Bespoke business software development
Database developments can take weeks, months or years. It’s an agile process using small steps and continual feedback – both ways. Here are some of the steps that we will go through together:
1. Firstly, we have an initial meeting to discuss and explore your situation and your requirements. This normally takes between two and three hours. Where we explore:
- company processes
- existing computer systems and their uses
- operating systems, screen sizes, both in the office and out
- personnel – who does what, what they need to do, what they would like to do
- day-to-day methods of working
- anything else that comes up
Get in contact with me today to set up. Call 01934 7822651 or 07940 514351
2. At this stage one could spend weeks drawing up a detailed specification document. My experience is that, once done, it will constantly change, never be right, cost a lot of money, and never worth it. I operate a ‘lean’ and ‘agile’ way of working. Firstly by creating a basic database within a couple of weeks. Then using this as something tangible for you to use and us to discuss, we develop it together using a reiterative process. We never go to far before gained knowledge is fedback and influences the process.
This live solution will, if you are interested, demonstrate all the intricacies of fundamental database design. For example:
- an entity relationship diagram
- file structure
- field definition tables
- user list, complete with permission levels for each user
- access privileges
- security requirements
- required scripts and routines
- the start of user interfaces
- import and export of existing data requirements
- requirements for printed reports
Otherwise you can leave that stuff to me.
3. In practical terms it means a working solution is delivered within a short space of time. Aiming to replace your existing bottlenecks and ending frustrations as quickly as possible.
This will then act as a germinating zone for other ideas. We often hear requests like:
- I could do with a separate field for a description here
- I want to see more rows of data here
- I need more space for my description
- Can I upload a picture against this piece of data?
- Can I go back to the last screen from here?
- Can I go off and do something else yet come back here to carry on?
- You couldn’t make it do…? To which the answer is always yes!
Development of your database system goes at your speed and will progress as you test/use it, and as your budget allows!
We are in regular communication. Feedback both ways being the absolutely key to the success of the project!
4. We (you, your staff and I) will develop and test your new system as it is rolled out. You won’t need a dedicated project manager or IT department, just users trying it out in tandem with your current way of working.
5. If the dept/company is big enough we identify 3 main groups of users:
- Users. Those who on a daily basis entering/manipulating/using the data. They know what needs to be done and what could aid their daily workflow. These are the coalface workers, if you will. Satisfying their needs is key to the long-term acceptance of your new bespoke software.
- Supervisors or Heads of Department. These people supervise the daily tasks and typically need overviews, reports and insist on the relevant and easy dissemination of information between departments.
- Directors or senior management. These are the people who want reports of the bigger picture and have overall responsibility over the organisation.
6. Issues that will be resolved:
- bottlenecks and inefficiencies
- replacing current paper, Word or spreadsheet documents and/or off-the-shelf software
- avoiding the need for work-arounds
- easier searching and finding of info (especially historical data)
- making one current copy available to many
- automating/speeding up everyday tasks and regular reports
- integration of processes, departments, sites and so on
- relevant and unique features reflecting the way you work
- savings on time, mistakes and hassles
- Increased security
- ie a big improvement on ‘the system’ you have now
7. We like to become part of your team! In an ideal world, we come and spend as much time as we can with you. Hot desking. That means we will actually be writing code while in your workspace. This we find, opens channels of communication, builds relationships and creates a more relevant and efficient solution. It also ensures that the bespoke software is rolled out and implemented effectively.
Change management is always an issue. But we find, with staff involved from its very inception, there is a positive expectation and eagerness to improve their workflow – people ‘buy in’, in short!
8. Finally old data is imported in and old ways of working replaced. Delight reigns supreme! One user quoted she was ‘Chuffed as nuts!’.
9. A word about payments. These are based upon time taken. Before we begin, we jointly we agree a credit limit (like you do with your customers and suppliers). We invoice you when that limit is reached, you pay us, we continue.
The majority of examples on this site cost between £3,000 and £5,000 plus. Perhaps one in three invest as much again over the next year or two. A few invest constantly to continue to save time and effort, automate procedures and adapt as new business procedures are adopted.
10. No staff training is needed as it tends to happen as the database is developed together.
11. You end up with a bespoke tailor-made solution that fits perfectly. You will totally own it. No ongoing rental or annual fees to pay (except hosting on a server).
11. Those numbers again? 01934 782651 or 07940 514351. Call.