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Software Services to Optimize Business Processes

Aston Technologies 29

<a href=”https://storyset.com/app">App illustrations by Storyset</a>

The world of business has evolved quickly over the last decade. With a plethora of new technologies, forms of communication, security threats, and software updates around every corner, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest technologies and best practices for your business. If you are looking to make a major change, but lack the technical experience to build out a new IT project in-house, it may be time to consider a professional IT service provider that offers the capabilities and skillsets you’re seeking. From offering a single engineer to come to your office and work full time for an extended period, to having an entire team of experts completely take over the project, there are a variety of software solutions available to fit your exact needs. So, what exactly is it that you’re looking for in a software solution?

4 Prevalent Software Service Offering Types

Application Development: This development process includes a number of steps to plan, design, test, and deploy software program(s) that perform or enhance various operational tasks that a business requires.

Direct Staff Augmentation: Direct placement of one or more specialized technical resources on an existing project that either supplement your existing team or is built from scratch based on your service needs.

Application Support: This type of service offering enables you to manage the day-to-day operational processes, identify any maintenance issues, and ensure functional end-user experiences, such as product enhancements, quality assurance, bug fixes, emergency patches, or UX improvements.

Operational Support: This method of support enables the service provider to monitor, control, implement policy, collect data, or manage user access from the back end of their product, such as cloud hosting, system administration, database management, or DevOps.

Which service offering best fits your current business needs?

Staff Augmentation vs. Managed Professional Services

Both forms of client engagement are contract-based, but the most substantial difference between staff augmentation and managed professional services is the service-level agreement (SLA) between the parties involved. Think of managed professional services more as a custom-built service plan specifically designed to meet shared business goals, and staff augmentation as single-case-based resource placements that meet the client’s predetermined position requirements and qualifications.

Staff augmentation puts a greater responsibility on the third-party service provider with minimal risk on the end client(s) by augmenting the technical capacity for a project with a dedicated engineer, or team of engineers, for a specified interim of time. These contract agreements typically meet basic industry standards and have a quick turnaround time to get things started and begin the onboarding process.

For example, a large enterprise may seek a highly skilled web developer to join their internal IT team or at their desired project location for 8–10 months. The service provider then recommends one or more suitable candidates that match the job criteria and the client hires and onboards the chosen candidate(s) to join their team as soon as possible. Once the project has been completed and the contract has come to an end, the developer(s) and end-client have zero ties or obligations to one another.

On the other hand, managed professional services are typically ongoing and rely heavily on the service provider to fully own and maintain the operations and progress of the agreed-upon service or project objectives. The SLA in these cases is tailored to fit the client’s unique business model and desired service outcomes and aligned with the capabilities the service provider can offer. These service agreements will also include hourly or fixed-bid project SOWs for every dedicated resource or team of resources needed.

For example, a mid-sized corporation may seek out a team of 7–10 senior developers to streamline their sales process by adding new sales funnels on their website and creating a centralized, backend web application for sales team members to manage all customer engagement and processes, tracking new sales from any laptop or mobile device. The service provider would then conduct an initial consultation and discovery phase to determine the appropriate solution and draft a service agreement built around the client’s specific business processes, timelines, budget, etc. before moving forward with the hiring and implementation processes. Once the service terms are finalized, the service provider would build a team of adept engineers, typically led by a dedicated IT project manager, and oversee the project to completion providing the client with frequent communication. This form of engagement is much more hands-off and requires minimal management from the client.

Finding the Right Technical Resource

There are numerous obstacles companies face when hiring engineering resources. From vetting technical aptitude to making sure they are a good culture fit for the company, it can seem like a daunting task, especially if your hiring manager is not familiar with the technologies or skills needed for the job. This issue is extremely common in projects that are more technologically advanced and require highly skilled technical engineers specialized in areas such as enterprise networking, security, unified communications, software development, IT project management, etc.

A common mistake hiring managers make is partnering with a company that specializes in human resources, talent sourcing, or project procurement. These companies are great when trying to fill certain types of roles, but in the case of technical engineering, it poses the same risk of not 100% knowing if this person will actually meet the skill requirements or be a good fit for the company, team, or project once the candidate has been hired.

The best way to find engineers is to go to a company that solely focuses on IT services and can fully understand the technologies and skillsets your business or project requires to accomplish its desired goals. It’s also advantageous to seek out a company that can offer some sort of service guarantee or quality assurance in the off chance the resource doesn’t pan out or needs to be backfilled.

“At Aston Technologies, we have a certification process each engineer must successfully go through before beginning a new project. This process includes a comprehensive background check, professional development program designed to sharpen soft skills, as well as technical check outs that thoroughly test the engineer on a variety of technologies and skillsets needed for their upcoming projects.”

- Bipin Butala, Director of Software Development at Aston Technologies, Inc.