Software development is very much an iterative process. Things change and plans don’t always go as expected. Agility is crucial for staying afloat in a fast-growing industry, but changing plans and venturing into uncharted waters doesn’t come without risks.
Let’s say you decide to make a system-wide change and migrate from on-premise to cloud or from monolithic architecture to microservices. Still, your software team is specialized in on-premise and monolithic systems. What do you do?
One way to bridge knowledge gaps and achieve goals quickly and successfully is to bring in experts who have seen it all. This is where software development consulting comes into play.
What is software consulting?
Software consulting is a B2B service focused on providing solutions to the clients’ problems in the IT sector. With the expertise and the know-how of experienced software consultants, companies can get help in any area of their business related to software development and technology.
What does a software consultant do?
Software consultants can analyze a business as a whole and offer solutions with the most significant impact to improve internal or external processes and achieve better results. Services can range from analyzing existing processes, designing solutions to address bottlenecks, and bridging the skills gap, to actually implementing these solutions.
Why do companies hire consultants?
Software consulting services aren’t on the rise for no reason. There are many possible scenarios where a company may require such services:
1- Accessing expertise on a topic
The first and most obvious reason why someone would opt in for consulting services is that they lack the knowledge on a specific topic to enable them to succeed.
This means software consulting services can have an extensive range. Depending on your needs, it can be knowledge transfer of a particular system design, methodology, team structure, process, or skills. It could also be focused on designing a solution and providing a roadmap for further development or changes.
2- Get an unbiased and realistic analysis
When your team is deeply invested in a product and making it work, it may be easier to miss the bigger picture. Many companies rely on outside experts to test and evaluate their systems to give an unbiased perspective. Getting a clear understanding of the problems and the current state is essential for planning what needs to be done going forward.
3- Process optimization
In the post Industry 4.0 world, the need to modernize your systems is inevitable. Many successful companies have had to change how they do things to stay relevant at the top of the list.
If you want to change how you do things but don’t know how, a software consulting company can help introduce new processes or optimize existing ones. We helped clients optimize their agile cycles, release processes, QA and testing strategies, as well as restructuring their engineering teams to solve bottlenecks during the collaboration.
4- Modernize existing systems
Innovation outsourcing is one of the most common types of consulting because modernizing existing systems requires doing things differently than you did so far, and inherently you need people who know how to do those things differently.
If you are stuck with an old tech stack or platform and can’t see how you can introduce system-level changes, there are people who specialize in doing just that. . Hire software development consultants to pinpoint the interdependencies, decouple them, and thus find modern alternatives to your infrastructure and tech stack.
5- Get help with the initial design
During the initial stages of your SDLC, it might be useful to get an expert opinion on what the ideal architecture and infrastructure should look like. There are software development consultants with years of experience, who have an excellent overview of what goes into scalable, modern systems. This initial investment can save you a lot of time and resources if you realize that you need to make huge changes in your system because you didn’t foresee what might happen five years down the road.
6- Build an MVP or PoC
Before hiring and deploying an entire team, it might be wise to have software experts build an MVP or proof of concept so that you can test your idea with lower barriers to entry. Without having to deal with recruitment, hiring, onboarding etc., you can go to market faster and gain insights on whether it makes sense to invest in this initiative.
Software Consulting Process
There are certain steps that a trustworthy software consulting company should implement to make sure they set their clients up for maximum return on their investment. As we have consulted many tech companies over the years, we noticed that certain steps are crucial for a successful collaboration.
So, what should a trusted software consulting partner do?
1- Understand your problems and needs
A good software consulting company should spend time getting to know you, your business model and goals, your technical infrastructure, etc. They will spend extra time getting to the root of your problems and figuring out how they may affect your overall output.
At Zartis, we like to start the process with a couple of exploratory meetings. First, we arrange an in-depth meeting with business team members and all the stakeholders (CEO, CTO, COO, PMs etc.). It is important to understand what business challenges you are trying to solve before we translate those into software solutions. Then we arrange a meeting with technical team members, who are dealing with and working around these issues on a daily basis.
Every consulting case is unique to the problems and needs of our clients. Therefore, we try to set a number of workshops focusing on each area of improvement, where we can dig deeper into each issue and pinpoint the source. If you need help across Cloud, DevOps, and QA processes, we’d organize separate workshops for each and try to understand the problems within those domains.
2- Set up ongoing communication
If there is going to be a real understanding of your company’s problems and needs, there must be regular touch points between your internal team members and the consulting firm. You should be asked to designate a certain team member or group to work closely with the consultants and ensure everyone is on the same page at all times.
At Zartis, every project has a designated Tech Coordinator. We hold brief daily meetings with the designated team members of the client team. Additionally, we arrange a weekly meeting with the wider team including business stakeholders. We strictly follow this agenda until we deliver a To-Be report and make sure that the progress is aligned daily.
3- Deliver a realistic analysis
After all the exploration is done, you should be presented with a precise analysis of your current situation, with all the problems and bottlenecks identified. A thorough analysis should also include performance metrics, evaluate outcomes, and identify problems that are lowering the ROI.
Data is the new gold and we are after the best. To deliver a realistic analysis, it is very important to do a thorough job during the exploration stage. In our company, we use the insights from the exploratory workshops & daily meetings to paint a clear picture of your situation (As-Is). The more data entry points we have, the closer you come to getting a perfectly fitting solution.
4- Deliver solutions & a roadmap
This is the step where you start getting tangible suggestions and actionable intel on how you can solve your problems. A good consulting firm won’t hold back on sharing very detailed solutions and implementation plans.
Our goal at Zartis is to empower and enable our clients to achieve their goals themselves. We devise and deliver a very detailed plan, with clear steps to follow and actions to take, so that you can enable knowledge transfer & make your team more self-sufficient.
5- Ongoing support
In an ideal world, you would probably transfer knowledge from your consultants to your team and achieve sustainability in-house. However, you may also require your consultants’ skills and hands-on experience to implement suggested plans and get to where you need to be quickly. . Strong development consultants should not only be able to design a system, but also be able to actualize it.
We believe that there can be no real understanding of how a system should be designed to function in a certain way, without having built many systems alike. We have been in the business of developing software for our clients for a long time now, with 50+ dedicated team members working full time across client projects.
Software Consulting at Zartis
Zartis ranks among the top software development consulting firms providing high-quality software solutions and experiences across UX, Frontend, Backend Development, DevOps, Data Science & Engineering, Quality Assurance, Mobile Development, and more. To get a clearer picture of working with us, check out the Dropp consulting case study, where we helped them build an MVP and go to market as quickly as possible.