How Your Business Can Pick A Software Developer | Business Technology

Eventually, your business is going to need to have some software development. Your business is unique – you can’t rely on a huge, faceless corporation to handle your unique needs with a shrinkwrapped, mass produced, production-line solution. You need custom software, and to get it, you’ll need to pick an outside software developer. A hired gun.It’s hard – after all, most businesspeople aren’t technical people. You want a Clint Eastwood – tall, confident, and ready to solve your problems with cold steel – but you usually get a technoloser – short, geeky, sniveling wimp with no backbone and no ability to get anything done.Unfortunately, I’ve heard stories about selecting developers from all sorts of people. Bad stories. I can’t even begin to count how many people have wound up with large bills and more problems then when they started. Fortunately, I’ve developed four dynamite questions you need to ask when you’re choosing a developer.1: Does your developer solve problems, or just write code?

A professional software developer isn’t in the business of writing code; rather, he’s in the business of solving problems, and code just happens to be one of the way that he (or she) does it. On the other hand, many developers will want you to spell out exactly what kind of program you want him to write. He doesn’t solve problems; he just writes code the way he’s told, and hopes it will fix the problem at hand. With a real software developer, you wind up with a solution that leaves everyone happy.The market is full of contract programmers masquerading as software developers. Be careful.2: Are they trying to give a solution before they know the problem?Some developers will offer to send you a proposal after a ten or twenty minute phone conversation. It is impossible to accurately assess your situation that quickly; they are trying to provide you with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ package. Real software developers will not provide you with answers, proposals, or fees until they know enough about your business to have an informed opinion. Unless your developer is willing to spend enough time to really know what your problem is, you won’t end up with the solution that you really need, because your developer is making random shots in the dark.3: Are they in love with a particular technology?Software developers can fall in love with their favorite technology; it’s not uncommon to see developers who only develops with Microsoft or Sun technology, for example. A professional software developer, though, focuses on benefiting his client, using whatever technology is necessary. You want to hire someone that will use the technology that’s best suited to your business, whatever it may be. You shouldn’t have to pick a developer based on what technology he’s familar with; he should be able to take care of almost any technological problem, either by doing the work himself or outsourcing to someone in his network of contacts.

4: Are they charging by project?Amateur software developers tend to charge for their time, not by the value of the work they perform; so do contract programmers. Real software developers, though, charge based on value provided to you – by project – NOT based on time. This is because amateurs are afraid that they won’t be able to complete the project in a reasonable amount of time, so they want reassurance that they’ll be paid for their time in any situation. Experienced software developers, though, are confident in their ability to deliver code under their estimate, they are confident in their ability to provide value, and they that they can provide value that’s worth MORE than their time is. You shouldn’t be making an investment decision every time you consider calling your software developer.That’s it. Ask these questions studiously, and you’ll get a programming dynamo. He’ll be able to handle the tough questions and give you the tough answers, and you’ll get bulletproof software.

A Very Brief Recent History of Business Technology Applications

In the late 1990′s technology soared. It was the era of the boom and subsequent bust. Many new software and hardware advances were adopted by large companies that began to integrate new technologies into their business processes.

Some of these technologies were on the ‘bleeding edge’ with buggy software, crashes, insufficient memory and so on. Online ‘cloud’ or web based applications were often not reliable and not user friendly.

For smaller companies without IT departments, being on the technology bleeding edge was the equivalent to living a nightmare.

Around 2003 the applications became more robust and bugs and crashes were less of a problem. Part of this progress was due to the dramatic drop in pricing for computer memory meaning that more robust programs could be run without crashing.

Also around this time many industries developed industry specific software to run businesses like car dealerships or bookstores. Called “management systems” this genre of software allowed smaller companies to combine all their processes under one program. This management software also did not require an onsite IT department to keep it running.

This vertical industry specific software was complemented by horizontal industry software such as bookkeeping and contact management software. This meant that a company could also run its books and keep track of prospects and customers in ways they were not able to do before.

Software and platform integrators stayed busy. The big drive during this period was to try to link and integrate software. For instance, management software would generate an invoice, note that it was paid and then route the data to the proper category in the general ledger through a linked accounting system.

It was clearly understood that the more integrated and “seamless” a software was, the more powerful and cost effective it could be. And since human error continued to be a major drawback to software applications, greater integration meant not only saving time and money but reducing errors.

As hardware and software improved it also became cheaper and more affordable to smaller companies. By 2005 and 2006 many of these applications became more mainstream and were used by smaller and smaller companies.

Perhaps the biggest advances during this time were web based applications. Companies could link all parts of their business online from sales and inventory to employee communications and human resources.

This shift also reduced costs from thousands of dollars for a software purchase to a monthly user’s fee making it much more affordable. These applications also eliminated a lot of paper.

By 2007 the second wave of technology upheaval had begun as smaller and smaller companies began using technology to manage and market.

Smaller companies began to sell more online and funnel new prospects to their sales department. These new technologies allowed companies to sell more by expanding their markets.

“In today’s marketplace if a retail or service business does not exploit all their potential markets then their competitors will,” says Eric Ressler of Zuniweb Creative Services, “it’s just not optional anymore.”

Across horizontal and vertical industries the key driver is strategy. Those companies with a solid strategy that is well executed are stronger competitors.

Technology is a critical component in almost all business strategies and in recent years technology has enabled businesses of all types to leverage their strengths in their respective markets.

As technology has become more user friendly it also has more users. Today one does not have to know html or coding to operate very sophisticated software and companies do not require a high level of technical expertise to run most software.

The big advantage is that the user can focus on business functions and not on user unfriendly software.

With these innovations has come a second wave revolution that is changing the way business operates today. As always, the issue is which companies take advantage of these opportunities and which do not.

As always the marketplace will ultimately decide which of these companies succeed.

Extraneous Influence On Business – Technological Changes

Only internal conflicts do not affect business’ success though there are some other extraneous things which have a great influence on the business. These are those things which sometimes have a heavy affect on the business where as some have a very little affect but in both the ways, the “affect” is taking place. This could be a positive affect on the business and could be negative as well. One of the biggest influences is the “technological changes.”

The range of products that are available for consumers to buy is rapidly changing. Consumers of only forty years ago could not even dream of personal computers, the internet, mobile phones and air conditioned cars. By researching and developing new products, some businesses have created huge new and profitable markets. Sony and Microsoft are two examples of companies that base their success on using the idea of “technological changes” to their advantage.

How ever, each new invention can replace an existing product. For example, videos are being replaced by DVDs and iPods are now much more popular than portable CD players. The speed of technological changes means that new products can become out of date within a few months. The ways in which products are made are also changing. Workers of forty years ago would not have even imagined how robots, word processors, machines and computer programs might fully change how products are made.

Now the question is how should a business respond to these technological changes? Could they just ignore them and go on producing products using old fashioned ways? The ugly truth is that, very few firms could survive using this strategy. They would probably need to sell such small market segments that a good profit would be unlikely. Most of the firms compete in mass markets where new products and low prices are vital selling points.

Failure to introduce information technology will leave a firm with out of date and inefficient methods of letter writing, record keeping, communication and stock control. Not adapting products and services to those provided by competitors using new technology could lead to the downfall of business. Therefore, there are some advantages and disadvantages of technological changes to the business.

• New hi-tech production methods increase productivity and lower average cost, making the business more competitive.
• New production methods can be adapted very quickly to make a wide range of similar products this giving business more flexibility to meet consumer needs.