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A software development company is an organization specialized in providing software services including programs, platforms and digital interfaces.
These agencies conceptualize ideas and then create products that meet their clients’ specific requirements. They help brands improve their workflows and optimize their productivity.
Their robust targeting and personalized strategies make it easier for brands to improve customer engagement and conversion rates while increasing their revenues.
Software developers can also improve and personalize existing programs to meet an organization’s needs.
Because they work on digital programs, custom software development companies can often work remotely, which allows businesses to hire the top teams worldwide, gaining access to a larger talent pool and minimizing the cost of development.
According to Evans Data Corporation, in 2019 there were 23.9 million software developers and the number is projected to reach 28.7 million in 2024.
Top custom software development companies in the US design, create, deploy and maintain solutions for a specific set of users, functions and organizations.
They use different programming languages to create software that powers technology.
Software developers create products that are usually referred to as “solutions” because they solve problems – from mundane personal to complex professional ones. These are mainly developed to facilitate a task or streamline processes.
However, they also build software for entertainment purposes like computer games and gambling sites.
Some of their primary responsibilities include:
Considering the fact that software can serve virtually any industry and area of business, and technologies are so many and varied, there are many types of software companies that develop specific industry, platform, technical and/or technological expertise.
Thereby, we can divide these innovative agencies into three categories.
Based on their industry and field specialization software companies can be:
Then, we can also categorize them by platform and system type specialization:
According to the type of services they deliver, custom software development companies can be placed into two groups:
The terms custom-written and custom software mean exactly the same: solutions developed specifically for your brand only.
However, it is easy to confuse them with customizable off-the-shelf solutions.
Off-the-shelf -or readymade- solution is generalized stock software for which businesses purchase licenses and which can be somewhat personalized.
However, those small personalizations cannot compare with the benefits of custom solutions.
In addition, off-the-shelf solutions typically require licensing fees in perpetuity for the duration of its use.
Therefore, although off-the-shelf solutions may seem cheaper initially, those long-term costs can ultimately make it more expensive than custom solutions, which have higher upfront fees, but often lower long-term costs.
Top software companies typically price their services per resource per hour. Therefore, these rates vary greatly depending on:
The greatest factor in service cost is geography. South Asian companies can charge as low as $20 per hour, while North American companies can charge as much as $200 for their high-end expertise.
Speaking of, expertise is an important factor in the service cost. Companies in any given location will command a range of prices, depending on the quality of their portfolios, management and resources – all of which will play a key role in the quality of their output.
In terms of average project cost, the lowest start at $1,000 in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America.
North American projects start at $5,000 and average at around $10,000.
A few other factors that can also dictate the cost of custom software development companies include:
Obviously, the more complex the project is and the more software developers work on it, the more you can expect to pay.
If it happens that you own off-the-shelf software but you are thinking about investing in a customized solution, you may be not quite satisfied with your current product.
Here are a few signs that might support the idea that the readymade software you have is causing more problems than doing any good:
Wondering why you should invest time and money in tailored solutions when the commercial ones are readily available to use at a much lower cost?
These are the advantages of working with a custom software development company:
This means that unlike off-the-shelf or packaged solutions, you can ask your partner to include specific features and even exclude some that you don’t need.
With off-the-shelf solutions what you see is what you get. And, if it happens to miss a certain functionality or features that will be useful to you, well, tough luck.
According to Small Biz Club, brands should not buy the false promise of off-the-shelf solutions because they are too bland to be effective.
Another problem with commercial solutions is that it’s entirely up to the company that developed it to decide how long it is going to maintain it.
Unfortunately, users don’t have much say in this. If, for instance, Microsoft decides out of the blue to discontinue support for Office 365, then that’s it.
Custom software development companies in the USA, on the other hand, will update and maintain your product until you need to use it.
Even if the off-the-shelf solutions are, at the start, just what your business needs, don’t expect this to last. Companies grow and, with them, their software requirements as well.
At some point, you will see that commercial software can’t cope with the increasingly heavy load.
Custom-built solutions are much more flexible in this regard and are, therefore, better able to scale and evolve with your business.
The primary goal of the off-the-shelf software developers is to sell as many licenses as possible.
Unfortunately, individual users and their problems quickly lose their importance with this approach.
For top custom software developers, users are always important. Since your business is likely the only one to use this particular software, they can focus all their attention on it via top-notch technical support.
A recent report on Hidden Risks to Cyberspace Security from Obsolete COTS Software shows that the number of reported vulnerabilities of commercial off-the-shelf solutions is on the rise, and in 2017 they amounted to 14,714.
They showed no signs of stopping in 2018, and there were 15,703 identified vulnerabilities.
Because of the way they are built, COTS solutions present an attractive point of attack. On the one hand, it is difficult to verify their security.
And, on the other hand, COTS solutions vendors have very limited liability.
These facts make off-the-shelf solutions much more vulnerable than custom-built ones
Does it mean that custom-built solutions are 100% safe and secure from external threats?
No, but at least not every hacker under the blue sky will attempt to probe your software.
Automation is not always possible with off-the-shelf solutions. However, as you’ll no doubt learn, certain workflows are infinitely more efficient when automated.
Each organization is unique and its processes are too. And there’s no better way to automate than with solutions tailored to your specific needs.
Not only does every software development company have its own requirements, but very often those between different departments can clash with each other.
Custom development makes the integration between different departments within an organization and their applications much easier, which in turn promotes better collaboration.
Prior to evaluating what the market has to offer and researching the best software development companies, consider the following aspects:
Before you start researching prospective partners, understand what your objectives are first.
You’ll want to make sure you select a custom software development company that has experience in these types of goals and who can deliver the best results possible.
This step will help you focus your search on local or foreign prospective software companies.
The key question to ask yourself is: How important is my team’s physical accessibility to my organization, and vice versa?
In other words:
If you decide to outsource your software development project, ensure you consider the following factors:
The answers to these questions can help you determine whether to onshore or nearshore your software development project.
The development cost and the cost of other software services differ greatly, not only across geographic regions but within the markets as well.
There are many factors that determine the software company’s price sheet, from the local cost of living and doing business to the companies’ level of expertise and client portfolio.
Our above-featured list of the top software companies comes with a price estimate for each.
This will give you an idea of the most cost-effective regions, i.e. countries for your software development project and how far your budget can take you.
Not all development services are created equal.
Selecting the right custom software development company plays an important role in delivering a cutting-edge product.
And while identifying the best fit requires thorough research and careful consideration, here are the key factors that can help you make an easier and smarter choice:
Here are the top 15 questions you should ask the best software development companies on our list to narrow the list of options down:
They also specialize in different areas of development such as architecture, backend and frontend coding, testing and more.
Finally, software experts, including companies, develop expertise in particular domains such as AI, blockchain and IoT, as well as industries.
Together, these experts build a product from scratch or implement changes into existing software.
To find the right software partner for your business, determine your requirement and interview the candidates to determine whether they have the expertise to deliver the best project possible.
Most of these organizations offer two types of software development services: project-based and dedicated team mode.
The project-based model is suitable for businesses that look for one-time project delivery.
This typically includes small and short term projects that clients need to have ready within a short time.
They usually have set unalterable requirements and don’t need to monitor the project progress closely or communicate with the software developers constantly.
The dedicated team model, on the other hand, fits businesses that want to invest in a long term partnership. They have a long-term project and look for a software development agency that will help them shape their requirements to fit their needs.
In this case, businesses also monitor their developers and track their project progress which is why they are involved in the project and continuously communicate with their partners.
Technology stacks are the combination of technologies, including languages and frameworks, used to create your solution.
The most popular ones are:
Depending on the scope of your requirement, you may want to focus on:
Each of the best software development companies on our list has worked with different types of clientele. Though it is not absolutely necessary to hire a partner that has developed solutions for your industry before, it can be beneficial.
Having an agency that understands your target market, competition and business model well can accelerate project delivery.
Those experts that have deep insight into your business concerns, market goals, budget and resources can meet your requirements and expectations better.
Companies’ portfolios will showcase their past work and will give you an insight into their experience in your industry as well as what results you can expect from them.
Find out who will own the software rights once your product is launched. There are four types of legally recognized rights that are relevant to every industry and every type of client:
By default, the custom software development company that creates the code owns it.
However, it is important for businesses to have complete ownership of these rights. One of the main reasons for this is that developers can make you very dependent on their technologies. And this can cost you a lot.
Moreover, it can also hurt your clients since the software development company services will depend on the service provider.
Signing an agreement to protect your intellectual rights will prevent such issues.
Ask the potential software developers what files you will have access to assess the level of transparency and insight you will have during the project.
As they will work on different systems, these experts will build testing environments, code repositories and other files that document their development process.
All these files will help you understand product functionality and unify project-related information.
Moreover, they will also allow you to discuss some significant questions that may come up between you and your software development company.
Make sure the custom software development company you choose pays deep attention to documentation since it can improve your product quality.
Posing this question to the best software development companies can help you figure out how safe your investment is.
If the product is discovered to be buggy as a result of poor development or QA testing process, you should ensure that your development partner is willing to commit to fixing these bugs as part of their contract.
To increase the chance of being satisfied with what your partner delivers make sure:
After your software or application is launched, you will need your partner’s support and maintenance services.
This may include fixing bugs, releasing updates or adding new features and functionalities as your business grows and changes.
So, ask the potential candidates on our list whether they will be there to assist you post-launch.
In addition, make sure you also discuss the cost of their custom software development services once your project ends.
Find out whether you need to pay any additional fees or maybe they will be included in the pre-discussed budget.
Depending on your product’s complexity, your software developer may also educate you on how to handle certain steps by yourself as well.
Depending on their team size and objectives, software organizations implement different development methodologies and focus on different best practices.
For your partners to finish your project successfully it is important for them to do proper planning and management.
This is why you should understand how well these experts manage their teams and work. All methodologies have different pros and cons.
For instance, one of the greatest advantages of Agile is that it improves efficiency by allowing developers to realize software benefits earlier.
However, its weakness is that it relies on real-time communication. This is the reason why new users often lack the documentation they need to operate at full speed.
So, it is of key importance to pick a custom software development company that fits your needs the best.
That way you will ensure your projects’ success.
It is important to understand what is the approach these agencies have to your project from the initial planning until the very end of your project.
The best software development company will employ reliable methods that will first and foremost meet your business needs.
Then, they will implement different tactics that ensure the quality and functionally of your product including UX/UI research and QA testing.
These experts will also estimate the length of your project and focus on relevant key performance indicators to allow them to make smart decisions.
The best software development company will use appropriate project management methods and tools. They will plan, schedule, track and deliver their projects on time.
Its team will function together as a whole and they will be able to learn and grow as they reach their collective results.
They will have a successful project management structure where software developers will clearly define their tasks from the beginning of every project.
And just before that, they will understand their clients’ needs well and adapt their strategies to every business’ unique goals.
Every successful project delivery depends on effective communication between the client and the software development company. Therefore, the right partner will constantly keep you in the loop of your project’s progress.
They will use the best tactics that will make your collaboration easier and simpler.
This may include online messaging platforms that will allow quick responses and will save time whenever any issues arise.
Then, they will incorporate reporting dashboards that will store the project data and include real-time updates that will let you keep track of their progress.
Depending on your location, if you and the potential candidate are close to distance, they might also suggest you have in-person meetings from time to time for them to report on your product development.
For your partner to be able to meet your expectations, it is important for you to clearly highlight all your requirements.
This may require your software development partner to be constantly in touch with you. They might ask for your opinions, share their ideas and suggestions to ensure your project’s success.
So, it is important for you to ask how you would be involved in the project from the start until its launch. Inquire how often you would communicate to understand whether you can allocate the time and to organize yourself better without neglecting your work duties.
Also, ask who would be the main point of contact so that you know who to turn to whenever you have any questions.
Every firm offers different pricing structures. And as we mentioned above, most of them price their software development company services per hour.
However, the cost of custom software development services will depend on various factors including the project complexity.
This is why you should communicate your project requirements as well as business goals prior to asking about the cost.
However, you should also bear in mind that a cheap solution is not a cost-effective one. The more you are able to invest, the more efficient product you will get.
This is why you should keep your long-term software revenue in mind when negotiating on the final price.
Moreover, make sure you also ask about the cost of the post-launch maintenance services. Find out whether they are included in the project cost or you will need to pay extra fees.
The actual project deliverables will be different for every client since they all have unique goals and requirements.
This is why you should clearly communicate your objectives with the potential custom software development companies on our list so that they can tell you exactly what you can expect.
Make sure you choose an agency that can ensure product deliverables and that can deliver software that is fully functional and that meets your expectations completely.
However, also choose a partner that can provide you with project deliverables. This includes project plans, reports and meetings info.
With your development partner decided on, all that remains is to draft the corporate agreement and start the development planning process.
Make sure to have legal assistance in all stages of deal conclusion, from contract drafting to editing, clause negotiation to proofing and signing.
With that, your project is on its way.