Sep 14, 2020

3 Keys to Selecting the Right Software Vendor for Your Organization

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Syberry

3 Keys to Selecting the Right Software Vendor for Your Organization

If your organization has made the decision to hire a custom software developer to build the tools you need to improve customer experiences, optimize processes, and increase revenue, your next step might be the hardest: choosing a vendor. There are countless software developers out there, and many of them use the same key phrases and buzzwords to show off their expertise, making it extremely difficult to determine whether a particular vendor is the right fit for your project.

Based on my experience talking with customers about why they chose (or didn’t choose) Syberry, or why they came to Syberry after another vendor botched their project, I want to share a few tips for vetting potential vendors before making your selection and a few recommendations for what not to do. After all, while every mistake is a learning opportunity, it’s much easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes than your own.

Do Your Research

Building a custom software application is a significant investment, and selecting your vendor is a critical first step. You’ll want to interview several potential partners to ensure you’re making the right choice, but be strategic about who you interview. Too many times, we’ve seen businesses send requests for proposals to dozens of software vendors, undergoing titanic efforts and coming back with nothing to show for them.

So before you start sending RFPs, be sure to do your due diligence. You’ll be able to eliminate some options simply by looking at their websites, case studies, and reviews. Whittle down your list to five or six firms. Once you’ve reviewed their RFPs, narrow your short list down to two or three solid options. Carefully selecting candidates and keeping the list manageable means you can focus on each vendor, considering them carefully in order to make the best decision.

Unpack the Estimate

The first question most companies ask vendors is “What will it cost?” But keep in mind that choosing a vendor based on price alone may lead you to ignore red flags — like intentionally lowballing the estimate to win your business or cutting corners in development — that will end up costing you more time and money in the long run. When you’re presented with one quote that lists a high cost and a long timeline compared to one that looks too good to be true, it’s likely you’re better off with the former. We’re not saying inexpensive is always bad — there are a lot of factors to consider. But when you’re looking at pricing, remember that free cheese can be found only in a mousetrap.

Besides the cost, pay careful attention to what else is in the estimate. A good vendor will include details about project functionality, timeline, development milestones, and more, along with advice that’s specific to your case. Does the estimate include information about the approach, potential technology choice, phases, deliverables, milestones, risk management facts, assumptions, and constraints? All this information will help you see the bigger picture and make an informed decision. And when an estimate includes little more than the final cost, that’s a sign not to take that vendor seriously.

Ensure the Vendor Understands Your Goals

Pay attention on the questions that a software vendor asks you about your project. Are they making an effort to understand your industry and your business’s unique business goals, challenges, and risks? Most of the questions a vendor asks upfront should be about the business. Technology-related questions are important, too, but only useful once the vendor has a full understanding of the business side.

Probe Their Expertise

Even though you haven’t signed a contract yet, vendors should be ready and willing to talk though a few of the options and potential hurdles they see in your project based on their experiences with similar work.

The first red flag that a vendor may not have the expertise you need is if they’re acting like “yes-men,” agreeing with everything you say and telling you what you want to hear. Unfortunately, many vendors take this approach to pitching their services, and it leads to a lot of unfulfilled promises and unhappy customers. You, the client, aren’t the expert in software development, and you’re looking for a vendor who’s willing to engage in healthy discussions that may challenge your perspectives but will ultimately lead to better decisions and a higher-quality project.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions about the vendor’s experiences and perspectives and the logic behind their proposed approach. Sometimes, a vendor may advise you to choose a specific type of work structure (like fixed-cost versus time and materials), split the project into specific releases, or undergo some preparational work before the main engagement. A good vendor will be able to provide detailed explanations for these suggestions based on best practices and experience with previous projects, and they’ll be able to explain why their approach makes sense from a business, development, or risk management perspective. And they’ll be able to explain in laymen’s terms, ensuring you’re confident in your understanding and prepared to make an informed decision.

When you’re excited about a new project, it can be too easy to rush in and ask questions later. But take your time selecting your vendor. Your development partner is the most important element of your project, and a little patience and due diligence upfront will make a world of difference in the long run. Ask questions, expect your perspectives to be challenged, and value the candidates who are helpful and receptive to your needs.

August 19, 2019

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What our customers say about us

Syberry has provided satisfactory services thus far, and they are very responsive to any issues that arise. The team also possesses strong communication skills. They delivered a functional piece of software at a reasonable price, and they've managed the project very well.

Richard Harkness

CEO, ADEPT Driver

Elk Grove, CA

How we help ADEPT Driver Company

We developed a web-based driving simulator for teens and another for adults. The products run on Chromebooks, and the team added features that enable them to measure a driver's ability to avoid a crash.

Technologies used

I don't think you could find a better company to manage and build your project. I get so many compliments on my application, and it has a lot of unique and complex development.

Todd Surber

CEO, PIXRIT

Charleston, South Carolina

How we help PIXRIT Company

A photographer approached us to build a web-based software platform that combines the fastest social media manager with state-of-the-art galleries and provides the ultimate tool for photographers to upload, store, back up, and share their photos and manage their SMM activities.

Technologies used

The user-friendly software hasn’t encountered any issues or bugs in more than three years. It’s high quality has helped grow the clientele. Straightforward and consistent in communication, Syberry met every deadline and ensured a hassle-free development process.

Vince Hughes

Owner, Steel Estimating Solutions

Knoxville, TN

How we help Steel Estimating Solutions Company

Our client was inspired to create a product that helps steel erection companies perform faster, more efficient estimations and bids. We developed original proprietary software from the initial concept.

Technologies used

The new platform received positive feedback and performs better than its predecessor. Syberry communicated the project’s progress to their partners well by breaking down their steps and utilizing a management system. Most importantly, they delivered world-class service for a cost-efficient price.

Bill Fahy

Owner, FDI Creative Services

Houston, TX

How we help FDI Creative Services Company

Following strict regulations and requirements, we used AWS to develop a custom e-commerce web app that includes shipping integration. Since the site’s launch, the team has continued to make updates.

Technologies used

The application was delivered on time and within budget. Syberry explained their process thoroughly and accommodated to scope changes effortlessly. Their stellar project management, highly responsive communication, and proactive attitude set them apart.

Ricardo Casas

CEO, Fahrenheit Marketing

Austin, TX

How we help Fahrenheit Marketing Company

We developed a large, complex .NET application with various third-party integrations. The team built the software from scratch based on existing wireframes.

Technologies used

The end solution exceeded the client’s expectations. Syberry delivered high-quality products on time and at outstanding value. They provided frequent updates and repeatedly sought feedback at each stage. Customers can expect a highly experienced team that easily translates concepts into solutions.

Ruby Milkovic

Executive Director, Velicom

Austin, TX

How we help Velicom Company

Our team built video streaming software as a web and desktop app for a third-party client. We completed end-to-end development—from scoping to feedback cycles to QA—using PHP and Wowza Streaming Engine.

Technologies used

Syberry has successfully improved the frontend performance of the platform and continues to make thoughtful suggestions for enhancements. They have proven to be communicative and reliable, mitigating the common concerns of outsourced teams. Syberry remains mindful of business goals and client needs.

Cory Kowal

VP of Products, THG Energy Solutions

Tulsa, OK

How we help THG Energy Solutions Company

Taking over for another vendor, we served as the ongoing software engineering partner for an energy company’s cloud-based platform. The company provided scoping, development, testing, and deployment services.

Technologies used

The added team members sufficiently fulfilled the needs of the project. The product was successfully launched and has received positive feedback. Syberry continues to be a supportive partner in development. They provide an impressive team and their expertise fosters a smooth collaboration.

Chris Cox

CTO, MyMelo

Louisville, Kentucky

How we help MyMelo Company

We provided staff augmentation resources for a development project. The team contributed engineers to follow an established roadmap to perform updates and add features.

Technologies used

Syberry delivered a solid website that has become a database of close to 40 organizations. The team worked quickly and efficiently to get the website up and running, and they continue to invest their time into the project. Additionally, they have been a communicative partner.

David Snyder

Product Director, Covid Resource Network

West Orange, New Jersey

How we help Covid Resource Network Company

The company developed a website that serves as a database where organizations can find and donate to other organizations. Currently, the team is working on enhancing the website and fixing bugs.

Technologies used

When the system is up and running, it will save time for the internal team. Syberry was a patient partner, and they performed well throughout the collaboration.

Joyce Cubio

VP of Operations, Ernie's Mobile Home Transport

Yuba, California

How we help Ernie's Mobile Home Transport Company

The team built an information hub for a mobile home transport and permit service. After discussing the existing system and processes, we delivered a new structure for forms and data.

Technologies used

All deliverables have exceeded expectations and function properly once launched. The Syberry team is skilled in juggling multiple projects, and provide strong expertise in software development. Their dedication to the project has fostered continual success in the engagement.

John Fox

Executive VP, Fox Business Automation Solutions

Lakeland, Florida

How we help Fox Business Automation Solutions Company

Brought on as a third party, we supplied ongoing development services. The team work on multiple projects and deliver according to predetermined design specifications.

Technologies used

Contact us to learn more about how Syberry can help your business achieve its every goal!

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