Our approach to creating custom databases and automated solution is broken into four steps.
A new request for proposal can be submitted through our contact form on this web site. Upon receipt, we review it and may ask for some additional information. Once we have enough general information about the kind of solution you are interested in, we will present you with a free proposal. The proposal will contain an overview of the requested solution and some general details about the components or features you have requested and a budget and a timeline for any additional planning and development that may be required to create a comprehensive design specification. Once you approve our proposed budget, we will continue the formal planning process or, for smaller projects, we may begin the development process immediately.
For larger projects, we will work with you to create a detailed specification document that expands on the proposal, providing more detail about how the requested solution will function and what is required in order to start development. Because of the time investment required, we do charge for creating a specification document. This allows us to more accurately estimate the costs for the development phase more accurately and, upon receiving your approval to move forward, to deliver an optimum finished product.
To develop the best solution possible, we handle every detail with meticulous care. First, we convert the details of the specification into a “code outline” which, like an outline for any written work, helps us visualize the solution as a whole before delving into the parts. Then we begin creating what will become your custom solution. Rather than starting with the equivalent of an empty sheet of paper, we draw extensively on our past work, reusing standard modules, templates and a large library of pre-built code. This saves us time, which saves you money. Throughout the development process, each piece of code is tested to help reduce the amount of testing you will need to perform. Since no one wants to be kept in the dark about a work in progress, we always keep you informed with regular progress reports.
We understand that developing your solution is not the end of the process. Before we consider a project complete, we will work with you during a testing phase to see how it performs within the environment of your actual workflow complete with the day to day challenges with which it must cope. During this time, we will review the solution’s functionality to insure that it will meet your needs. Depending on your preference, we can perform live tests of the solution in person or through remote-viewing software, or we can simply allow your staff to perform the testing and provide us with feedback about its performance. During the testing phase, we always recommend that you run the new solution in parallel with any existing solution until you are certain that it is performing to your expectations. Once any necessary adjustments are made and you are ready to sign off on the solution, its time to officially deploy it. Most solutions can be installed by simply copying a file or folder into the applications folder, so often our clients choose to perform this task themselves. For more complex installations, including database server setup, we are always ready to help if needed.
Business professionals constantly face new challenges so we build every solution to be as flexible and adaptable as possible. However, when changes are more dramatic, a custom solution may require some additional work to expand or enhance its capabilities. Custom solutions also need to be retested and revised when upgrading the system software or the individual applications that it uses. If your business rules change in a way that was not originally anticipated, changes will be needed. Since we can’t anticipate every circumstance that may arise, changes to a solution are typically treated as a separate project and, therefore, require a new budget. Some clients establish a monthly maintenance budget to cover the costs of monitoring and minor adjustments to more complex custom solutions.