Software Developers vs. Technology Consultants: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to finding a new software solution for your business, you’re presented with a choice. Do you engage directly with a software development company, or take advantage of the guidance a technology consulting company can offer? In today’s article, we’ll give you the straight facts your business needs to make an informed decision.

It’s tough to underestimate the value of a good software implementation in a business. It can make the difference between a company thriving or struggling to keep up. Whether the software is designed for stock control, order processing, staff management, CRM, or anything else, the quality of the solution makes all the difference. Achieving this goal begins long before the first line of code is written, with a choice you need to make about going direct with a software developer or engaging with a technology consulting company.

Points of distinction

Perhaps the best place to start here is to explain the key differences between software developers and technology consulting companies. It’s easy to see why the line between the two may be blurry, so let’s break things down a little:

  • A software developer is focused solely on the creation and deployment of a software-based solution. As the client, you will provide a detailed brief of exactly what you want the software to do, and the developer will create this for you. Because developers work to spec, you need to be absolutely pinpoint during the briefing process, because there is usually little room for movement once a brief has been finalised.
  • A technology consulting company won’t actually start with the software, but rather it’ll start by looking at your business. You will naturally need to provide a rough goal for the software, but the actual specs (and brief) will be handled by the consulting company. Their team will look at your business and perform an in-depth analysis of exactly where your core value lies. From here, they’ll be able to make technology-based recommendations about how you can best maximise this value, and this includes the potential development of software solutions.

If you’re still a little fuzzy on exactly how a technology consulting company differs from a software developer, don’t worry. Let’s make things clearer with an example.

The core contention, visualised

Imagine that you want to build a vehicle to take you from A to B. You probably already know that a car is the most popular form of transport, and that it’ll likely do a serviceable job. Now let’s imagine that you take your idea to both a software developer and a technology consulting company. To highlight the differences between these two options, here’s how each one would treat this request:

  • The software developer would ask for a specific description of the vehicle you’d like to build, and you’d mention cars being the most popular choice. From here, they’d probably build you a perfectly good car that’ll perform the job exactly as you’d imagine. You’ll get from A to B as expected, and in good time, but it may not be the fastest or smoothest ride.
  • A technology consulting company would do things a little differently. They’d take your ideas about cars being a good choice, but they’d also take the time to explore all the other options too. This may include testing out other forms of transport – cars, boats, planes – to see which one got you there faster. They’d build a prototype, test it themselves, see where improvements can be made, then build another one. This process would continue until they had the optimal solution to your original problem, at which point you’d be well on your way from A to B in the shortest possible time.

It’s as easy (or as hard) as you make it

What this decision really comes down to is the scale of the business challenge you want to solve. If it’s a straightforward logistical issue with a clear solution, a software developer should be able to help. However, if you’re not 100% clear on how the issue should be solved, or you want to ensure the solution is streamlined and optimised, a technology consulting company can come in very handy indeed. Not only will they guide you through the various solutions open to you, but they’ll also handle all of the legwork too. So while your solution is being tested, tweaked, and perfected behind the scenes, you can focus on the important stuff – like the day-to-day running of your business.

Do you think we’ve covered all the bases here, or is there a distinction we’ve missed? Whatever your opinion, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or via any of our social media profiles. And if you’re not yet familiar with Better Technology Consulting, and how we can help your business discover the right software, please feel free to explore the site now.

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