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Software Development Consultancy Meaning and How It Can Help Your Business

Updated 27 May 2021

Published 14 Jan 2021

13 Min

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Digitalization has begun to gain momentum in recent years. Many companies now follow the motto “Go digital or go home.” As a result, the demand for IT services has grown exponentially. Companies looking for help with IT turn to software development consulting services more often due to convenience and cost-effectiveness of this model. Its popularity peaked in 2020 when the software consulting market size value reached $162.32 billion.

Software development consulting statistics

Software development consulting industry statistics.

In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about software development and consulting. You’ll learn the main pros and cons of this approach, benefits for business, and steps you should take before hiring a company to deliver those services.

What Is Software Development Consulting?

Before diving deeper into the subject, let’s take a closer look at what software consulting is. Software development consulting stands for providing expert IT knowledge to companies to suggest a solution to their problems.

Software development consulting services are mainly used by companies that need an outside, unbiased opinion on a particular business decision related to technologies. And this opinion is provided by software consultants.

Besides expert advice, a consulting company can often provide the necessary IT services to implement the recommended solution into the business. However, in this case, a company no longer provides consulting services and turns into a software development company.

The Main Responsibilities of a Software Development Consultant

The main role of a software consultant is to recommend an optimal technical solution to help businesses solve problems and achieve their goals.

However, the responsibilities of a software consultant aren’t limited to recommendations alone. They include:

  • Gathering business information and requirements. Consultants need to know everything about the business they assist. This includes business scope, industry, workflow, and other aspects.
  • Recommending a suitable implementation. Based on the gathered data, the consultant must select a solution that will best suit the company in terms of available resources.
  • Collaborating with developers and coordinating the development process. If the solution requires development from scratch, the software development consultant teams up with the development team to oversee the entire development process and transfer the correct vision of the final product to the developers. There are also cases when consulting companies have required talents and experience to provide IT services. This way, a company may act as an IT service provider.
  • Testing solutions for correct work. The developed solution must work as intended and must be smoothly integrated into the company's business processes. Together with QA engineers, the consultant tests the final product to deliver a bug-free solution.

Benefits of Software Development Consulting Services for Business

Now that you know what software development consulting is all about, it’s time to list the benefits that businesses get from hiring a software development consultant.

Technical Planning

After you’ve discussed requirements and business goals with consultants, they can start developing a strategy with goal achievement in mind. That being said, careful planning of this process is also an essential step.

The consultant set priorities to create a clear technology implementation plan that doesn’t interrupt existing business operations and aimed to introduce new technologies as soon as possible.

Modern Technologies

Technology doesn’t stand still, and if your business doesn’t implement modern technologies in the workflows, it’ll become much more challenging to compete with rivals. Software development consultants assist businesses in technology selection and implementation to help them save money in the long-term.

Besides, if your staff aren’t tech-savvy, software development consultants take on the responsibility of training personnel to work with a newly implemented solution.

More Time for Business Operations

Business owners often have many things to worry about and must focus on many business-related operations. An urgent technology update may require a lot of time that can be spent on other aspects related to the core business.

So another reason why companies hire software development consultants is to keep focus on their business instead of focusing on IT operations.

Pros and Cons of Hiring Software Development Consultant

Like any other cooperation model, software development consulting services have their pros and cons that you should know about.

Pros of Consulting Services

Let’s start by highlighting the main strengths of choosing these services.

Cost-effectiveness

Achieving business goals while reducing costs is any company’s goal. Hiring a permanent consultant for a team can be time-consuming, and an employee's annual paycheck can hit the budget. The median annual salary for a consultant reaches $76,500.

Instead of looking for an individual employee for your in-house team, you can contact a company that provides such services. There’s a range of companies on the market with different rates and a pool of tech specialists that can consult you. As a result, you’ll always find the most suitable and cost-effective solution for your business.

Expert opinion

Companies that provide software development consulting services are always on the cutting edge of technologies and are ready to provide expert advice to other businesses. As a result, you’ll get the latest information about technological trends and an unbiased opinion about what technologies can help your company with a particular problem.

Lower risks

Turning to a professional software consulting company, you significantly reduce risks connected with introducing new solutions into the business. Experienced software development consultants know the ins and outs of this process. They can plan a smooth update process and migrate all business data.

Industry experts

Cooperating with software consulting companies, you can work with experienced IT industry experts who can find an approach to your business. Besides, modern technologies are what all consulting companies specialize in. Tell them your business goals and requirements, and you’ll get an advanced solution created that follows your business objectives.

Cons of Consulting Services

Deciding to turn to software development consulting, you should keep in mind some drawbacks of consulting services.

Communication difficulties

Being able to choose any company and work with professionals from any country in the world definitely sounds exciting. However, don’t forget that you may speak a different language and have a different business culture. So communication difficulties can arise. This can lead to misunderstandings and missed deadlines.

However, it’s not typically the case with experienced companies that have a good reputation on the market.

Time zone difference

This is another fairly common pitfall of working with foreign consulting companies. While a consultant on the other side of the world is already working and wants to discuss with you some aspects of the project, you can still be asleep. This problem can be partially solved by drawing up a meeting schedule that’ll be convenient for both parties.

The Workflow of Software Development and Consulting

Software development consulting services is a multistep process. Consultants get acquainted with the client's business requirements, offer a solution to achieve business goals, sometimes develop it, and provide post-release support. Each point of this cycle should be considered in more detail to clarify the overall service process.

Discovery Phase

It’s impossible to come up with a tech strategy and proceed to development without a thorough study of the client's business. Discovery phase is what helps consultants to get acquainted with the business they’re going to work with.

During this phase, consultants hold meetings with the client to collect information about the business, gather requirements, and analyze its pain points. All this data will help consultants find the perfect solution that suits business goals and needs.

All information and requirements are packed into a specification that contains all the features and technologies on the project and greatly simplifies communication between business and developers. Without customer approval of the specification, further stages can’t start.

Specification example

Specification example

The last stage of this phase is the choice of how a recommended solution will be implemented. A consultant can rely on their management skills and team up with the client’s development team to manage the development process from start to finish. Another option is to select a consulting company as the main IT service provider to build the solution from scratch.

Whatever the choice, the client will face a pretty standard development cycle with the stages that we discuss below.

Product Design

After collecting all the information, designers begin to sketch out the appearance of the app and make wireframes, which are a schematic representation of the app screens and the transitions between them.

Wireframes examples

Wireframes variants for different apps.

After that, wireframes are approved by quality assurance engineers. They exclude logical issues to provide the business owner with the polished wireframes. Once approved by the client, designers create full-fledged mockups, which are the final version of each screen. Upon completion of the design phase, all mockups are transferred to developers.

Product Development

This stage marks the beginning of active development. Developers implement features, testers check their performance, and this continues until all the agreed functionality is implemented. The customer is always aware of the development process, thanks to scheduled meetings and reports provided by the vendor.

Delivery Phase

After project development is finished, the vendor transfers the final product to the customer, and the project goes into the release stage. If there’s a need, customers can ask for additional assistance in mastering and training staff to work with a new product. In that case, the company provides a team of consultants, and they conduct the onboarding process.

Another aspect of this stage is post-release support for the project aimed at making minor tweaks and edits based on the client’s feedback.

How to Hire Software Development Consultant

Before you start looking for a company that provides software development consulting services, you need to choose where to look for it. It’s crucial not to neglect this since the price of services, the convenience of communication and management depend on the vendor’s location.

You have a choice between three types of companies: onshore, nearshore, and offshore.

Onshore companies

The distinguishing feature of onshore companies is that they’re located in the same country as you. The vendor may be located in another city, state, or region, but most importantly, it’s within your country’s borders.

Software development consulting outsourcing

Onshore outsourcing example.

This is a pretty convenient option since there are no language or cultural differences.

On the other hand, this kind of outsourcing can hit your pocket hard, especially if you live in the USA, Australia, or Canada. According to Clutch and GoodFirms, the average hourly rate can start from $150 and above in these regions.

Nearshore companies

Companies of this category are located in your country’s neighborhood, and often the time interval between your and the vendor's country is no more than 1-3 hours. For example, you live in Poland, and you can find an outsourcing vendor in Ukraine, Germany, or the Czech Republic.

Software development consulting outsourcing

Nearshore outsourcing example.

This option is quite cost-effective compared to onshore. For example, in Ukraine, the hourly rate doesn’t exceed $50, while the rate in Germany ranges from $80 to $100.

Offshore companies

Offshore companies aren’t only located in other countries, but also in other regions, and there can be a considerable time difference. For example, your company is located in Washington, USA, and you hired offshore developers from Kharkiv, Ukraine, to work on the project. In this case, prepare for a serious time zone difference, since the working day in Ukraine starts at 8:00 AM, while in Washington it’s only 1:00 AM.

Software development consulting outsourcing

Offshore outsourcing example.

The significant advantage of this outsourcing type is a huge selection of companies from all over the world. As a result, it’s very easy to find a company that suits your project best.

How to Approach Software Development Consulting Services

Now it’s time to talk about how to find a software development consulting company step by step.

Step #1: Define your goals and requirements

Before you start looking for software consulting vendors, you should do a little homework, namely, determine the project requirements and business goals you want to achieve. You must clearly answer the following questions:

  • What is the problem facing the business?
  • In what way or solution do you want to fix it?
  • What should be in the solution to meet the business requirements?

Knowing the answers will greatly simplify further negotiations with representatives of consulting companies.

Step #2: Make a list of vendors

The next step is the search for companies that provide software development consulting services. They can be easily found using specialized platforms such as Clutch, GoodFirms IT Firms, and others. They collect data about IT companies from all over the world and conveniently catalog it for easier searching.

When searching, pay attention to companies’ portfolios, projects they previously worked on, and their industries’ expertise. This will give you a clear picture of whether the company is suitable for your task, or is it better to look for another one.

Step #3: First contact

After the list is made, it's time to contact companies and discuss your project and future cooperation prospects. Listen carefully to what the companies have to offer, what pricing policies they offer, and what consultants they can provide.

Step #4: Final decision

After negotiating with all companies, it’s time to choose the one that suits you best. Weigh the pros and cons to choose the company you’ll cooperate with in the future.

How Cleveroad Can Help You

Here at Cleveroad, we have extensive consulting experience, and over the years, we’ve helped many businesses in various industries find the right technologies to solve their problems. Our experienced consultants will select the perfect tech solution that can boost your business, and our developers will build it from scratch, taking into account your requirements and business goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Software development consulting stands for providing expert IT knowledge to companies to suggest a solution to their problems.

Software development consulting services are mainly used by companies that need an outside, unbiased opinion on a particular business decision related to technologies. And this opinion is provided by software consultants.

The main responsibilities of a software consultant are:

  • Gathering business information and requirements. Consultants need to know everything about the business they assist. This includes business scope, industry, workflow, and other aspects.

  • Recommending a suitable implementation. Based on the gathered data, the consultant must select a solution that will best suit the company in terms of available resources.

  • Collaborating with developers and coordinating the development process. If the solution requires development from scratch, the software development consultant teams up with the development team to oversee the entire development process and transfer the correct vision of the final product to the developers. There are also cases when consulting companies have required talents and experience to provide IT services. This way, a company may act as an IT service provider.

  • Testing solutions for correct work. The developed solution must work as intended and must be smoothly integrated into the company's business processes. Together with QA engineers, the consultant tests the final product to deliver a bug-free solution.

Follow these steps to find software consulting vendor for your business:

  • Step #1: Define your goals and requirements
  • Step #2: Make a list of vendors
  • Step #3: Contact all vendors and negotiate with them
  • Step #4: Make a final decision based on negotiations result

Software consulting services have several strengths that you should be aware of:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • You receive expert opinion
  • Lower risks
  • You work with industry experts

Software consulting services has few minor drawbacks due to opportunity to hire company from any part of the world:

  • Communication difficulties
  • Time zone difference

You have a choice between three types of companies: onshore, nearshore, and offshore.

  • Onshore companies are located in the same country as you. The vendor may be located in another city, state, or region, but most importantly, it’s within your country’s borders.
  • Nearshore companies are located in your country’s neighborhood, and often the time interval between your and the vendor's country is no more than 1-3 hours.
  • Offshore companies aren’t only located in other countries, but also in other regions, and there can be a considerable time difference.
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Comments

4 comments
MB
Maurice Black
22.01.2021 at 07:34

Good piece of information. I believe that software consulting is the future, as only a qualified consultant can select the most suitable technologies for business development.

AK
Alberte Kristensen
28.01.2021 at 05:13

Great article! Keep it up!

EN
Enrique Navarro
06.02.2021 at 08:43

I had no idea that this type of service exists in IT. In my opinion, this type of consultation can have a very positive effect on business and the speed of new technologies implementation.

FM
Frank Miller
21.02.2021 at 05:10

Very informative, good work!

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