A software development proper planning, as well as high awareness about project processes along with expertise are extremely important factors that often receive less attention than it’s needed. Many companies act as simple contractors, taking on only the code writing task while ignoring all the associated aspects. Ultimately, clients get a product which doesn’t fully coincide with the ideas and goals that are laid in it, doesn’t fit the market properly and as a result fails.
The way out of this situation is a significant analytical work which should precede the development itself. However, if you involve outside specialists in such work, you need to spend additional time and money. Moreover, you can’t be sure that the expert opinion on a particular feature will fully meet the technical capabilities for its implementation. Third-party experts don’t always generate a strategy, convert needs into a clear plan of action, analyze the infrastructure and accompany the project at all stages of cooperation. In an attempt to save customers from such problems, MassMedia Group decided to include in our comprehensive Custom Software Solution service an extensive analysis of business needs and business logic as well as their transformation into technical tasks. All this is called IT consulting, and today we will give a detailed explanation why this service is important and what does it give you as a customer at each development stage.
What is IT consulting?
IT consulting is a service that provides company’s expertise at all stages of the IT product life cycle - starting from planning up to the development of new versions.
The main goal of IT consulting is to analyze your business goals, ideas, needs and requirements transforming them afterwards into a comprehensive technical plan for creating an IT product that is perfect for your business.
IT consulting includes assessment, planning and expert advice on everything regarding creation, implementation, development, along with integration of the created product to increase efficiency and quality of software implementation. Additionally, IT consulting can be a great help in the challenging task of costs optimization.
IT consulting is an integral part of the Custom Software Solution service. You can read more about it in the article What are custom IT solutions and how they can benefit your business | C.S.S.
When does a company need IT consulting?
.1 When you only have an idea and vision of a future application, but you do not know how to implement them
The primary function of IT consulting is to prepare the project for launch. During IT consulting process ideas, goals, needs, desired competitive advantages and customer requirements are clarified. A comprehensive assessment makes it possible to understand what kind of IT-product and in what configuration the client needs for ideas and goals fulfillment.
.2 When you need a comprehensive assessment of the necessary resources and capabilities to launch an IT product
IT consulting provides an opportunity to assess, analyze the business infrastructure of the company, get expert advice to improve it, choose the best options that will help ensure the most effective implementation of the IT product.
.3 When a company plans to take the business to a higher level and requires recommendations for specific activities
A common business problem is that at the project beginning, entrepreneurs don’t know what steps they should take and what difficulties they may encounter. In this case, contacting specialists will help to create a smart plan built according to existing models.
.4 When a company needs comprehensive intellectual support for specific business projects
Experts begin to analyze real opportunities and prospects, select an information platform to ensure effective project management, and support project until completion.
.5 When there is a necessity to ensure information security of a business
This includes creating a secure IT product that is stored on trusted servers and provides maximum data security.
Stages at which IT consulting is provided
Creating a software product is a complex process that consists of different stages.
One of IT consulting’s main features is comprehensiveness and support at all stages of the product life cycle. Let's dwell in more detail to understand the role that IT consulting plays at each of these stages.
This stage mainly concerns a future product’s planning. Here we conduct a full assessment and analysis of business needs and goals for further work.
We inspect ideas, desired competitive advantages, customer requirements etc. Then we conduct a comprehensive evaluation to understand what kind of IT product and in which configuration the client requires. Particularly, this part of IT consulting includes:
- assessment of the necessity and potential effectiveness of certain software solutions;
- feasibility study (PoC - Proof of Concept);
- check for compliance of required IT product and business goals;
- check for compliance with the needs of software target audience;
Also, an IT consulting implies inventory of the client’s IT infrastructure, during which the following is carried out:
- assessment of IT infrastructure level compliance with the solutions;
- formation of conclusions and recommendations regarding IT infrastructure;
- investigation of the client’s information security level (assessment of the current level of security, potential risks, localization of possible threats, compliance with standards and laws, formation of recommendations and requirements).
Next, we generate a strategy and clarify details regarding the creation, implementation and development of an IT product. We create several solutions for implementation of the goals, needs, requirements and competitive advantages necessary for your business. After that, we select IT solutions and technologies that are most suitable for business goals and objectives. We determine the need for implementation of new technologies into the IT product, such as AI, machine learning, and blockchain.
All in all, the created model is checked for the goals and objectives of the client and a decision is made (together with the client) which IT product is needed after all. To be precise, during IT consulting at this stage we:
- demonstrate the created model;
- give recommendations regarding the need to implement new technologies into the company or project;
- give recommendations on the need to optimize business processes;
- offer a plan for optimizing the costs of IT product implementation. There is a consultation on choosing the best pricing model when paying for the created IT product. Creation of recommendations that help the IT product include the necessary logic and functionality, which will allow optimal use of resources; approval of a rational set of solutions for creating an application.
And finally, we approve the strategy for creating software and formulate the terms of reference. At this part of IT consulting active preparations for signing the contract begin, including:
- Consultation when drawing up a contract:
- implementation of IT product’s approved strategy;
- writing down obligations of the parties;
- writing down warranties, including code warranty;
- Creating a separate NDA development contract, as well as an NDA for non-disclosure of data (if it was not signed earlier), which takes into account all the requirements for non-disclosure of information and data security;
- Detailed clarification and coordination of contract’s each and every clause; Signing of contracts.
Design & prototyping
At this stage, direct workflow planning takes place, which also requires expertise provided by IT consulting. Here, IT product implementation tactics and technical materials for its development are being created:
- we draw up or supplement the existing technical assignment for the development of an IT product. Thus, we transform the approved model for creating an IT product into a technical action plan;
- we also develop an application architecture that will help to make a high-quality software, taking into account technical standards and features of the product;
- we prepare sprint plans, tasks and their estimates, using relevant methodologies.
Additionally, we create a business process optimization plan considering the implementation of the developed IT product. Here we:
- analyze what business processes an IT solution is aimed at;
- provide expertise on how the architecture and functionality of an IT product can be implemented in business processes, as well as recommendations on how to improve them.
At the stage of product development, IT consulting is especially important. It is vital in processes that relate directly to software development. In the context of IT consulting, this stage involves expert support throughout the development. Particularly, we do the following:
- provide recommendations on efficient use of resources;
- we control compliance of tasks with the technical specifications and the approved model;
- provide consultations if it is necessary to make additional tactical decisions;
- provide advice in case of need to change requirements;
- work on estimates and financial plans if necessary;
- give assistance in making management decisions on the project;
- form several solutions if difficulties in the project implementation arise.
Also at this stage, the processing of possible problems in the process of creating an IT-product and, of course, their overcoming, takes place. How do we do that?
- we provide open communication with the client during development, keep a log of problem areas;
- we offer several options for solving problematic issues;
- we conduct CSI surveys to make it clear that we are doing everything right.
When the development stage is finished, perhaps the most exciting moment begins - deployment, commissioning and training. During this stage here goes:
Preparation and presentation for the client:
- Demonstration of IT product’s technical capabilities and their compliance with the requirements;
- Demonstration of business options and technical solutions for future versions.
Deployment at customer facilities:
- Here we consult our clients regarding management issues and creation of all the necessary facilities for the deployment of an IT product.
Formation of IT product documentation
Complete customer team training
- we create an IT product use plan with roles and instructions;
- we prepare product documentation, where we describe its features and functionality;
- we conduct training of client’s teams.
At this stage, maintenance and further development of the finished product are carried out. Read more about this in a separate article. In this one, we’ll only mention that IT consulting involves the provision of services in the “tech support” mode as soon as possible. In particular:
- We work in a “tech support” mode providing advisory control of a ready-made solution responding to customer requirements immediately (on the same day), urgently (in several days), or on schedule (on the date specified in the contract);
- We also provide customization of IT product analytics.
If it is necessary to develop new versions of the product, everything starts again and the cycle of IT consulting is repeated. The stages of planning, approval, creation, finished product and maintenance - all this will be repeated as long as the client needs it.
IT consulting has a lot of advantages, in particular, using it you will receive:
Planning, creating, maintaining an IT product and developing new versions are very diverse processes. That’s why, when analyzing them, a comprehensive approach is needed.
IT infrastructure inventory
Another advantage of IT consulting is a thorough inventory and audit of existing IT infrastructure. This allows you to develop recommendations for its improvement.
Analysis and recommendations
In the course of IT consulting, a thorough analysis of the most suitable IT products for the client is carried out, based on ideas, business needs, goals and requirements.
Transformation of clients’ business goals into a technical plan
While performing IT consulting services, our business analysts will translate your business goals and needs into an understandable technical plan of action that suits the enterprise perfectly.
Development cost optimization
IT consulting allows you to optimize the development cost through competent planning. This approach allows you to minimize possible errors, and if they arise to quickly correct them. Also, during IT consulting, the right pricing model is selected that makes it possible to choose the exact best type of cooperation.
Consultation on creating enterprise-level systems
IT consulting enables you to get comprehensive expertise on the creation and implementation of enterprise-level systems such as ERP, CRM, Business Intelligence, Groupware-systems, as well as NIS-systems.
Business Process Optimization
During IT consulting we offer our expertise to optimize your business processes using advanced IT solutions. In this case, IT consulting can not only save your time and money but also improve existing business processes with the expertise of our business analysts.
Full team training
After the development is completed and the product is released, it is necessary to teach direct users to work with it. If the software is designed for specific business requirements, one may need to make some efforts to educate users on how to use the program. That’s why we provide detailed consultation of your team in order to help them navigate freely through the interface and make full use of the embedded functionality. After all, no one knows software better than the people who developed it.
What are the benefits of IT consulting at MassMedia Group?
The combination of business and technical approaches to IT consulting
Our specialists address the IT consulting process not only from a technical point of view, but also from the perspective of business benefits. We conduct a thorough analysis of business needs, logic and other important aspects. Combining this with our technological proficiency and expertise, we don’t simply make a working software, but create a complete solution that provides a competitive advantage.
Guarantee of security, transparency and reliability of cooperation
For us, the security of our customers' data is always a top priority. That’s why we store data on secure servers, access to information for our employees is provided only after signing the NDA, and the organization of work is carried out according to the legislation of the client’s in order to avoid any legal inconsistencies.
Maximum transparency and openness in everything related to cooperation is another cornerstone that defines our approach to customers. We always jointly plan and discuss rates, evaluate tasks and the necessary resources for their implementation, as well as keep and send reports on completed and planned work. In addition, we provide our customers with a choice of several pricing models in order to select the type of cooperation that is best suited for each particular situation.
Reliability is another important factor that the MassMedia Group pays special attention to. We fix all the agreements legally by signing the NDA, a contract with a detailed description of the obligations and providing a lifetime code warranty, which is described below.
High-quality and constant communication
We provide our customers with the highest quality level of communication possible as a part of IT consulting. Our managers and technical specialists give prompt answers to any request within 30 minutes. In addition, we carry out systematic reporting on the work done, as well as conducting activities to collect feedback from the client and its constant analysis.
Advanced customer service
We treat our customers as partners. This doesn’t only mean the maximum involvement of the team in the project, but also offer of several solutions to the problems that have arisen. In other words, we treat our clients' projects as our own.
Implementing a Lifetime Code Warranty
Quality guaranteed by word is essentially worthless. You can be arbitrarily convinced that the final result will be premium, and at the end you will get a very mediocre and constantly malfunctioning product. To avoid such situations, we provide our customers with a free and lifetime warranty on the code written. This means that even if after many checks and thorough testing one of the system components fails or an unfortunate bug/defect is discovered by users, we will fix everything at our own expense and in the shortest terms possible. However, remember, the guarantee is valid only until the third-party developers make changes to the code.
So, who’s in charge here after all?
Reading all of the above, you might think that IT consulting implies that we take care of all aspects of project management, but this idea is fundamentally wrong. The owner will always be the main figure in the product’s creation process. The vision, ideas and goals always will remain a client’s task, as well as the adoption of important decisions regarding the product. The main goal of IT consulting is to provide assistance and support in the difficult way of software development. We will take care of everything related to business and technical expertise, however, the client will always make decisions.
So, we hope that now you better understand what IT consulting is and why it is so important for the success of the project. After all, it is an integrated approach that is one of the fundamental components of our products’ quality and a detailed analysis of the needs, goals and requirements is an integral part of it. To learn more about the other aspects of Custom Software Solution, read our other articles or click the ‘contact expert’ button and talk to our specialists who will tell you in detail about everything you need to know.