Thursday 6 April 2017

Cost of Custom Software – 7 : The Cheap Trap

Hello there, welcome to Cost of Custom Software blog series, a place where we discuss the cost reduction or saving tips while outsourcing software development projects. If this is the first post you are tuning in to, then I suggest you to look here for the list of earlier posts on this topic. This series builds on itself and you would be in a better position to understand and appreciate the content.

Alright, let us focus on today’s topic, The Cheap Trap

It is normal to choose a software consultant by keeping the cost factor in consideration, companies of any size, would prefer to keep their IT budget on check for several reasons such as:

1. Lack of knowledge on technical frontier

2. ROI from a software project is often difficult to calculate

3. The work arounds, and alternative ways of achieving tasks are difficult, but possible

4. The annual budget on IT resource maintenance is difficult to keep up etc.

Whilst I agree that IT investments should be duly considered, I do not think companies should choose a consultant solely based on cost factor. Often buying software development services becomes a quantitative exercise, where as it should be more of qualitative one. Many would opine, that different vendors should be weighed on cost and details of the quotation provided by them. There are several cheap traps in such situation.

1. Vendors often quote less on development, and charge more in maintenance

2. Vendor exhibit little or no understanding in the objectives defined in the requirement and its implications.

3. Often Source code is not provided with deliverables; vendor might charge extra for source code.

4. Poor quality either in development or in testing or both

5. Leave out specific requirements from development which costs more effort.

6. Poor or no documentation

7. Poor or no training provided

8. Lack of flexibility to change in requirements, often charge you for any slight deviation from the agreed specs.

Solution: Know what you are getting into

Have an open discussion with your software consultant, be it maintenance, change control or documentation and training. Verify what components are part of deliverables and what not. Ask for any sample documents to understand the quality of the documentation skills. Check if you could have the source code so you may save it for future enhancements. Check for warranty period and different options in maintenance contract (if you find it costly). Also, confirm about the kind of services that are covered in maintenance, SLA and turnaround time.

I believe it is better to ask these questions before signing the contract, rather than assuming things and suffering at the later stage. We shall explore the check list for choosing the right consultant in forthcoming posts.For free consultation on how to reduce the cost in your next software development project, please head over here  to contact us. Thanks for stopping by and Have a fantastic day!

   Srivatsan Aravamudan
   Telephone:+65 62689551
   Fax:+65 62689858
   Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.



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