I met Emily at a recent IT conference. She was part of a panel discussing application and product development. Emily cautioned the audience about the perils of developing a software application for sale. Any packaged application vendor will tell you that developing a software product is not risk free. It is costly and can be disastrous. You need the right skills, processes, methodologies and oversight. Emily talked about her company’s experience and how they abandoned the project after years of work and a gargantuan budget overrun.
If your business is planning to introduce a software product, you’ll need to develop requirements, design, test concepts, develop the product, test, upgrade, provide version control and recommend appropriate architecture, develop technical and user documentation and security controls, and train, license and support the product and comply with industry standards and software engineering methodologies. Depending on the product, you may also have to design versions for mobile use and accommodate integration, system and data migration.
It isn’t enough to look for a vendor with application development experience. When you release a product into the market, you need an expert – one with experience in application AND product development and all the aforementioned skills necessary to achieve product success. You need proven processes and delivery models to support the development life cycle from concept to maintenance.
Emily talked about the need to define required features and platforms to support the end user and customer requirements and the importance of vendor domain knowledge and the ability to analyze and understand the market and industry in which you compete.