What is a Software House? Definition, Types & Key Features
What is a software house? Learn software house definition, discover how it works, and how it differs from an IT staffing agency.
Business owners looking to build a mobile application can choose from different options when realizing their vision. One of the best alternatives to delegating development to an in-house team is outsourcing it to a software development agency.
Such companies operate under different names – a software house, software development company, software development agency, a mobile app company, and others.
But what is a software house? What does a software house do? This article is a guide for business owners who want to build a mobile app and are considering outsourcing the work to a software house.
Read on to find out what the defining features of a software house are, what services it provides, and how it differs from an IT staffing agency.
Table of contents:
- What is a software house?
- Types of software companies
- Key features of a software house
- What are the services a software house provides?
- Software house vs. IT staffing agency
- How to choose a software house for your project
1. Software house definition
A software house is a company that specializes in building software products. Such companies can focus on business or consumer software – for example, out-of-the-box, single license software, or products like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
The defining trait of a software house is that it’s a company that focuses on developing and distributing software products. The goals of a software house vary depending on its client base and specialization.
While some software houses specialize in contractor jobs commissioned from corporate clients, others prefer to concentrate on creating out-of-the-box software that can be sold on store shelves. Another type of software house helps other companies to realize their vision by providing specialized software development services.
Each of these approaches requires a different design process, distribution strategy, professional approach, development methodology, and many more.
In this article, we’re going to focus on the software house as a software development agency that builds software products for other companies, offering them their experience, skills, and know-how.
2. Types of software companies
The easiest way to classify software development agencies is to divide them into service-based and product-based companies.
Product-based companies are businesses that develop their own products and then deliver them to end-users. Such users can be both businesses and individual customers, so they realize both B2C and B2B models. These companies focus on building out-of-the-box solutions that they can later implement and configure on the client-side to solve various business problems.
A good example of a product-based company is Microsoft or Google. They both offer a range of out-of-the-box solutions that can be configured and customized to match the specific needs of companies.
Should you invest in out-of-the-box software solutions?
This type of software comes with its specific limitations. Licensing can often be quite expensive. Also, companies that buy such products often end up with products that include many different features they actually don’t need.
That’s why many companies prefer to build custom software solutions that address their unique business requirements. And to accomplish that, they need to contact service-based software companies.
Service-based companies work directly with businesses and provide them with services such as custom software development, consulting, or dedicated development teams.
The main advantage of working with such a company is that you get to build a custom solution that matches the unique business processes, operations, and needs. You can also count on the skills and expertise of experienced software developers and leverage the company’s internal expertise.
3. Key features of a software house
Since the competition in the IT market is high, software development companies take innovative approaches to product development. They do their best to build a strong brand to acquire the most talented developers on the market. Here are the essential features of modern software houses today.
a. Focus on quality
A development team that delivers high-quality code will gain the client’s trust and recommendation. As a result, it will be able to attract more customers. Since there are many software houses operating globally right now, they do everything they can to provide their clients with high-quality code.
When outsourcing software development, businesses are usually looking to:
- Speed up their projects,
- Fill skill gaps in their team with specific knowledge,
- Scale their development team,
- Or just build an application from scratch (for example, in the form of a Minimum Viable Product).
In either case, they can be sure that the code delivered by an outsourced team will be written clearly and include very few bugs and errors. Software development companies often have QA engineers on board and involve them in the process of writing code from the start. That’s why the code produced by software houses is of such high quality – it’s a product of years of experience.
b. Agile and Scrum
The agile approach to software development and frameworks such as Scrum are an industry standard across the entire globe. There’s simply no better way to create a product than through the collaborative effort of a self-organized and cross-functional team.
Agile software development also includes best practices such as sprint planning sessions, test-driven development, daily standup meetings, and pair programming. Together, all of these practices help teams deliver quality code faster.
Since Agile promotes collaboration and team empowerment, developers who follow it are also more productive and motivated. Agile approaches such as Scrum promote iterative development and close collaboration with clients. As a result, they lower the cost of development and reduce the risk of introducing major costly changes during the process.
All in all, you can be sure experienced development teams at software houses have solid processes in place that minimize the risk of making common mistakes in app development, and maximize the value delivered.
c. Full-stack capabilities
If you hire a software house to build your application, you can expect to get a complete product by the end of your contract. This means that the software house will be responsible for each and every step of the development process.
An outsourcing partner can deliver the expertise of frontend and backend developers, but also UX/UI and graphic designers, project managers, business analysts, and QA engineers.
It takes a village to build amazing software, and a software house has the resources to provide its clients with high-quality code, which is always the result of the work of many people. By teaming up with a software development company, you get expert skills and industry knowledge of each and every person who is part of the team – and beyond.
d. Communication and collaboration
Smooth and regular communication is essential to the success of any project. It’s especially important in outsourcing development where you’re delegating the entire work to another company.
That’s why software houses help their development teams to build soft skills. They also have processes in place to facilitate communication between clients and teams. For example, an experienced software house will often assign a project manager who will act as a bridge between the client and the team. That way, it’s possible to build mutual trust and increase engagement.
Developers who are part of a dedicated team will devote their full-time attention to the problem at hand and become engaged in the project. At the same time, they will be able to use the experience they gained in previous projects to enrich your application development.
Software houses invest a lot in tech innovation. They allow developers to experiment with modern technologies but also take advantage of battle-tested programming languages and frameworks.
Since technologies are changing at an increasing pace, staying on top of trends is difficult. But software houses know how to do it. They update their company technology stack to make sure that they can deliver any R&D programs and offer the best solutions to their clients.
4. What are the services a software house provides?
Now that you know what software house is and what its defining characteristics are, it’s time to take a look at the services. Here are the most common services offered by software houses.
Mobile app development
Software houses build applications intended for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Most of these applications are built for two operating systems: Android and iOS.
Some development teams are also able to build cross-platform applications or hybrid mobile applications that use web technologies. Progressive Web Apps is an example of such technology. All in all, mobile app development is a varied discipline where the end products might be anything from corporate ERP applications to consumer apps.
If you’re looking to build a mobile application, reach out to a software house that specializes in this area. Since software development is a broad term that encompasses different types of applications, it’s best to entrust the task of building your mobile app to a team that has plenty of experience in mobile technologies. That way, you’ll get the best results and minimize the risk of building a product with technologies that soon become obsolete.
To sum up, software houses that specialize in mobile apps deal mainly with Android mobile app development, iOS mobile app development, and cross-platform app development (e.g. Flutter app development).
Web development is all about creating applications that operate in web environments. But the category of web development is complex as well. We’re talking about a simple website or a complex web application that includes many different services and advanced architecture.
Thanks to innovative web technologies and Application Programming Interfaces, development teams can build web applications that deliver a host of functionalities to users. Moreover, it’s possible to build apps for mobile devices that are based on web technologies but deliver a native-like experience.
A software house can also build applications that perform on all of the traditional desktop operating systems like Linux, Mac, or Windows. Such apps can assist organizations in their daily tasks, automate processes, and provide a wide range of functionalities (like report generation). While some companies host their applications in the cloud, others may choose server-based applications that aid in digital transformation.
Another key capability of software houses today lies in data science and data engineering. Such development teams build analytics tools that can make sense of massive datasets and provide companies with actionable insights.
To accomplish that, data scientists and software developers mine data and then build software solutions that use sophisticated algorithms. Research technology trends such as machine learning enable features like predictive analytics to help companies react to changes on the market faster and deliver an excellent service to their customers.
5. Software house vs. IT staffing agency
The services provided by software houses are sometimes confused with those delivered by IT staffing agencies. However, there is a significant difference between the two.
A software house is a company that builds and implements custom software solutions for its clients. It provides comprehensive software development services and supports projects at every stage.
An IT staffing agency, on the other hand, is more similar to a recruitment company that specializes in hiring developers on behalf of their clients. This solution is more popular among companies that have in-house development teams and are looking for more employees.
6. How to choose a software house for your project
So how do you get the best mobile development company for your project? Here are a few tips to help you verify that the company is trustworthy.
Take a look at the portfolio
This way, you gain a better understanding of the work the company has completed so far. When looking through the case studies published on the company website, check whether the team has built products that are similar to yours and has experience in working with companies from your industry.
Also, it’s a good idea to check if it has ever worked with companies from your region. It’s much better to team up with a software house that knows how to work with significant time differences if you’re looking for offshore opportunities.
Here are some other questions you should ask:
- What kind of companies does the software house work with? Startups, small and midsize businesses, enterprises – or maybe all of them?
- What technologies do they use?
- Is their technology stack full of modern and cutting-edge choices?
Read the reviews
The next step is having a look at platforms like Clutch.co to see whether the previous collaborations of the company were successful and work was delivered on time.
Find the company’s profile and scroll through the client reviews. It’s best to focus on reviews written by companies that are similar to yours. Alternatively, you can check the reviews of those companies that built a similar product. Such reviews are objective and much more valuable than any testimonials published on the company website.
- For more tips, read this article: How to choose the best mobile development company?
Reach out to the company’s clients
Another smart step besides reading reviews is getting in touch with the company’s clients. Having a conversation with one or two clients of the software house will give you lots of information to work with.
Ask how the collaboration went, what was good and not good about it, and whether there’s anything you should know about working with the software house. If you get a great review directly from the client, you can be sure that the software house is trustworthy.
Get in touch with the software house
The idea here is to send your project requirements and wait for the company to deliver an estimation.
Tip: Ask more than one company for an estimation. You’ll be able to compare them and see how each company envisions the process of building your software.
Also, it’s the best opportunity for asking for detailed information about the code. For example, are you going to gain full ownership of the code created by the company? Where will the code be hosted? Will the team use code repositories like GitHub or Bitbucket? Get into the details to learn everything you need to know about how the code will be stored and whether you’ll have access to it at all times.
Meeting the team before launching the collaboration is a smart move. By visiting the office, you get to feel their work atmosphere, professional values, or simply get to know them over lunch or evening drink together. All of these interactions are critical for establishing trust. After all, you wouldn’t want to delegate the job of building your app into the hands of a business partner you don’t really trust.
We hope this article helps you in answering the question “What is a software house?” As well as understand what kind of value it can bring to your business.
By delegating the work of building your mobile app to a trustworthy software house, you gain access to seasoned and talented developers. You also get the collective knowledge and experience the software house has acquired during years of operation and helping other companies win on the mobile scene.
If you’re looking for an expert mobile development team, get in touch with us.
At Droids On Roids, we have 9+ years of experience in delivering mobile app development services to companies operating across different industries. In total, we developed over 130 mobile and web applications for clients from all over the world, including countries such as the USA, UK, Norway, Switzerland, and Australia.