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There are many different types of projects. For example, implementing cloud computing consulting services into your client’s operations, injecting embedded software services with the help of a dedicated software team, or even putting together that new piece of IKEA furniture.
Regardless of whether these projects occur inside or outside the office – what do they all have in common?
Without a plan, they will never succeed.
So, why should your software development efforts be any different? Especially, as your customers now expect more than ever from you, regardless of the digital channel they interact with you on. The question is then, how can you ensure you’re able to meet your customers’ needs in today’s fast-paced marketplace?
This article will outline what types of software development might work best for you by giving you a brief overview of each area, and highlighting the value this software could bring to your organization.
What are some of the main areas of software development, which software area best suits your needs, and how can each one ensure better experiences for your customers?
Front-end development handles anything your customers engage with, like, for example, your website. Front-end developers ensure your customers can interact with any of your channels, while fixing any bugs they encounter along the way.
Think of them as sculptures or designers – they create the look of your channels alongside your UX & UI professionals, but they don’t tinker with the engine that drives these channels forward. For that, you need a different team specialized in a different area of software development – back-end development.
While your front-end developers ensure that everything on your channels looks professional, it’s your back-end developers that ensure that everything your front-end developers do has a smooth, solid foundation to build on.
After all, the best websites or applications are only as good as the infrastructure that supports them, and this is where back-end developers shine.
In short, if front-end developers are your designers, back-end developers are your mechanics. They work behind the curtain, in concert with your front-end developers, to ensure all your channels’ technical needs are met to keep them up-and-running. This also includes increasing, when needed, scalability and security.
Full-stack development combines the best of front– and back-end development, which might look good on paper but sadly, things aren’t that simple here.
In the short term, full-stack software development is an area that may save money, but this approach usually involves highly skilled people – sometimes even just one person – working across all your front- and back-end needs.
This, of course, means an increased workload, which inevitably leads to slower turnaround times. Which is why most developers and companies opt for hiring a dedicated software development team as it means faster turnaround times and better results.
Web development focuses on building web applications that need to work in any browser, across any device. This is crucial, as ecommerce is seeing a year-on-year increase in the mobile market, with mobile commerce currently making up 7,9% of total ecommerce sales.
This means that while your front and back-end developers help you create a highly responsive website, you are missing out on a lot of money if you fail to optimize for mobile. This is where some skilled web developers can help.
Mobile development refers to applications that run on smartphones, tablets, and some wearables. However, it doesn’t include optimizing websites for mobile. Think of the difference between watching a video on YouTube on your phone through your preferred browser or the app.
If given the choice, you would use the app. But if you did click on a link that took you to YouTube through your browser this would be the domain – no pun intended – of YouTube’s web development team. Meanwhile, anything to do with the application would fall under the remit of their mobile development team.
This is the difference between these two areas of software development, and while there might be a little confusion for some around where one ends and the other begins, both play a key role in meeting your customers’ needs.
Moving to the cloud saved many businesses in 2020/21. In the absence of face-to-face meetings, many consulting firms needed to find a way to keep their businesses afloat, and this was when many of them discovered the benefits of cloud computing consulting services.
But how does cloud computing benefit you? In short, it lets your customers and your teams’ access both internal and external services from anywhere in the world. For example, your website is more than likely hosted on a cloud-based server, while many of your internal documents might be shared through Google Docs – another cloud-based platform.
Cloud computing development ensures all of this runs smoothly in the background – making it a key area of software development for your business. Especially if you currently have a hybrid working model in place, or your customers are based across the globe rather than in one centralized location.
Embedded software development
Embedded software development works on exactly what you expect – software within a larger system. For example, the parking sensors in your car, or the lens in the camera on your phone.
In short, if you want your technology to communicate through a state-of-the-art Internet of Things (IoT), these are the people you call. They use middleware to ensure hardware (the physical components of machines) can communicate with software (the programming within these components) to make certain critical functions of your product or service keep working.
Therefore, if you want to sell anything that relies on embedded systems, then building or improving this type of software development within your business is essential. In particular, if you want to ensure your product or system works 24/7 – which will, of course, provide the experience your customers expect.
Data science development
Data science is currently in high demand. Why? Well, the great thing about interacting with your customers on digital channels is that you already know their history with you, including what channels they prefer to contact you on and all their interactions with your company. But how can you use it?
This is where data science comes in. This area of software development can take all your customers’ data and predict their future behaviors and needs before they even interact with you again.
This might sound amazing but be aware that while this new software development type seems to be the Holy Grail in terms of improving customer experience, it’s still a developing area that still has many complications. This includes a lack of data scientists and an unreliable, predictive methodology which doesn’t fully understand customers yet.
However, as AI algorithms improve, so too will this type of software development, so it’s worth integrating data science into your strategies sooner, rather than later.
Protecting data is more important than ever, especially considering the ever-increasing number of cyber-attacks and the passing of data privacy laws such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
This is why you need to have a team of security specialists on your team who can build software specifically designed to protect your customers’ data and your own. But that’s not all – having security experts on your team will also give you access to a group of professionals who possess the knowledge to test your new software’s resilience to attack. It might seem strange, but the main focus for this type of software development is, in fact, trying to breach the technology created by your own team.
Only by doing this will you really know if your data is secure. But remember, this isn’t a one-and-done scenario. Hackers are looking for exploits in your technology 24/7 – therefore your security engineering team needs to be equally vigilant. They must consistently check and update your data privacy systems, so that if malicious actors do attack them, you won’t lose the trust of your stakeholders – or worse, your customers.
Your software development type is just the beginning
It’s important to know the main areas of software development and how they can improve your customer experience. But how do you make these benefits a reality in your organization – especially if you’re not a tech-based business?
Firstly, you can investigate partnering with a company who has experience working on different types of software development projects, or maybe just specializes in the one or two areas you need to improve your customer experiences. The good thing about working with an experienced partner is that, along with getting proven software development experience, you also gain access to a team structure that suits your business needs quickly and easily.
But choosing a partner is only half the story. You will also need to decide what type of software development best works for you – the bespoke method or a more off-the-shelf approach? The bespoke approach obviously has more benefits, but it’s not suitable for every scenario – particularly a situation where you need a solution fast, or when you need a generic business process automated.
Worried? Don’t be. If you do your research, listen to every idea, and distill the best ones down into a workable design and development plan, you’ll be fine. Don’t be afraid to iterate your software development approach when necessary. After all, iteration is the key to spurring innovation across your organization and innovation is the secret to generating the experiences your customers expect from you in today’s fast-paced marketplace.
About the authorSoftware Mind
Software Mind provides companies with autonomous development teams who manage software life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. For over 20 years we’ve been enriching organizations with the talent they need to boost scalability, drive dynamic growth and bring disruptive ideas to life. Our top-notch engineering teams combine ownership with leading technologies, including cloud, AI, data science and embedded software to accelerate digital transformations and boost software delivery. A culture that embraces openness, craves more and acts with respect enables our bold and passionate people to create evolutive solutions that support scale-ups, unicorns and enterprise-level companies around the world.