August 01, 2018 –

The six steps of bespoke software development

Author: Emma Kemp
Emma Kemp
Senior Digital Account Manager
Photo by: Annie Spratt
Some businesses, especially larger enterprises, prefer using ‘off-the-shelf’ software due to it being convenient from the moment they purchase it.

Indeed, these large-scale commercial products prove quite popular for their swift access and low market price, however, there is a reason bespoke software solutions take longer to develop and may cost more than their off-the-shelf counterparts.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Software Development Life Cycle’ (SDLC), there are six steps to the bespoke software solution process. These steps ultimately help software solution companies to create a bespoke and consumer-driven product that is efficient, engaging and flawless. They allow quality to triumph over quantity and is why more and more companies are choosing to install bespoke software.

Below, we’ve listed the SDLC steps to provide a greater understanding as to why bespoke software may be better suited to help your business reach its full potential:

Step One - Initial requirements gathering

The first stage begins when a company approaches us to design/upgrade its software solutions. During the initial consultation period, we will discuss and gather all of the company’s requirements to get a better understanding of its specifications and goals. This way, we will be able to move onto step two knowing exactly what our client requires from us, thus enabling a successful project to be carried out. This is also the stage where costs and time can be estimated.

Step Two - Requirements analysis and planning

Once we know the project requirements we can then start analysing them to get a solid structure in place from which we can build from. And the more thorough the analysis, the higher quality the finished bespoke product will be. This is why most bespoke software solution companies see this SDLC step as the most crucial.

Once both parties agree upon the project planning, a Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document will be created on which the product development will be based. This ensures there are no misunderstandings going forward.

Step Three - Technical design

This is where our specialist team of developers begin to design the architecture of a businesses’ system. This phase allows us to utilise our creative flair and all the internal designs of the product are based off of the SRS document to ensure a streamlined process.

The external design might also be created at this point. Mock-up screens and interfaces may be shown to clients depending on the complexity of the project requirements. We will also carry out basic demonstrations with the clients, so they understand how to access the software. The technical design stage will also involve carrying out risk assessments to ensure a robust solution is created.

Step Four - Development & implementation

Step four is the longest phase of the software development process, but for a good reason. Our team will rigorously follow the SRS document to build the product, and if step one to three has been one smooth transition, coding will be achieved effectively without much disruption.

Step Five - Testing

Like most products, once the software solution is completed, it will be carefully tested before being accessible to the public. During this fundamental stage, we will perform functional and non-functional testing, either manually or automatically. All the most vital features are tested, including core application functions, text input and installation on localised machines.

We will keep testing the product over and over until we are happy with its security and stability, and all of the bugs (if any arise) are fixed. Once we are assured that the quality of the products meets the original requirements that were laid out in step one, we will provide the company with a beta environment to test the software themselves. Any problems they report will be fixed, and once they are comfortable with the software, we move onto the final phase…

Step Six - Deployment & maintenance

When, and only when, the bespoke software solution is ‘completed’, it will be launched, allowing users to get familiar with the new system. We’ve put inverted commas over completed as despite the product now being accessible to its audience, there still may be a few small maintenance issues down the line.

But this is where bespoke software companies gain a great advantage over commercial products, as we will continue to fix any problems and take care of the system even after its release, to ensure it works flawlessly.

Overall, the main differences between bespoke software solutions and off-the-shelf products are time-scales and potentially costs. But, as pointed out above, the reasons for these differences are because bespoke software companies need the time, effort and resources to create a solution of the utmost quality, giving businesses the perfect platform to excel.

If you would like to know more about the SDLC we offer at 16i, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly team is always happy to help!

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