5 factors you need to take into account before choosing the right business partner

Say that you’re going to work on custom software development. You have an amazing idea, but when it comes to execution…

Custom software development is not always a bed of roses unless you find the right software development company for your project. 

You may fall for recommendations, reviews, and ratings, but you should also trust another R factor – Research. No matter what you choose, it’s good to have a list of 5 features to consider when making up your mind. And we’ve created exactly that for you. 

The importance of RFP in custom software development

Before we get round to the 5 aspects to consider, though, let us talk about one thing that could make it all easier at the very start.

RFP. 

custom software development

You should spend some time preparing a Request For Proposal for a software development company. An RFP can help you identify your goals and requirements when it comes to custom software development. Having a Request For Proposal in hand keeps the situation – and the air – clear, so that both parties know what to expect and what to demand.

The right Request For Proposal (RFP) should consist of five parts:

  • Company overview – some details about your organization so the proposal can be fully customized.
  • Project overview – all of the specifications and deliverables should be outlined upfront so they cause zero hassle later.
  • Project goals – what do you actually want to achieve? It’s important to recognize this, since a reliable business partner may suggest an alternative and possibly better solution.
  • Request for references – let your potential business partners talk through their case studies, testimonials, successes, and results. 
  • Budget – this needs to be clarified beforehand, at least to within a range. Without it, business partners won’t be able to estimate whether, and in what scope, they can get involved in a project – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Use an RFP to get potential vendors in the most time-efficient way


And it’s worth looking at it from a slightly different perspective: building a relationship based on care, communication and trust with the right custom software development company, product development company or IT outsourcing company. This way, you won’t have to settle for an unqualified consultant who doesn’t even want to understand your product, but just wants to cash you in for significant delays and an unfinished project. 

RFP is not the only element that may help with recognizing and selecting the best IT services partner. Top software development companies offer workshops where both parties can meet, specify how the collaboration should look like and share their insights, doubts and expectations. With workshops, it’s easier to evaluate whether both companies are on the same wavelength and if the collaboration has any potential to be successful.

A few factors can make or break such a relation, and we have listed them below. 

Technical skills

Although it comes across as an obvious aspect, it’s often disobeyed or neglected along the way. There are a few processes worth checking here, and a few questions to answer too. 

Not all IT services partners will be a good fit in these terms, even if they seem to be at first glance. Once you have identified your needs as precisely as possible, you can match them with provided tech skill sets and narrow down the list. 

What should you check at this stage?

  • Can they quickly adapt to changes in a project? Are they flexible? Does their technical background support implementing changes? When looking for a reliable IT services partner, you should make sure they can deliver comprehensive IT solutions in a chosen technology and react to an ever-changing environment.
  • You should always make sure that a particular IT business partner thinks about your long-term strategy. Choose business who understands your needs, but also who could recognize some bottlenecks, suggest a different yet more beneficial approach, and, in turn, deliver better projects.
  • Claiming to have a skillset is one side of the coin, but the proof is in the pudding. It’s crucial to understand the depth of their technical knowledge and whether it’s only general or rather more advanced,  in which case they could handle more challenging problems if a project is scaled up or spirals out of control. Check out whether the chosen custom software development provider is really focused on a given area of expertise and is knowledgeable enough for your project requirements.
  • Check their GIT repositories if you have some technical hands on board. Such a repository helps you grasp the idea of a particular company’s coding methods. Here you can find our repository if you’re curious to check us out. Contributions to open source solutions may also tell you a bit more about your potential IT Services Partner.
  • Verifying their set of IT languages, methodologies, tools, and communication methods is more than recommended before you reach the “let’s do it” stage. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that can help you avoid misunderstandings in the future, when it may be too late to implement changes.
  • You and your IT services partner do not have to become great friends, but you do need to make great partners who are on the same wavelength and trust each other to lead the project in the right direction. 
  • It doesn’t hurt to check presentations, conferences’ recordings, and tech blog posts released by a particular software development company. They often make a perfect way to verify knowledge and expertise. It’s worth checking the products they own, build and develop themselves, as well.
  • Also, is your business actually ready to assist in the project with essential resources and expertise when needed? Choosing a company for delivering a custom software development project is often mistaken with “getting rid of the project internally.” To make a project successful, though, it’s necessary to work on it together with a mix of tech stack delivered by the IT Services Partner and expert support on the business side. 

This all brings us to another important factor to double-check when choosing an IT Services Partner: portfolio and experience.


Even with a flawless RFP, finding the right company can be a challenge.  

We offer a free consultation with our Project Managers who can help you with writing perfect RFP.


Portfolio & experience

Choosing a custom software development company for your project shouldn’t be associated with falling for the very first company or website that caught your eye. 

What should you check at this stage? 

  • Of course, you need to check the portfolio of your potential IT Services Partner. This shouldn’t be a problem, so any reputable custom software development company wouldn’t question such a request that they know is essential for verifying compliance and level of service.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact a few of their current clients and ask about the collaboration and performance. Inquiring about a list of clients who you can contact and confirm the delivery of a product according to specification and requirements may be one of the most essential steps you can take during the verification process. 
  • If there are no publicly available testimonials on the website, it may be worth checking some listings sites. While Techreviewer and The Manifest deliver valuable info, the one that has gained the most popularity is Clutch. If a particular IT Services Partner has a well-written profile full of info (and reviews), it’s nothing but a good sign for a potential collaboration. Here you can check our Clutch profile.
  • Top custom software development companies share multiple case studies, detailed testimonials, and references. While these are not must-haves, it is worth checking whether a selected company has them on their website. They may be restricted by NDAs or a lack of time to publish complex use cases, but they may instead simply have nothing to show due to a lack of clients.

Checking as many reviews and points of reference may be tiring and tedious, but it’s an essential task to be completed. It’s equally essential, though, to check, whether there will be a cultural fit.

Core values and culture fix

Often underestimated, often overlooked and often neglected, but something that can badly damage your project from the inside. It’s important to share the same cultural fit, similar values and business “chemistry”. An IT Services Partner should be able to become an extension of your in-house team, with a complete understanding of your company values and your business goals. 

Having the right company culture can be a solid indicator of potential success, even if you don’t see it this way at first. This is why your IT Services Partner should share a very similar mission. If “there’s a match” then your communication may be more hassle-free, your work can be delivered quicker and to a higher standard, plus your goals and KPIs could even exceed expectations. 

Getting such a custom software development company on board can bring your project to seamless completion. A reliable partnership based on trust, understanding and mutual benefits will be formed and ready to unlock new possibilities for the cooperation. 

Teamwork & communication

Communication is the key to building a strong relationship between both parties. It’s understandable that this may require numerous calls, updates, stand-ups and meetings, especially in light of sudden changes to projects. Even a slight delay or modification in business needs to be communicated, so check out how your IT services partner is doing when it comes to communication, as well as how their track record on providing updates and implementing changes looks. 

Teamwork can reveal the ugly truth about each company. If it works well, both parties can be equally engaged in the project and any changes prior to updates. Does a collaboration have any chance to succeed when both teams are located in different time zones? It sure does – if the custom software development company takes it seriously then they will already have multiple tools, technologies and communication facilitators at their disposal, which they should be happy to introduce to you. 

Quick and smooth communication with some help from project management tools, assigning tasks and creating processes can really take your project places. On the other hand, a lack of any of those elements can cause miscommunication, missing deadlines, frustration and disappointment that lead to the failure of the whole project. 

Approach and transparency

For many, this is actually a starting point: begin by building trust and the right approach, then the rest will follow naturally.  

This approach is often a bone of contention, though. 

When it comes to custom software development, your IT services partner needs to take time to understand not only your business, but also the possibilities of optimizing it, recommending better solutions and suggesting different perspectives. They should have a proactive approach that may lead not only to a better customer experience, but also to better collaboration and further projects being accomplished together later. The project could be completed more efficiently and managed in a better way if both parties care about it – and that’s probably what you should aim for when it comes to custom software development. 

By choosing a business partner who claims to have skills and an understanding of your goals, but who fails to provide alternative options when technical challenges are faced, you put your project at risk. 

This is also where transparency steps up. Make sure that you have an open line of conversation with your IT services partner and openly share your thoughts and doubts. This transparency should also be upheld when it comes to resources and deliverables. Some of the top custom software development companies opt to ease the pain for non-technical clients with a straightforward and easy to read project roadmap, so that they can familiarize themselves with the project’s milestones and schedule of deliverables. 

And this transparency should be reflected in the arrangements, too. Discussing them all in detail before you decide on collaboration is the key point.  If a particular company promises the moon, better check out which moon they really mean. A red flag should be raised if you only have a limited number of support tickets to use, or if you need to pay extra for services that you always thought were included. Misunderstandings at this level may cost you a lot of money, time and nerves. 

To wrap-up

There are a few factors to check before you select a technology partner. While some questions can be answered in detail before you start a collaboration, more questions will almost certainly arise later. Since you’re going to spend quite a lot of time with a chosen IT services partner on custom software development, make sure that the choice you make is the best one you can with all of the info that you’ve gained. 

And spend some time on getting that info: check references, projects, compliance, skills and approaches to various scenarios.

By the way, Scalac ticks all of these boxes. Plus, there’s a high chance you’ll simply like and trust us, and we have quite a few reasons to back up this claim. Let’s see if we’re a match, shall we? 

Author

Maciej Greń

I am currently working in the IT industry, went from programmer to COO of Goyello ( Aspire Systems Poland now), then I was one of the founders of an IT recruiting agency called Try Catch, after that I became Head of Business Development and shareholder in Scalac Sp.z o.o. Would describe myself as an enterprise adorer and father of three.

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