For independent software vendor (ISV)s or businesses who depend upon software to be both operational and profitable, managing core organizational commitments while transforming their innovative software ambitions into reality often leads to delayed time-to-market or launching of a sub-standard product. Once an idea is finalized, ISVs want to convert that idea into a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for a soft launch to gauge market reactions. They want to achieve this as fast as possible and with least capital expenses and liability. This situation can be addressed by partnering with external firms who are experts in product engineering and application development that work as fully integrated part of your internal team – fully invested in the success of your application.
Before we get to the why, lets quickly review what product engineering services are.
Product Engineering explained:
The term product engineering is often used by companies who offer design, development, testing and maintenance of custom developed software solutions and products. It refers to the entire product life cycle right from conceptualization to deployment to ensure a software system functions as expected. The product engineering concept originally referred to building varied products, but nowadays it has become synonymous to custom software development.
As per a survey by Deloitte, “59% companies outsource for cost optimization, whereas 31% want to achieve better product and service quality through outsourcing. 57% organizations indicated that they considered outsourcing to be able to better focus on their core business, and 47% did so for getting quick access to high quality technology capabilities. ”
How to assess a product engineering partner:
When choosing a product engineering partner, decision makers should assess the following to ensure the organization fits with their culture as well as can drive successful outcomes:
- Skill sets and certifications in the latest development technologies
- Understanding of legacy/ current enterprise systems and the best ways to modernize or integrate with new systems
- Ability to assess and conceptualize ideas and create comprehensive engineering documentation so everyone is on the same page
- Expertise to provide product maintenance as well as re-engineering services whenever required, at a fixed resource cost or annual maintenance cost (AMC).
For a full list of criteria to evaluate your next product engineering partner, download a copy of the Digital Transformation Partner Evaluation Checklist.
Companies who offer product engineering services will assess your original concept from an agnostic viewpoint, and evaluate what will work best for the business. As an ISV or Product owner, your role will be to co-ordinate with the teams on both sides for the status updates while you focus on your core business strategies. Product engineering partners can bridge resource or skill gaps through to taking full responsibility for a high quality and consistent product release via agile software development.
Leveraging a product engineering partner can accelerate timely as well as quality product delivery to meet your time to market goals. But there is more! Here are some additional benefits to be gained:
- Core product engineering expertise: Product development and engineering must be extremely agile to adapt to ever changing business and user requirements. If you are not in the core IT business, having resources who can adapt to this change, innovate and improve the product periodically can be very challenging. In such cases, working with an experienced product development partner with relevant experience and expertise provides keen insights on how to evolve product functionality, improve process flow, elevate the user experience and much more.
- Eliminates risk: The product engineering life cycle has a lot of risk. One wrong prediction or decision and the entire cycle could be in jeopardy. When a non-IT firm decides to take on development in-house, the need for expertise in multiple areas like technical feasibility, project planning and execution, proper testing methods and devices etc. can turn out to be a major challenge. When you work with external service provider, all these risks are mitigated as this is what they specialize in. Delivering a well-tested and well-developed product within a defined timeline and budget is the primary livelihood and goal of their business.
- Reduces budget uncertainty: When you work with an external provider, you are aware of the entire cost structure before you begin the project. A proper project cost estimate includes defined project sprints and payment phases which are pre-approved by both parties. Costs are not variable unless changes are made in your requirements. When you are developing in-house, the tendency of making changes throughout the project increases. These feature changes, sudden adjustments in methodology, tools and devices needed, and more can have a direct impact on project cost.
- Project management efficiency: A core IT product engineering service provider usually follows an agile methodology for product engineering. Agile methodology in project management is a process where team manages a project by breaking it up into several stages called “sprints”. During each of these sprints, the client and service provider teams plan, execute and evaluate the project progress together, which gives them a chance to introduce minor feature updates / changes during the development cycle without increasing the project duration and cost but improving the final product in the process.
- Continuous improvement: With a wide variety of client project experience, the product engineering firm can better predict how far an existing technology can be stretched and how it can apply to different facets of the customer experience. You gain access to expanded services and trending, modern technologies that can both improve the product as well as affect the overall bottom line in increased sales conversions, better customer engagement and more. These specialized IT service providers offer a wide range of expertise and quality services under a single roof, which provides both the opportunity to continuously improve as well as gives a competitive advantage.
Build v/s Buy is always a tough decision which must be evaluated. In cases where organizations don’t have internal IT skills, ‘buy’ can be a much better option from a cost, quality and time to market perspective. As technologies evolve and are adopted by enterprises, the role of product engineering partners will be pivotal, from initial conceptualization through to post-deployment support.
Technology innovation is continual and has the power to revolutionize your go-to-market on many levels. A product built on a solid foundation with cutting-edge technology and a powerful user experience will position you for success. If you are looking for a product engineering partner or have any questions –Contact Us !