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Considering Custom Software Development? Consider Going Boutique!

Published March 3, 2023

Meet Eleanor

Eleanor, the owner of a marketing and advertising company, is on the verge of a revolutionary breakthrough in the Social Media Marketing/Social Media Advertising (SMM/SMA) industry. With the third-largest online following in her field, she's tuned in to market needs and wants to capitalize on it by offering a best-in-class solution that can corner the market. She plans to create a custom-built web application that paid audiences can use to gain an edge over their competitors by creating highly targeted brand awareness and offerings that add value to their customers. Speed to market is crucial, but functionality is even more vital in bringing her vision to life.

Eleanor sits at her favorite desk, opens her laptop, and brainstorms the best places to find an excellent fit for her custom web app development project. She narrows her choices and finds that custom development organizations fall into two separate structures: smaller boutique agencies and larger commercial firms. Eleanor has worked with many large firms on past projects but has yet to partner with a smaller, more specialized agency. 

Based on her research, she finds articles and forums confirming everything she’s experienced with commercial firms. For instance, they usually work on a large number of projects at the same time, which allows for less relationship-focused, personal attention to the client. Eleanor knows commercial firms are also more time-focused; they will usually deploy the same strategies and methods for each client instead of a deeper understanding of the project with a customized plan approach.  Eleanor needs a company that is flexible and agile. As we learned earlier, speed to market is necessary; however, functionality is essential. She wants a team that understands how important this project is to her and can relate with personal and professional commonalities. Taking all considerations into account, Eleanor decided that a boutique software development agency would be better suited for her needs.

Benefits Of Working With A Boutique Agency

Boutique custom software development agencies, like Ten Forward Consulting in Madison, WI, are small enough to care but big enough to get the job done. They typically have fewer than 30 employees, and their highly trained and seasoned code writers focus on their desired language and framework. This enables the agency to offer specialized support to customers from various niches, industries, and needs. Collaborating directly with code writers, project managers, and leadership is a significant advantage of working with a boutique agency. This direct communication flow allows smaller agencies to offer clients dedicated support specific to each client’s needs and keep them updated on the status of their project.

Ten Forward Consulting allows its clients the freedom to take more ownership of their projects and offers them the agility to make swift changes in functionalities or aesthetics, for example. Because boutique firms generally don’t work on many large projects simultaneously, they can offer a more efficient and quality-focused development process by ensuring good direct communication between the client and the development team.

Choosing between a smaller boutique firm or a more prominent commercial agency ultimately depends on the project, budget, timeline, and desired outcome. Boutique firms may not be suitable for clients who need speedy delivery completion, as rushing could result in quality or maintenance issues. However, they could be a perfect fit for a company like Eleanor’s with the budget and time to put care and quality first, ensuring their end users love the product.

Furthermore, smaller organizations have a more collaborative work environment, making it easier to get cultural “buy-in” from employees. This is essential for clients looking for an organization that aligns with their business workings and goals. For example, a local university might prefer to work with a boutique agency in the same thriving metropolitan area that shares similar values of cultural diversity and individualism over a nationwide commercial firm with no ties to a community or local initiative.

In conclusion, clients should focus on what's essential to them and work backward when choosing between a smaller or larger software development agency. Being diligent, asking good questions, and working with people with the same values are crucial. Keep things simple, and things will work out if you create your dream so your customers can create theirs, just like Eleanor.

Author details

Jeremy Sharrock

Director of Sales