When you're faced with choosing a software development consultant or "dev shop", it can be hard to know where to start.
Every development shop is different. Some of them will specialize in certain technologies. Others focus on touting the process by which they perform their work, regardless of technology choice. Still others emphasize their security expertise or industry-specific experience.
1. Deliver custom software. The primary job of software development firm is to create customized software that's specific to your project. Many times, off-the-shelf software won't be the best fit for new research study or trial. A good dev shop will work hard to understand the nature of your project, then design and develop the software components necessary to ensure a successful outcome.
2. Securely collect and store data. Your project will almost certainly handle data that needs to be stored and transmitted securely. A dev shop should ensure that all software created for your project keeps your data safe, whether that means storing it securely in the cloud or utilizing data storage at your institution.
3. Upgrade and maintain existing software. Once software is developed for your project, it will almost always need to be upgraded and maintained. Even when enhancements and bug fixes are held to a minimum, underlying operating system updates often require updates to your project software as well.
4. Monitor software usage, security, and performance. Your dev shop can also monitor software use to make sure everything is running smoothly and data is being kept secure throughout your project. They can check on overall performance of the software and problem-solve as issues arise.
5. Provide advice on investment strategy, trade offs, and ROI analysis. One of the most valuable aspects of working with a dev shop is getting advice on how software should be created for your project. There are multiple ways to incorporate software into a project, but sometimes the most obvious answer is not going to serve you well. Some solutions will be more cost-effective or long-lasting than others, and by working with you on your specific needs, your dev shop can help you analyze your options effectively.