Custom software development
New challenges demand
Vose Software can build custom risk analysis software solutions to suit your specific needs by the same development team that created ModelRisk, the world's most advanced risk analysis software. Our huge library of technical code and our object-based programming methodology allows us to develop applications rapidly and flexibly using thoroughly tested algorithms. We can also draw on our long experience in risk analysis to partner in designing your software so that you get a product that properly meets your risk analysis needs.
Organizations face a lot of risks in commissioning a custom software product, for example:
- Final costs greatly exceed the original budget;
- The implementation takes much longer than expected;
- The software meets the specifications, but isn't what you really needed;
- The software is buggy, and fixes take a long time or just don't get done;
- You upgrade your system and the software doesn't work any more;
- The person who commissioned the software left the company and nobody left knows how it works;
- The software works fine, but it's a 'black box'; or
- You need a modification done, but the developers quote a ludicrous price
We, as software developers, can face a lot of risks too. For example:
- The client keeps changing their mind about scope;
- The client provides inaccurate information about their system, etc;
- The project is more complex than we thought;
- We don't get good access to the client's team and/or data;
- The client's project manager is replaced, and the new guy has no knowledge of the project;
- We underestimate the time it will take to produce the final product;
- The client doesn't pay, or delays payment unreasonably; or
- The contract is too rigid for us to deliver the best product for the client's needs
Our software development process, described below, and our attitude to doing business help minimize these risks.
We design and test the software product together with the client
A clear view of what the client needs is critical to the successful development of a software product, so any software development project starts with a scoping study. Most clients will have a good idea of what they want to use the software for, but less idea of how that can be achieved technically. We can help you in the design of the software even if you're not so familiar with risk analysis. Our focus is to find out the core 'features wish list' and help the client determine how critical each item on that list really is. We provide suggestions on improvements or ways that the software might be written that would make the tool more flexible to accommodate changes that might be needed in the future. Then we discuss with the client how much time and money will be needed to produce these features, and together we can design a specification that will return the best value for money. It might also be that the client needs a tool with limited features produced quickly to meet an immediate need, and then have the complete product delivered later.
In the third phase we finalize the scope and subject the product to extensive bug testing. Bug testing is done by two groups: the programming team, who test technical aspects of the product; and the user team, comprised of a non-programmer whose role is to act as a surrogate for the client. This person is a senior member of Vose Software and the project leader, who looks at the software tool from a user's perspective, has designed the software specifications with the client, and understands what they really need. Towards the end of the de-bugging process, the software may be installed at the client's facilities and together with the project leader someone from the client's organization is invited to participate in the user team as a second check. Support documentation is also reviewed by both parties at this stage.
In the final stage, a full installation of the software is performed at the client's facility and a test run completed. There follows a period of usually six months in which Vose Software commit to provide timely support for any installation issues and bug fixes.
We don't outsource the development of software to help ensure that Vose Software has the internal expertise to provide technical support, fix any bugs quickly, and can make future adaptations to the software product.
We are realistic and fair
We provide cost and timing estimates that we consider are realistically achievable, because we understand the importance of budgets and timelines. We believe in transparent and honest relationships with our clients, and expect the same from them. We don't believe in providing a cheap quote to 'get in the door', and then charge extortionate amounts for scope changes.
“Vose has developed state-of-the art risk software, which is light years ahead of competitors, backed up by user training and real-time support as well as consulting services.”
David Grace, Director Strategic Insights & Analytics
We encourage communication
We believe that easy and frequent communication can greatly help in the efficient development of custom software. We like emails, Skype, and phone calls – so you, the client, will get all those contact details for the project leaders. We aren't so keen on weekly update meetings – they tend to be a waste of everyone's time. Instead we prefer to have meetings when there is something to discuss, and to produce a secure blog on our web site where the project team and client can provide update reports and comments. The great advantage of the blog approach is that one can log in whenever it suits you and get up-to-date information on the project's progress. It also means that if someone involved in the project moves on to another position, the new guy has documentation of the project's history, the difficulties (if any) that were faced, and the roles that each person has taken.
We deliver first-class training
We believe training on how to use the software and what it all means is as important as the designing, coding and implementation. We therefore place a lot of emphasis on providing comprehensive help files at different levels:
- Management level: for people that will work with the software outputs
- Analyst level: for people that need to understand the mathematical parts and assumptions, if any
- Programmer level: for people that want to adapt or extend the software tool
The help file includes code snippets, video tutorials, hyperlinks from user interfaces, example models if appropriate, etc. We can also provide information in the help file on how the clients can make changes to the help file. In this way the help file always remains up-to-date.
We can also provide onsite or remote (e.g.GoToMeeting) training, in which we explain the features of the software. However, with our background in risk analysis we can also explain the theory and practice of using your tool.
We are organised
We follow the Prince2 Project Management methodology to help ensure that the software project is delivered on time and on budget.