included in this category. Some of these are JumpStart titles, MindPlay, and Kid Pix.
5. Graphics software:
Graphics software allows you to edit or make changes in visual data or images. It comprises illustration and picture editor software. Adobe Photoshop and PaintShop Pro are a few examples of graphics software.
6. Spreadsheet software:
Spreadsheet software is used to perform calculations. In this software, data is stored in a table format. The intersecting area, called cells, are separated to define fields such as text, date, time, and number. It allows users to provide formulas and functions to perform calculations. Microsoft Excel is one good example of spreadsheet software.
7. Database software:
Database software is used to create and manage a database. Also known as a DBMS (Database Management System), it helps you organize your data. So, when you run an application, data is fetched from the database, modified, and is stored back in the database. Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and IBM Db2 are some popular databases.
8. Word processing software:
It is used to format and manipulate text, thus, creating memos, letters, faxes, and documents. Word processing software is also used to format and beautify the text. It provides you a whole lot of features aside from thesaurus and synonyms and antonyms. Along with Word Art features, the font option lets you change font color, effect, and style as per your choice. Grammar and spell-check options are also available to check for errors.
9. Simulation software:
Simulation software is used in the fields of engineering, education, testing, and video games, etc. It is used where work on the actual system is unacceptable, inaccessible, or maybe dangerous. It is a program that lets you study or observe an operation, or phenomenon through simulation without actually doing that operation. The best examples of the simulation are in the field of robotics, flight systems, and weather forecast, etc.
Apart from these, there are several others in the category of application software that serve specific purposes.
However, application software can also be classified based on their shareability and availability. Some such categories are:
As the very name indicates, it is available free of cost. You can download it from the Internet and use it without any fee. However, this software does not allow you to modify it or charge a fee for distributing it. Adobe Reader and Skype are good examples of this software.
This is distributed freely to the users on a trial basis, usually with a limited time offer. The users are expected to pay if they want to continue to use the software. Some examples of shareware are WinZip and Adobe Acrobat.
12. Open source:
This type of software is available along with the source code that allows you to modify the software, and even add features to the software. These could either be free or paid. Moodle and Apache Web Server are some examples.
13. Closed source:
Most of the software packages that you use belong to this category. These are usually chargeable and have intellectual property rights or patents over the source code. It usually comes with restricted use.
Functions of an Application Software
Application software programs are designed to facilitate a large number of functions. Some of these include managing information, constructing visuals, manipulating data, coordinating resources, and calculating figures.
Future of Software
The world is becoming increasingly computerized. With that growth, different types of application software will continue to evolve. Several software applications are being created as it is a great financial option for the users as well as the creators. The demand for custom software development, tailored to the requirements of a business is increasing now more than ever before. From simple customizations to full-cycle software development, Fingent helps address all your specific business requirements, leveraging our software development capabilities.
If you have further questions or want to get started on choosing and implementing the right software for your business, give us a call and we will help you get there.
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Why your business needs to adopt headless CMS architecture
70% of companies are actively investing in content marketing and almost 60% of marketers rate content marketing as extremely important or very important to their marketing strategy, states HubSpot. Modern customer behavior is driving up the demand for a more flexible, customizable, and scalable CMS that is adept to deliver the experience your customers expect. When compared to traditional CMS, Headless CMS enables organizations to speed up delivery times while iterating quicker. This blog walks you through seven specific business benefits of headless CMS. Let’s begin by understanding what headless CMS is.
What is meant by Headless CMS?
A headless CMS allows us to edit CMS and database without an integrated presentation layer. The integrated presentation layer, which is referred to as a ‘head’, restricts the use of content only to one particular channel such as a website. Once CMS is severed from the head, it could be used across various other platforms such as a mobile, tablet, and smart devices, making it ideal for the current business scenario.
7 Business Benefits of Adopting a Headless CMS
1. More flexible
Since headless CMS is API driven, it allows you to build your own head or a presentation layer/ frontend. Besides enjoying the ability to pick your programming language, your developers can develop the website without having to conform to any proprietary development constraints. A single piece of content can be reused or combined with various other presentation outputs enabling faster project completions.
A headless CMS allows secure and easy integration with any of your existing business systems. Additionally, since it does not have a fixed structure to code, your developers are at liberty to code for any type of integration. This gives them the flexibility to integrate with more complex systems.
For example, Sanity.io is a popular headless CMS that allows you to embed editable data in running text and cache multiple queries on a single request. It also provides real-time collaboration, content versioning, and live previewing.
2. Supports Omnichannel Selling
For marketers to provide a customer-pleasing experience, each channel used by the business would require access to the current product information and availability. It can be quite a challenge to create iconic content that shines across all touchpoints. Instead, a headless CMS provides the capability to orchestrate a seamless experience across all touchpoints while maintaining consistency and relevance. For instance, Sitefinity empowers brands to deliver a personalized experience across channels.
3. Headless CMS is Future-Proof
A headless CMS enables businesses to future-proof their applications by separating the presentation layer from the data and logic layer. You can structure your content to facilitate future-proofing for new projects. Also, you would not be required to make any technical changes when re-branding one or more channels. Sitecore is a leading headless CMS that offers enterprise-class search and content targeting to boost personalization efforts, among other things.
It is a lot cheaper for your business team to create a new functionality because headless CMS requires little technical involvement. For example, if your marketing department chooses to create a new series of product mini-sites, they do not have to depend on developers to build CMS-based templates. Instead, the marketing team can directly go to the CMS and start creating the mini-sites as and when required, reducing your up-front costs. Kentico CMS, for instance, comes with tailored custom pricing. Websites of popular brands like Sony and Starbucks are powered by Kentico.
5. Offers Better Software Architecture
A headless CMS is architected to decouple CMS platforms and published content. This strengthens security because access to the CMS is restructured internally within the organization. It increases scalability simply by spinning up a new app server and pointing it to the content. It remains available against all odds because even when the CMS application goes offline, web applications will not have an impact. Episerver, the leading WCM platform supports editors to drag-and-drop content to create new digital experiences quickly.
6. Allows you to do more with less
Organizations will no longer need large teams of specialists with particular CMS knowledge, unlike the requirements for a traditional CMS.
7. Lets You Focus on Your Business
Worrying about your CMS can be time-consuming and distracting. A traditional CMS structure can take your attention away from growing your business. Whereas Headless CMS allows you to use your precious time and resources to grow your business. Being a multi-tenant system, it is fully managed and upgraded for you.
A Step Forward
Apart from these, there are several other reasons why businesses must consider a headless CMS. The important aspect to consider is how you want to manage and store content for products and articles. This can have an impact on websites, application performance, and conversions. Hence, as marketers, it’s time to take a step beyond traditional CMS.
If you’re considering a headless CMS to improve your digital content experience, send us a message immediately.
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Top 5 benefits of outsourcing software development services
Software development outsourcing is empowering companies worldwide, including the most successful ones across their journeys. Leading players like Google, WhatsApp, Slack, and Microsoft have ample stories to share on their victorious feats with outsourcing development.
A study by Technavio reveals that the global IT outsourcing market will flourish at a CAGR of 5% during the period 2020-2024. The demand for outsourcing software development services keeps surging as organizations want to optimize their business processes and align their strategic planning with their operational strategies.
Outsourcing your IT necessities can be a boon in times of financial and natural adversities because outsourcing companies like Fingent implement business continuity planning and disaster recovery plans to fulfill obligations and deliver services without interruption.
If your company’s growth is dependent on software, and if you cannot afford your in-house IT team to divert from their core operations, it’s high time to outsource your software development needs.
Why software outsourcing is good for your business?
Facts and testimonies speak the truth!
More and more businesses today are relying on software outsourcing companies to develop their projects. Working with an outsourcing company will help you mitigate the risks of running a project internally. Outsourcing can compensate for a lack of in-house skills and ensures that your product is delivered on time.
At Fingent, we specialize as an offshore software development company. Many of our customers have shared their outsourcing success stories with us. A .NET based SaaS platform developed by Fingent has played a great role in the growth of the property management undertaking – SimpleRent. Here’s what SimpleRent’s founder told us.
PwC, one of our prominent customers, reports an 80% increase in productivity and a 67% faster ticket resolution rate after Fingent helped them implement a smart ticketing system. Thanks to outsourcing!
As an outsourcing development company, here are a few reasons why we think outsourcing makes your business more efficient and smarter.
1. Access to the finest talent and latest technology
Software development outsourcing helps in finding the right talents and minimizing your human-resource problems. If your country has a limited talent pool, outsourcing gives you access to a wider talent pool available anywhere on the globe.
Technology keeps evolving every day and your business needs to take advantage of its benefits. With outsourcing, you will gain access to new and innovative perspectives and an opportunity to utilize strong and diverse technology expertise.
2. Outsourcing cuts down your costs
The biggest benefit of offshore software development undoubtedly is the cost savings. Outsourcing software development companies do not necessarily demand you to make any upfront investments. By contracting work to other companies, you can cut down 70-90% of your labor costs, all while paying your outsourced workforce at competent rates. The cost advantages make your development project more attractive and reduce your overall workload.
Adopting a cost-effective engagement model is crucial to the success of outsourcing. We help you choose the right engagement model essential for the creation of your state-of-the-art product.
3. Improved flexibility and time management
When you outsource your work, you don’t have to spend time hiring and training resources. At Fingent, we take care of all the change requirements even when the project sizes vary or resource-related demands scale up.
Outsourcing software development services accelerate your time-to-market. With people working around the clock, your competitiveness improves greatly and gives you an edge over your competitors.
4. Take your business to the next level with a focused strategy
To win the technological race, you need to have a focused strategy. Every business needs to align its operational strategy with the changing people, process, and technology. When your software is developed by an outsourcing company, your business processes will be highly streamlined and optimized, allowing you to focus on the core activities that will take your business to the next level.
5. Managing risks and compliance
Partnering with a software outsourcing company like Fingent enables you to mitigate the risks associated with handling your project. We follow a high-quality project management system that has been tried, tested and proven across our past as well as ongoing projects.
While outsourcing your software development needs, you are setting out to work with a global talent pool. We take care of all the legal compliance-related matters that have to be fulfilled while onboarding offshore resources as well as forging contracts with our clients. This lets you focus on other things that matter.
Related Reading: The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Mobile App Development
Ready to outsource your software development needs?
From resource hiring and onboarding to management training and payroll software, several functions can be outsourced by a company. In the age of globalization and technological competition, software development outsourcing is the key to your success. Share your queries and concerns about outsourcing with us. Our consultants can walk you through the best and most affordable solution that works for you.
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Fingent Stamps its authority as a leading CodeIgniter developer of February 2020.
When talent is met with persistence and skill, it reaps out rich results. Fingent keeps this mantra in focus and works tirelessly in giving the best possible CodeIgniter solutions to the clients. Our efforts have been appreciated by TopDevelopers.co, as in their recently done press release of top CodeIgniter Developers they have ranked Fingent amongst the leading developers for February 2020.
CodeIgnitor is a framework based on PHP. The CodeIgniter framework includes libraries and drivers that help build websites much easier and faster. Fingent excels in this technology and empowers businesses with CodeIgniter solutions to make procedures smarter and achieve a competitive edge.
Fingent was established in the year 2003 with the core objective to provide customized software solutions that solve complex business challenges. We have been front runners in catering CodeIgniter development services and have an active client base in more than 14 countries in the past 17 years.
In an interview with TopDevelopers.co, Deepu Prakash – Senior Vice President Process and Technology, Fingent, emphasized on maintaining top level client satisfaction technique and why it is important to shape the culture in the company. “We are highly proficient in providing cloud computing, Hybrid app development, Digital Transformation, IoT services and much more apart from providing top class CodeIgniter development services.”
Our elite clientele includes market leaders such as Sony, PwC, Johnson and Johnson, NEC, and many more. Our skilled app and web developers have experience in providing services in more than 20 different industry verticals. We have also proven our excellence in offering great software solutions for businesses, which lists us among the renowned web development companies.
We have a dedicated research and development team to analyze products based on the market trend and the targeted audience. The dedicated team enables us to give an extra edge to our clients that allow them to thrive and relish the cut-throat market scenario.
Visit Fingent’s profile on TopDevelopers.co and understand our procedure of work, areas of focus, industry focus, client feedback, and service updates in detail. Or directly get in touch with our experts to know how we can help you solve complex business challenges with the right technology.
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Find Business Success with Agile Software Development Methodologies
Agile software development methodologies have proven their mettle in recent years and “agile” is becoming a buzz word in software development and project management. It makes sense, therefore, to understand what drives the success of these methodologies and consider if your business could benefit from implementing it.
What is the Agile Software Development Methodology?
Agile Development works on the principles of iteration and incremental development. It does not rely on a linear method approach but focuses on rapid delivery of fully functional application components. The focus is not on tasks, but on time phases called “sprints.” These sprints are of specific duration and begin with a detailed plan of what is to be delivered at the end of a sprint. Continuous testing, feedback, and improvement are vital aspects of the agile methodology.
At the heart of the agile methodology is its focus on individuals and interactions rather than processes and tools. Rather than focusing on comprehensive documentation to prove a project’s worth, the primary measure of progress in agile methodology is delivering working, tested software. This serves as a basis for collaboration between teams and customers, gaining feedback and swiftly responding to change. Value-driven development is given prime importance with the focus on delivering visible results and business value continuously. This way, stakeholders and projects have complete visibility on where the project stands and the business value they can expect at any given point of the project.
Scrum is an important aspect of the agile methodology and deserves a mention in the context of discussing agile methodologies. Using the principles of agile methodology, Scrum advocates a self-organizing and cross-functional team. The Scrum method is supported by two specific roles – the Scrum Master (who acts as the coach to direct teams towards agility and high performance) and the Product Owner (who helps the team build the right product and represents the company and end users).
Why Agile Methodology Trumps Traditional Development Methods
There are many reasons why Agile Methodology is being favored over traditional methods worldwide. We have listed out a few:
Faster and Better Workflow:
Agile Methodology is completely different from traditional Waterfall Methodologies, where projects follow a linear approach and progress from one step to another only after the previous step is completed. The traditional time-consuming method of relying on comprehensive documentation and analysis before the design and commencement of the project is eliminated.
Implementation and development begin almost immediately in agile development and the processes and development is refined in increments based on continuous feedback from customers and project teams. This also cuts out the verification and maintenance stage in the Waterfall Method, where the end product is tested, bugs are fixed, and the code is maintained. In the agile method, this testing and bug fixing is already being done continuously throughout the project, ensuring that the final product is refined and ready to be deployed.
Multilevel and continuous planning:
The absence of detailed analysis before implementation in agile methodology does not mean that the project is initiated without any substantial planning. On the contrary, multi-level and continuous planning is a vital feature of the agile development methodology. The planning follows a just-in-time approach, which aligns the information available with what details are necessary at the time.
The planning usually happens on at least two levels – the release level and the iteration level. At the release level, planning involves identifying and prioritizing the necessary features required in the software. This gives a basis to decide which features must be worked on first. Planning at the iteration level involves which features must be implemented next and the optimal size of batches which can be practically delivered in a single iteration.
The most important feature of agile methodologies is that it places the customer at the center of the development process. Teams are directed to think of product design through user stories and use cases, which ensures that customers are always kept at the heart of the process. User stories specify the needs of the end users and the various scenarios that they will use to fulfill that need.
Use cases show how the product developed will help end users achieve the outcome they want in the user story. In this way, the whole development process becomes focussed on what the customer needs. This is the foundation of Customer Experience (CX), which is fast becoming the defining success factor for companies today.
Business Success with Agile Software Development Methodologies
Businesses the world over are embracing and implementing agile methodologies in their efforts to improve their project management capabilities and improve performance. The 9th Global Project Management Survey, which surveyed 3,234 project management professionals from all over the world attests to this fact.
According to the survey, 71% of organizations use Agile approaches in their business. “We believe that agility could also be used in multiple ways— in everything we do,” says Phillippe Husser, a survey respondent and Senior Partner of Progress Direction Michelin. “In fact, the world is changing very quickly around us, so much so that we cannot afford anymore to have projects taking two to five years to deliver, because, during this time, the initial requirements have changed.”
Case in Point: Ericsson
Ericsson is a leading provider of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to service providers and covers 40% of the world’s mobile phone traffic. The company with around 100,000 employees is a classic case in point to show the successful implementation of agile methodologies even in large-sized companies.
The company used to use a plan-driven software process but switched to agile in 2012. One of their main areas of focus was to develop a XaaS platform and services that the customers would use as a service. The results have been phenomenal.
Steve Dennings, an expert on agile methodology and author of The Age of Agile, summarizes the success points of Ericsson’s adoption of agile methodologies this way: “Now with Agile management, Ericsson has over 100 small teams working with its customers’ needs in three-week cycles. The result is faster development that is more relevant to the specific needs of the customers. The client gets value sooner. Ericsson has less work in progress. And Ericsson is deploying one to two years earlier than it otherwise would so that its revenue comes in one to two years earlier.”
Find Success with Agile Software Development
Agile development and methodology is an integral part of Fingent Technologies and creating agile software products for different industry sectors such as healthcare, finance, education, entertainment and media, real estate and retail amongst others. Get in touch with us so we can discuss how you can get effective in your agile journey and find success.
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The importance of security can never be understated in today’s age of big-time security breaches, where cyber-criminals strike at will. However, the enterprise app development team needs to make sure that the security does not impede usability, or in other words, security is not self-defeating.
Most apps and solutions tap into the corporate database and handle sensitive data, including personally identifiable information. The implications of a breach can be ruinous and even sound the death-knell of the company. However, at the same time, today’s demanding workforce and highly pampered customers seek intuitive and easy-to-use apps. Customer satisfaction is critical to the survival of the app.
The conventional approach to security is akin to adding more number of locks to the door of a house. While it makes it difficult for thieves to penetrate such a house, it also makes it difficult for the occupants themselves to enter. In the digital world, forced to log in every time, forced to log in first into the device, then log into the software, and then enter a transaction password, being forced to change all these passwords once every two weeks, being said the password is not long enough or was used previously, and more, all strengthen security, but are major irritants and impede usability greatly.
Here are some ways to balance the security-usability conundrum, or ensure security does not end-up self-defeating the very purpose of the app.
Implement Security by Design
The best approach to security is “security by design” or co-opting security during the development process itself.
When security is embedded into the planning, design and implementation phases, developers may code with security in mind, use secure frameworks, and co-opt security testing a part of the app development process.
Adding security layers at a later stage makes the entire process awkward, and hinders usability. Often tweaks have to be affected, and well-written code redone. The analogy is to manufacturing a door with a single tamper-proof deadbolt lock built-in, as opposed to adding multiple locks after the door is installed, to get the same strength.
Collaborate with all Stakeholders
App developers need to collaborate with security experts and business managers, to assess the security risks and determine the best solutions to solve underlying security issues.
If bringing the security and development team together is a challenge, establishing common ground is an even bigger challenge. Developers seek to make things as easy as possible for their customers or users. The security team remains obsessed with the safety of data, often with the attitude if someone has to wait a few extra seconds to access the data, so be it. They remain oblivious to the implications of the harried customer moving on elsewhere rather than wait or put up with a convoluted system. Google usability studies reveal even a tenth of a second delay in an app’s performance adversely affects the user experience.
A collaborative team effort, where every stakeholder is part of the prototype, design, and testing tasks make finding a common ground and workarounds easy. For instance, with a security team in the mix, developers will no longer have to figure how to securely connect to the enterprise every time they build an app. Inputs from the security team would help them build a secure connection, VPN or otherwise, which may even be reused for other apps. In the same way, security could design a secure way for users to log into these apps.
Opt for Hardware-Based Authentication
Developments in hardware technology offer an effective antidote to security vulnerabilities, without having to compromise on usability. A case in point is Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner and compatible Android systems. By deploying such hardware-based security and authentication, users do not have to wrestle with irritating passwords, and developers are spared the cumbersome work in securing data and authenticating users through the application code. It also leads to faster development lifecycle and a much cleaner code.
Limit Availability of Sensitive Data
If data is not there to be stolen, it won’t be stolen.
Businesses would do well to reconsider their business model and limit the availability of data online only to the minimal extent required. Hypersensitive data may be stored in impregnable silos, using military grade authentication, quite contrary to the much-touted logic of eradicating silos to facilitate big data analytics. Only the data required for analytics may be released, on a need-basis.
Developers could also make use of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). SIEM collects security log events from numerous hosts connected to the enterprise servers, to identify normal patterns. An abnormal usage pattern triggers alerts, and even lockdowns, safeguarding the data. At the same time, normal, routine usage is allowed unobtrusively. The challenge lies in the complexity of configuring the SIEM.
Leverage the Power of Simplicity
Leverage the power of simplicity. Simple apps, with a minimalist design, and lean coding are not just easy on the users but contain lesser vulnerabilities. Such a set-up also minimize the chance of users doing anything to compromise security. A case in point is Amsterdam-based Usabilla putting in the minimal security necessary, and nothing more for its consumer feedback service. The simplifying services and features encouraged users to follow the right path rather than take actions having potential security implications.
Hire Competent Developers
Often skills gaps, poor planning and poor understanding of the business model by the developer aggravates the usability-security conundrum. Hiring competent enterprise app developers, who have considerable experience and exposure to the business, who are able to work closely with business managers, and who are able to deploy the best tools and techniques of the trade, is the key to develop highly intuitive apps, which are highly secure at the same time.
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In today’s age of hyper-competition, businesses need to focus their systems on the customer. A critical area of focus is business software. Much of business software hitherto focused on internal efficiency. However, competitive pressure mandate a realign, with the focus on the customer, and specifically customer support.
Businesses Need to Roll Out Mobile Solutions
Nowadays, the basic support for customer commerce is through customer-facing mobile apps. About 80% of shoppers use their mobile phones for product reviews, to compare prices, and find store locations. A good chunk of these customers completes the purchase process online as well. About 54% of Millennials and 49% of Non-Millennials prefer shopping online. Businesses need to roll out customer-facing mobile apps and responsive websites, to facilitate e-commerce and other customer interactions.
The Rise of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
E-commerce websites offer a world of convenience to the customer. It brings the shopping experience anywhere, from home to office, and from the boardroom to the bathroom. However, such convenience comes without the “touch-and-feel” experience of physical stores. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (VTR) technologies bridge the shortcoming and offer the best of both worlds.
Cases of retailers supporting customer commerce through VR and AR-based software abound.
- Swedish furniture giant IKEA’s VR app allows customers to view different kitchen decors. Customers can walk around IKEA kitchens virtually, using a VR headset and app.
- Sephora’s app allows users to take selfies and apply the brand’s cosmetic products to their images. Customers can get conclusive proof of whether a shade of lipstick will look good on them, rather than debate endlessly or speculate.
Artificial Intelligence Systems Facilitate Personalization
Personalization is the order of the day.
Most businesses already use Google Analytics tool to segment customers. They target segmented groups with different discounts and deals. Marketers also use various other predictive analytics tools to analyze historical data. Advanced solutions deliver accurate predictions about demand. Enterprises could focus their efforts on products having the greatest potential for profits.
However, such a superficial approach will undergo a sea-change by 2018. More-and-more shoppers now leverage Artificial Intelligence, to source products, bargain prices, and pick up products. As a case in point, connected smart fridges detect when the stock of milk becomes low, and trigger an automatic reorder with a linked e-commerce store. Enterprises who can roll out business software to align with such smart systems, and leverage “A-Commerce” or Artificial Intelligence-based commerce, stands to gain big.
Adaptive Design Comes Centrestage
Customers’ needs are never set in stone. Smart businesses keep track of changing customer preferences and the underlying influencers of such change. Business software which connects with potential clients on a personal level, in real-time, is central to such efforts.
Use-cases abound for businesses leveraging technology, to adapting its products and services to serve real-time customer needs.
- Curve, a credit card company allows customers to switch cards even after completing the purchase. An executive purchasing a computer for the company with his personal card, to take advantage of a bargain, could later change the billing to the company card, after getting authorization.
- KLM’s new clip, attached to the traveler’s bag, offers real-time directions, suggestions, and alternatives. For instance, when a user is stuck in a long line at the Eiffel Tower, the clip suggests the nearby hot-air balloon at Parc André Citroën. The clip also directs users to specific in-house services, stealing customers away from the competition.
- Tesla recently increased the range of its electric vehicles for customers struck in places affected by Hurricane Irma. Range limitations in Tesla’s vehicles meant owners couldn’t evacuate the area.
Virtual Companions Become Mainstream
Most smart businesses now empower their workforce, especially support agents with virtual assistants. Such virtual assistants automate daily tasks in ways CRM can never enable.
Virtual assistants offer agents deep real-time insights on information hidden inside the company databases and other systems. Locating such information manually is a time-consuming task, in the absence of clear-cut information on where such information resides. The obvious benefit is a speedier resolution of consumer issues, leading to improved customer satisfaction and accelerated sales cycles.
Virtual assistants also take the shape of chatbots, replacing the manual assistant altogether. Technology has evolved considerably on this front, and businesses are co-opting it in a big way. In 2018, even the most basic bots will become more interactive than Siri and Alexia of today.
AI infused bots learn from users, to offer highly relevant insight and suggestions. It could open the database and pry a solution even before a manual agent has the chance to comprehend the question. Further, the technology to make bots understand emotional intelligence has arrived. Such Emotional Intelligence capable bots would know how exactly to respond to a frustrated customer. Going forward, bots would handle most normal queries, leaving human agents only with long-tail and complicated queries.
Social Media Rises in Importance
Social media caught on big-time, with estimates suggesting a 394% increase in social media use in recent years. The widespread popularity is mainly on account of the transparency, the social media delivers. The best businesses leverage such transparency to further their business model.
Traditionally, businesses had complete control over their products and services. The business model essentially boiled down to a “take-it-or-leave-it” approach. The transparency infused by social media has changed the power equations. Customers now have unprecedented choice and ability to gather real feedback from real users of any product or service. If something goes wrong, rest assured everyone will come to know about it.
Smart companies cope with such change by giving more power to its customers. They listen to the customer eagerly and align their business software to take feedback. This ensures that the business and the customer work together, for mutual benefit. Businesses roll out more collaborative systems and link it to their key product development and management channels.
Enterprises need not always go in search of new technologies. What is important is the way in which any technology, new or old is applied. Any business today needs to adapt and change its services and products to meet the changing needs of the customers. Customer focused business software is a major enabler in this direction.
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The importance of software has never been so evident than in the present times. Not only do critical enterprise systems now run almost entirely on software, but mobile apps and other digital touch points powered by software are being used increasingly to deliver efficiency, make work easy, unlock new possibilities, facilitate the customer, and improve customer satisfaction.
Off the Shelf Software
Catering to the trend of software dominance, several vendors offer ready-made software and applications, for just about all processes and functions. Enterprises or users simply need to purchase such software off-the-shelf, fill in fields or go through a setup wizard and hit the ground running. Such ready-to-use ERP suites, CRM suites, collaboration systems, and even e-commerce portals where the company can upload products are commonplace. With the spread of cloud computing, several providers offer intuitive ready-made cloud-based pay-as-you-go-solutions.
However, what such software offers in ease and speed, it restricts in flexibility and functionality. Very often, the benefits of such ready-to-use software are superficial; to the extent, the very purpose of installing software may not be realized. In the extreme case, installing such software may leave critical gaps to key processes or the customer engagement, making such installation counterproductive.
Custom software is tailor made, or specifically designed for the enterprise, keeping specific functionality in mind. It offers several advantages over ready-to-use software.
Custom software, being developed specifically for the enterprise, is not a hodgepodge of some general functionality. It accommodates not just the specific functionality, but also any particular preferences and expectations required in the suite or app.
Custom software may be developed in iterative processes, factoring in all nuances and hidden risks, with the scope to include functionality or tasks not mentioned in the original requirement specifications. The latter is critical in today’s highly fluid business environment where change takes place very fast.
There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all in any enterprise. Every business is structured and managed in its own unique way, and custom software is best placed to cater to such uniqueness. Custom software development enables fitting the software to the business model. It does require adjusting the business model to the software flow, and in the process risk productivity, effectiveness and even the vitality of the business.
The adoption of custom software is highest among large enterprises
Enterprises use custom software for most of their functions, including content management, inventory management, customer management, human resource management, and more. The odds are most of the key enterprise level software, such as CRM, ERP, and more being custom developed. The custom software helps in effective integration across key systems, enables seamless capture of data for big data analytics, facilitates compliance and other external transactions easy, and overall equip the enterprise to respond to events and situations in a proactive way.
The challenges of adopting custom software for small and medium size business
For all the benefits, custom software offers, it is pricey. There are also the delays associated with getting the custom software up and running. However, this is not a universal rule. Instances of enterprises ending up paying more for unnecessary features and functionality are all-too-commonplace. With custom software, the enterprise pays for leveraging technology only to the extent they need.
Enterprises would do well to consider the total lifecycle costs and the net value on offer. Custom solutions save money by ensuring improved efficiency in the long term. While off-the-shelf software may come at a lower upfront price, investment in custom software would reap rewards on a sustained basis throughout the lifecycle of the software, in terms of improved efficiency, better productivity, better sales, or whatever else the software seeks to achieve. Custom software being fully optimized for its objectives would enable doing the thing in a much better way than generic off-the-counter software.
Custom software enables the enterprises to become more nimble. For example, in the case of bugs, the Enterprise could get to fix it right away, rather than wait for the next round of update to come, which may be months away. With ready-made software, the enterprise takes a big risk living with vulnerabilities. Small and medium enterprises can strike a person rapport with the developer, ensuring a transparent flow of information between the enterprise and the development partner, enabling tweaks as part of regular maintenance, without obstructing normal business.
Optimizing business processes to be lean and seamless through custom software delivers several spins off benefits as well, transforming the entire organization. Having a highly functional customized software helps the enterprise have a greater level of control over all operations, and also take control of the growth process, which can often be chaotic. A digital driven enterprise enables a culture shift to a more open and proactive enterprise, seen as key to success in today’s highly challenging economy.
Start-ups are basing their entire business model on custom software
Start-ups face the same time and cost constraints of small and medium enterprises, and they may not yet have a viable business model to consider investment worth its while. However, in today’s tech-centric age, start-ups have the potential to base their entire business model on the custom software itself, as several households names from Uber to Travago, and from Zomato to Lyft, and more.
Start-ups would do well to invest in scalable custom software and reap the benefits of highly lean and optimized systems from the word go, without being disrupted by a change that entrenches companies to digitalize their systems. The easiest way for startups to leverage the latest technology is through developing custom software for the process.
The positive impact of custom software realizes most when the software is well developed, fulfilling enterprise requirements well, at the same time being flexible enough to suit the exigencies of the business. Well-designed and well-implemented custom software enables the enterprise to become more flexible. Considering the importance of the development, the task is best outsourced to a professional agency, for whom the task is a core activity.