Software MVP: Minimum Value Product or Most Valuable Player?

When it comes to building software, discerning the absolute minimum viable product - or rather, the MVP - should always be step one. That’s why a detailed, step by step plan of delivery is vastly important.

There’s a common misconception, however, that an MVP is a framework or a blueprint-esque concept. This is not the case - an MVP should instead be a customer-ready product or service that’s fit for use, but without any extra features or addons.

On that note, let’s dive in to our top tips for building effective bespoke software, and how to create your MVP:

 

  • Start with the core functionalities of the software. Firstly, you need to work out what exactly constitutes the core reasons for building the software in the first place. Once these have been decided and implemented, this is your MVP. Only then should you consider what other features will be necessary, which ties-in to step two.

  • Make sure each feature is useful and not just a nicety. This stops your software becoming bloated before it’s even begun. That, and it cuts back on unnecessary resources and costs during the development process. Also, this keeps your software streamlined and effective - as opposed to being a jack-of-all-trades but master-of-none.

  • Build according to demand. This isn’t to say no extra features should ever be added, but just ensure the features will be effective at scratching a specific itch, not just thrown in for the sake of it. Some features, however, might seem like a great idea on paper, but when it comes to practice it's not actually needed. This is why it’s also important to:

  • Test as you go. That way, any new requirements that arise can be added with minimum fuss, and there’ll be no need to jump right back to square one. On the same note, things that were an initial requirement may end up not being needed, so they can be removed or tweaked as the process goes on.

 

Let’s think of it like this…

Imagine you’re software is a plant, searching for the sun as it grows. The sun, in this (admittedly odd) metaphor, is the complete, bespoke requirements of your specific project, which dictates the direction and shape of the plant as it grows - much like your specific requirements dictate the ‘shape’ of the software. 

Similarly, it’s only as the plant develops and begins to take shape that it is so influenced by the sun. A rather handy similarity to the fact that as the software itself begins to take shape, it’s possible that further requirements may be discovered down the line that help to shape the software further.

Odd analogies aside, however, this is a pretty good way to look at your software. It’s important to always keep in mind the end goal, to save yourself from getting distracted by unnecessary add-on features, or indeed under-developing the software. 

So, to finalise...

If you’re building software without continually testing the MVP, the software might look and sound great on paper, but when it comes to the actual practice it may just fall short - or be missing an important factor of the design that could’ve been implemented with ease earlier down the line. In short, you can consider the MVP a little bit of both; the minimum value product AND most valuable player, especially when it comes to software design.

And that's where we come in. We can help you design the perfect piece of software for your business, with minimal fuss. We combine the best parts of a business-first mind with in-depth coding expertise. This means we not only build your software, but we help to streamline your business processes. Coding and business, we bring the best of both worlds.

We’re proud of the work we achieve for our clients. Have a read through our Case Studies to find out how we develop a project from start to finish, or alternatively feel free to get in touch with us on our website. 

Case Study: Tocris Bioscience

"A powerful and easy-to-use tool to gather data."

Here at Better Technology Consulting we're proud of the relationships we build with our customers. In this article we'll take a look at how a project works from start to finish - and the value we bring to our clients' business.

The Client

Based in Bristol, UK, Tocris Bioscience is a leading supplier of novel and exclusive pre-clinical research tools, to the life science industry. Tocris has been working with scientists for over 30 years, to make the latest tools available to academic institutes and pharmaceutical companies around the world. 

Tocris is a brand within Bio-Techne, alongside the other best-in-class life science brands R&D Systems, Novus Biologicals, Protein Simple and Advanced Cell Diagnostics.

The Challenge

As a supplier of products for pre-clinical research, there are specific clinical terms that Tocris do not want to use in their marketing copy. The challenge was to quickly identify these clinical terms within a number of different paragraphs of text so users could remove the offending terms.

Although familiar with excel, the formulae the client was using to identify the cells containing these terms, couldn't highlight the exact location the term existed within the text string in the cell. Doing this manually was extremely time-consuming, error-prone and not an acceptable long-term solution.

The Solution

After discussing the requirements with Tocris, Better Technology Consulting developed a macro that would highlight cells containing the offending terms' specific location within each paragraph of text at a click of a button. The macro worked perfectly first time, and the entire process from start to finish took less than 24 hours.

Once tested on a real data set, the macro was optimized further by bringing back clinical terms that were hyphenated within each paragraph. The optimization significantly speeded up the execution time of the macro and provided the end users with another option if they were under time pressure.  

Looking Ahead

By working closely with our client, we were able to rapidly produce a solution that not only solved the initial brief but also added quality-of-life option to make the lives of our users that little bit easier. The macro has saved countless hours by automating the process, allowing the users to focus on the more challenging aspects of their day-to-day role.

"The tool works brilliantly! Thanks for turning it around so quickly."

Power To The People: The Nuances of HR Software

Payroll, timesheets, mileage, absences - all of these administrative tasks can be an excruciatingly time-consuming process, especially when you’re manually logging each tedious line of data into a lifeless spreadsheet. Almost all companies will turn to software to get it done; and a custom design can go a long way towards automating these processes in their entirety.

But when it comes to Human Resource Management Software, there’s a tonne of off-the-shelf products and solutions you could purchase. So why would you want to commission a custom one? The answer is in the name. 'Custom' software means that all of the specific nuances of your business can be realised and accounted for.

Why Go Custom? 

None of these off-the-shelf products were designed specifically for your business. As such, these canned solutions often won’t fit your needs entirely - and you’ll most likely end up paying for parts of the software you’ll never use. Especially if you have a unique workflow, or are subject to regulations that can’t be accommodated by an off-the-shelf management system.

Previously, for example, we had the pleasure of designing a system for Elliots Hill, a leading social care provider based in the UK. From supported living and residential care to education and training for individuals with learning difficulties, Elliots Hill provide a broad and wide-reaching service that benefits thousands across the UK. It's possibly no surprise, then, that streamlining their systems was a high priority for the company. 

Initially, the staff were having to log their shifts by hand on printed spreadsheets across several of their care facilities. This data was then manually entered into the company’s existing software to calculate pay. It goes without saying that this was a time consuming process, and prone to numerous errors across each stage. It often lead to staff being paid late, and took hours of administration. 

The challenge, then, was to design a software that not only would automate the time-logging process, but would also export this data directly to their accountancy software. Not only that, but the client also required a way for staff to record mileage of journeys made and any details of overnight stays. It’s this combination of requirements that creates the unique ‘nuance’ of the company - and indeed, the software.

As the project continued, and as staff began to utilise the software, they realised there were a number of other 'nuances' that would make their life much easier. Due to the modular and open nature of the software - the beauty of bespoke, if you will - we were easily able to implement these features, including a leave and absence system that could automatically calculate Bradford factor, whilst also allowing staff to book leave in a centrally visible calendar.

So How Do We Design It?

Whether we’re designing Human Resource Management software for Healthcare Industries, Finance Industries, or Food/Drink, the most important things to consider are the specific nuances of each company - and the nuance of HR Management as a whole. What exactly do they require? And how do we set about deciding it?

  1. Firstly, it’s imperative to set and understand the project goals. For example, perhaps your business has a high-turnover rate and business growth / profit depends on how quickly you can hire and replace staff. The specific goals of the project, then, would be to automate this process reliably, whilst decreasing the time it takes to hire / find prospects. 

  2. Secondly, we would take a look at what existing systems are in place, if any. That way, we can help locate the shortcomings of the current software or process, whilst giving us a complete understanding of the situation - which is vastly important when it comes to custom software, HR or otherwise.

  3. Then, it’s time to workout how the specific workflows need improvement. For example, automating any manual processes (that can be automated) such as transferring data from system to system by hand - as in the case with Elliots Hill.

  4. Now it’s time to start developing the software. Combining both the knowledge of how your staffing process, payroll, and general HR management works with an astute coding expertise, we’ll begin crafting a bespoke system that caters precisely to your business.

  5. The software will be well on it’s way to taking shape, but it’s important we keep testing and implementing the software in small deliverable parts. That way, any new issues that may arise can be solved - and it’s in this stage that often any additional requirements are raised and added. Such is the beauty of a custom management system.

In Conclusion…

Whereas a catch-all solution might help speed up your HR processes, it’ll never give you the complete, reliable solution that custom software brings. Especially when you consider the myriad of variables stretching across different industries, such as implementing the Bradford Factor, catering for abnormal working hours, administration, payroll, performance management, employee turnover and the ability to track training and certifications - to name just a few.

Looking to improve your HR Management with bespoke software, or want to find out any more information about our design process? Feel free to get in touch with us via our website.

Business, Data, & Blurred-Lines: How to Traverse the World of Data

With such a wealth of data available at everyone's fingertips, it can often become pretty overwhelming when it comes to deciding exactly what to do with it. In this article, we aim to explore the ever-advancing technological world of stats and figures, and help bring it all together in a way that makes a little more sense.

In short; the line between business and data is blurring, and this means data is becoming more and more integral to the running of almost every business. Just think of how much data is being stored about you on a daily basis; you can barely blink at Google without it recommending you a fancy new eyelash curler to make those blinks extra fabulous. 

For most companies, data is mostly important in terms of driving operational excellence, or fostering far better customer-client relations. But the more data-savvy among businesses understand that it runs far deeper.

In almost all cases, data-driven decision-making takes precedent over gut-feeling or business experience - when it’s done properly. These days, there’s a wealth of data available at your fingertips - from Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools to Facebook, Twitter and everything in-between. But it’s not quite as simple as grabbing all the data and metrics you can find and hoping there’ll be some secret code to sudden business growth hidden amongst the numbers.

Step 1: Strategise

First, you need to decide exactly what you want to glean from the data. Are you looking for new leads? Trying to boost your business visibility? Maybe you’re just trying to work out what processes are working and what aren’t. Either way, working out exactly what you want to learn is perhaps the most important step. 

Step 2: Identify

Once you’ve worked out exactly what you want to achieve, it’s important to identify the key areas in which data is flowing into your business. It can be anything, from customer interactions, to clicks on your social media posts, or engagement with your paid media ads. Of course, these will change depending on what your business entails; but the data is still equally as important.

Step 3: Collect & Analyse

Now it’s time to bring all the data together to work out exactly what insights the data reveals. Look at the why and how, as opposed to simply the what - meaning you can make an informed, tactical decision. 
 
It's important to note that many businesses will already collect a multitude of data - whether they know it or not - but won't actually have the means to aggregate it together, or indeed draw any meaningful conclusions from it. As such, it's a problem we as a business are often employed to deal with. But, it's not something that requires you to undergo weeks of data analysis training and learning to use a cookie-cutter reporting package that might not make sense for your business. 
 
Far from it, in fact. It's largely a case of us designing a simple system that stitches all of your stats and figures together into reports tailored to your exact requirements, that will then help you understand and visualise your data more easily.
 

In Conclusion

Choosing the right data-driven strategy is crucial to getting the most out of your data. If you know what you’re looking for, data can provide endless opportunities for fine-tuning and improving your business processes; from front-end sales & marketing to the more internal systems. 

And, it can work for any business. It’s not just industry giants like Amazon & Google that can harness the power of data effectively - even Joe’s Coffee Shop down the road could benefit from a little targeted data analysis. Should he market his brand new mocha-choca-latte-cino on Twitter, Facebook, or by distributing some local leaflets? Does his high-spending hipster clientele prefer the orange-peel-pumpkin-spiced vanilla latte or the classic Americano? Now that would make an interesting case-study; but I think we know the results. 

Data is our specialty. We bring technological know-how with a business-first mind, allowing us to focus on the operations and processes that require data to make the right decision. As such, any business can benefit from expert data analysis. Get in touch with us to see how we can help.

Don’t Do IT Yourself: Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Your Software

Just because a business has the resources to build bespoke software themselves, does that mean it's always a good idea? You may wonder why so many Social Media Managers don't actually manage their own accounts, or web-designers don’t maintain their own websites. In a similar vein, this article aims to explore the ins and outs of DIY tech, and why it can often be a good idea to get someone to build it for you.

Let’s think of it this way: you’re probably more than able to cut your own hair, but chances are, you get someone else to do it for you. (And if you don’t, fair play, but you’ve just ruined our analogy. Tut tut.) Cutting your own hair would be time consuming, probably very messy, and if you’re anything like us, you’re in for a good chance of ending up with some sort of mullet / bowl-cut hybrid. Not the best look.

Similarly, it’s often the case with business. Not mullets and bowl cuts, thankfully, but finding out that designing their own tech is actually far more of a hassle than it’s worth. Not only does it take up valuable time that could be spent on sales, existing work, or your general business processes, but this time translates into money. Or rather, a loss of it.

It’s an easy trap to fall into when it comes to designing your own software, managing your own social media or building your own spaghetti code spreadsheets. Theoretically, you may imagine that if you do it all yourself, you won’t have to spend much, if anything at all. But this isn’t always strictly true. The money you save in service charges and existing software will most likely all be lost through time. Time that you could’ve spent working on your own clientele.

This means that in reality, despite first appearances, building your own software becomes more of a false economy than a money-making shortcut. An expert, for example, might be able to build that exact same software you can, but in a fraction of the time - so, yes you have to pay them for their services, but the time saved will most likely equate to a far bigger ROI.

In fairness though, we’re not saying building your own software is entirely a bad idea - in fact, more often than not, bespoke software is the best way to create efficient, business-first tech that works precisely for your requirements. But the point here is that it’s often not beneficial to build it yourself, even if you do have your own tech-expert.

As such, there’s a multitude of ways you can get this software without having to use your own resources. And that’s the real ticket when it comes to business.

Want some bespoke software building? We bring both the knowledge and know-how, alongside a brilliantly business mind. In short, we can keep your ROI happy whilst bringing you the tech you need.

Business Know-how or Programming Wit? The Tech-Design Tussle

With the rapidly changing landscape of IT and business, having the right line-of-business (LOB) software is becoming more and more important to keep on top. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the ins-and-outs of software design, and aim to answer the question: Do you need to be a genius programmer to build high quality, line-of-business software? 

You may think it’s an obvious answer. Surely, without in-depth programming knowledge and know-how, where would you even begin with designing line-of-business software? But the clue’s in the name. If you don’t know what your business actually needs, how will you decide what exactly you want the software to do? 

The short answer, then, is a resounding no. Designing line-of-business software isn’t about knowing your way around the ins-and-outs of deep C++ script, or being able to jump into the Matrix at will. It’s instead about having an in-depth knowledge of your business requirements, and applying them to the design of a program.

A genius programmer can certainly make headway when it comes to designing software - they are a genius after all - but without knowing exactly what you need the specific software to do, you’ll probably just end up with a catch-all piece of tech that will need constant attention and development as your business requirements take shape. And we all know how that ends up... (the dreaded spaghetti code… *shudder*). 

Therefore, knowing exactly what you need the software to do before it comes to the build will put you in far greater stead than just rushing headlong into the nitty-gritty world of code. In much a similar way to choosing what software to use, it’s ironically more difficult - and arguably more important - to analyse your business and design a system around exactly what you need it to do, rather than actually programming and coding one.

As such, a tightly-scoped, simple program can actually deliver far more of a benefit than a genius-ly complex piece of software that’s able to simulate entire worlds, whilst also washing your dishes. Although - to be fair - that would be quite useful. But it certainly wouldn’t be cheap, and would probably take a good few thousand years to design.

Heading back to reality for a hot second, a little bit of both never did any harm, sure. But the point here is that this is software for business. And that means ROI, UX, UI and everything in between. As such, it’s probably best to let Mr. Business Whizz run wild before you even dip your toes in the type of code you want to use. That way, when your local tech person gets to work, you have a clear plan of exactly what’s needed; leading to a tightly scoped and efficient technological wonder, rather than a wild, untamed beast. 

So, in conclusion, the ultimate dream would be some sort of robotic business-whizz-programmer-genius-hybrid, but if you don’t have one of those to hand: know your business before you sow your code, and you’re well on the right track to getting your business running like clockwork. 

That sounded quite profound, didn’t it?

Need any help designing LOB software? We bring all the Business Whizz-dom you’ll need. We have a wealth of management consulting experience - but are also competent programmers. Go with us, and you get the best of both worlds. Check out our website for more information.

Buzzword or Bespoke? Why Picking The Right Tech is Important.

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest technology and gadgets, but when it comes to picking the right technology for your business, it’s not always about following the trend. ‘Buzzword’ software may look great on paper, but is it the right fit for your business? Will it deliver on ROI or break the bank? These are a few of the important questions we aim to answer in this article.

Firstly, when choosing your software, it’s important to consider exactly what you’re setting out to achieve. Whether you’re managing a small amount of data, a bus-load, whether you want a client-side service or server-side, your choice definitely matters. 

If you’re only managing a small amount of data, choosing the latest tech might be like purchasing a brand new hedge trimmer to cut your hair. It’d do the job, sure, but a nice and cheap pair of scissors would most certainly be the more sensible - and appropriate - option. Similarly though, the vice-versa can be true. Trimming your hedge with a pair of scissors is probably not going to cut it, if you excuse the terrible pun. 

That’s all well and good, but how exactly do you know which software to choose? With such a huge range of available tech, the differences aren’t always as simple and obvious as between a pair of scissors and a hedge-trimmer, but that’s why we’re here.

Firstly, let’s summarise.

There are a few important things you need to consider when it comes to choosing the right technology;

  • Firstly, the purpose of the tech. You need to consider carefully whether or not it aligns with your business goals. Remember that terrible hedge-trimmer analogy?

  • Secondly, the ubiquity of the tech, or rather, how widely used the particular software is. A more ubiquitous tech naturally has a wider range of support, and as such, it’ll generally be easier (and thus cheaper) to find competent developers with the necessary experience. Plus, if it’s used by many more businesses, it’s probably set to stand the test of time.

  • And lastly - but definitely not leastly - whether or not your chosen software is open or closed source. This will undoubtedly bring up issues of cost, usability and security. There’s no definitive answer for which is best, but if you’re looking for a cheaper option, open-source is usually the way to go.

But that’s far from an exhaustive list.

There are still many other factors that come into play when choosing the right software for your business. Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Let’s say you’re building a system where you need to service a huge number of users outside of your organisation. Here, it’d be best to look at client-side frameworks, so you can take advantage of your clients machines instead of offloading too much stress on your own servers.

  • If the users were inside your organisation, for example a large sales team who need to collaborate, consider a desktop application. This would have the advantage of keeping most of the infrastructure of the application local, so once installed, only raw data is transmitted between the client and the server, leading to a snappier experience all round.

  • In the same vein, responsive-design web applications can allow you to use systems across a variety of devices, without requiring any software updates. The only issue here however is that the user experience can be significantly impacted by a lousy internet connection. Responsive applications are best for those with good internet connections, but would rather avoid installing updates.

  • For heavy calculations, MS Excel is still a great way to go, because it’s so familiar to many. Clever use of macros and VBA (these are advanced features of Excel) can turn simple spreadsheets into powerful and robust tools that almost resemble bespoke software packages.

  • Although not used very often any more, MS Access is still a quick and easy way to deal with small databases, too. It can be very cost-effective if already used by the organisation.

So, in short, the most expensive doesn’t always mean the best. More often than not, software specifically chosen for your requirements - rather than a catch-all super-program - will not only help deliver a much better ROI, but you may even find that it does the job a little better. What’s not to like?

Still feel none the wiser? Or just need a little help deciding? We’re here to help. Drop us a call or an email and we’ll help you choose the perfect fit.

The Perils of Home-Grown Spreadsheets: When To Contact a Consultant!

Bespoke software can be a fantastic way to save a bit of bank, especially when you don’t require a fully fledged software system that does everything from automating invoices to making you a hot cuppa in the morning. But how far can a home-grown spreadsheet go? In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the common issues that arise, and when it’s probably about time to contact a consultant!

Analysing data, automating tasks, streamlining business processes; a Spreadsheet can be a powerful tool in the right hands. But, like the tender leaves of a Bonsai Tree, they need care, attention and a loving prune once in a while if they are to stand the test of time.

Often a spreadsheet solution arises out of a specific business need - but, then again, what type of solution doesn’t - and it falls to your local tech guy or gal to take it upon themselves to create it. It’s all well and good, and it works just fine; exactly as intended. But the lack of formal training in spreadsheet design may yet reveal itself as a problem further down the line... 

These hand-made solutions often work well. For a while. But over time new requirements are added, staff members (that actually knew what was going on) move on, newbies start adding more and more code, tangling and weaving like a kid’s bowl of spaghetti, and eventually you end up with a bloated, tangled mess of software that no-one quite understands. Not only that, but this poor, bloated piece of software might even become slow, buggy, or just plain broken.

But, just as a weed-ridden flowerbed needs the green fingers of a gardener, the tangled roots of old spreadsheet software often needs the deft hand of an IT consultant. It’s actually a far more common problem than you’d think, stretching across all types of industry, and it’s a problem we’re often asked to deal with. 

In short, bespoke software often takes on a life of its own when multiple people contribute, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be reigned in and returned to its former, succinct glory. It’s not necessarily just a matter of cleaning out some old, nasty code though, but when it comes to rebuilding a solution, we’ve spent years refining and perfecting our spreadsheet know-how like some sort of techie Sherlock. Not to toot our own horn. 

So, terrible analogies aside, is your home-grown spreadsheet:

  • A tangled mess of code?
  • Slow?
  • Buggy?
  • Just plain broken?
  • All of the above?

Then it’s probably about time to call in the big guns. Don’t worry, we’ll have your bespoke pride-and-joy back up and running in no time.

Need help with sorting out old and outdated spreadsheet solutions, or need some new bespoke software creating? Take a glance at our website to see how we can help.

Putting the ‘Tact’ in ‘Tactical Solution’: What Exactly Do We Mean?

You may have heard IT wizards ramble on about tactical solutions, bespoke solutions and every solution under the sun. But what exactly is a tactical solution? And how does it work for businesses? In this article we’ll delve into the Better Technology psyche, and explore exactly what we mean when we say “tactical solution.”

In short, it’s pretty much exactly as it sounds - a plan or software tactically put in place to solve a specific challenge within a business. But there’s a key difference between designing a “tactical” solution and, let’s say, a “strategic” one. It may just sound like a different word for the same old thing, but when it comes to a tactical solution, it’s all about designing a plan or architecturing a piece of software quickly - and generally with a very specific goal in mind.

The buzz-phrase when it comes to tactical solutions is to deliver high on ROI, making sure to invest minimal time and budget from the client, but making as significant an impact as possible. It’s an interim, a quick-fix, and whether or not it’s a stepping stone to a larger plan, it’s a solution generally designed to scratch a very immediate itch.

Not only that, but tactical software and solutions also allow you to quickly see how a fully fledged solution might operate. The benefits of this are vast, allowing for new requirements and issues to be visualised, which can then easily be implemented, as opposed to diving straight into the fully fledged system (eg. ERP, Oracle or SAP). It’d be like bringing a brand-new toolbox full of specialist tools to put up a picture, when in reality your old-reliable hammer and nail would probably do the trick.

As you can probably imagine, a system such as this will take far longer to change, as well as potentially being far more expensive. And that’s not the aim of the game.

Let’s think of it this way.

You’re finally moving out of mum’s place, but you’re relying on a bicycle to move all of your stuff. Unsurprisingly, It’s a time-consuming venture, not to mention unreliable and generally more of a hassle than it’s worth. You’d like to start using a lorry, but unfortunately, that requires training and a significant monetary investment well above your budget and time constraints.

Do you:

  • Keep using the bicycle, despite taking forever to move all of your things?

  • Find a car within your budget and start using that in the interim until you have the required money and training for the truck?
  • Take out a huge loan so you can afford an intense HGV training course and shiny new Globetrotter?

Realistically, option two is probably the way to go. In this scenario, you may even discover that a Lorry was never actually necessary, as your trusty Ford Focus provides adequate space for all of your dusty vinyls and records. Although you’d be done in one trip, the ROI just isn’t there; huge debt, possibly months of driving lessons and good luck parking your new lorry outside your city-centre flat.

As you probably guessed, the car represents a bespoke, tactical solution. Even if you’ve got your eyes set on a brand-spanking-new HGV, the car will certainly tide you over until you’ve got the time and money.

So, why choose a tactical solution?

Whether or not a tactical solution is the right fit really boils down to what makes a tactical solution, tactical. More often than not, there’s going to be multiple possible solutions for every problem. There will be cheaper or more dear solutions, limited or more flexible options, quick-fixes and more long term solutions, but the tact comes from designing an interim solution which is the perfect fit for your business’ specific requirements.

And that’s where we come in. At Better Technology Consulting we understand that there’s never a one-size-fits-all fix, and every single business or problem is unique. Bringing a juicy combination of business know-how and technical ability, we design bespoke plans and software that put the business first, not the tech. This means that each bespoke piece of software will be precisely what you need, so you can cash in on high ROI without breaking the proverbial bank.

If you’re looking to scope up a project and need a helping hand, get in touch with us today.

Do You Need a Technology Consultant or a Freelancer? Here’s How to Decide

When it comes to navigating technical hurdles with grace and agility, there are a few options open to your business. Two of the most effective choices are hiring a technology consultant, (like the team here at BTC), or bringing in a freelancer on a one-off basis. But when is the “right” time for each of these options? In today's article, we’ll find out.

It’s no exaggeration to say that software implementations can make or break a business. When you’re looking for a solution that’s going to streamline your workflow and allow your employees to do their jobs better, getting it right is essential. Just as having the right tool for a DIY task can make all the difference, so too can choosing the right technical solution provider pay huge dividends. Having said that, you don’t always need to bring in the big guns for smaller tasks. Which raises a question: when do you need a tech consultant, and when will a one-off freelance contract be the better choice?

When to choose a technology consultant

There’s no getting around it: hiring a technology consultant is the more expensive choice. However, as you’re likely well aware, cost is often the least important factor – especially when it comes to software. A technology consultant is the clear choice for any task that requires a large scope, such as a multi-user system that will be used day-in and day-out. Likewise, a technology consultant is ideal if you know what the problem is, but you’re not sure of the solution. The reason? Well, a technology consultancy firm will have a huge toolkit and pool of experience to draw from. They can use this to analyse your unique challenges, then propose and develop a bespoke solution that’s 100% tailored to your business. Pretty neat, right? A technology consultant is the ideal choice for the development of large-scale software solutions that you’re planning to become a key component of your everyday business. When there’s little room for failure, or when time is tight, a tech consultant can be a real lifesaver.

When to choose a freelancer

An important part of running a business is prioritisation, and it’s this skill that’ll let you know when a freelancer could save you a bit of dough. Generally speaking, hiring in a freelancer on a one-off basis is going to be far less costly than a tech consultant – and for good reason. With resources, expertise, and experience limited to just one person, a freelancer is ideal for smaller jobs with a more narrow scope. For example, let’s imagine you have a few gigabytes worth of customer data that needs to be imported from one system to another. Tedious work, yes, but does it really require a bespoke solution designed from the ground up? Probably not. In this case, a freelancer is the perfect way to get the job done in good time without breaking the bank. Even better, freelance resources can be found in no time using one of the ubiquitous auction-style websites like oDesk or Upwork. One word of warning when heading into freelance contracts: manage your expectations!

 

How much does your project matter?

When it comes down to it, the decision about whether or not to hire a technology consultant or a freelancer is all about the scale of your project. No matter if you’re a start-up looking for a software backbone for your business, or a long-established firm who needs to step things up, any large-scale software project will always be handled better by a tech consultant. Ask yourself the question: how much does this project matter to the business? If we’re talking about mission-critical, high-value, day-to-day essential business factors, you’ll want to work with the best and have the job done to the highest possible standard. On the flipside, if you just want a few files moved around or to migrate to a new operating system, well, a quality freelancer will provide just what you need. Want to talk more about how a technology consultant could solve your business challenges? Get in touch with the BTC team today and we’ll help get you on the right track.

What's your thought process when it comes to deciding on a tech consultant or freelancer? If your business does things differently to our rationale, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below or via social media. And when you're ready to hire a technology consultant that really knows its stuff, the team at here BTC will be waiting to hear from you.