Our insights

How to engage with us - the initial conversation

10 November 2021 Matt Hammond 3 mins

All our engagements start with a conversation.  We like to meet face to face so, where the situation allows, we usually like to travel to meet you.

When people approach us, they usually have a specific project they want to discuss. However, undertaking a custom software project is usually a significant decision and the initial conversation is our opportunity to learn who you are, how you operate, the context behind the project and your long-term vision. Together we can then agree an approach that works within your context.

Common reasons people engage with us

We work with organisations of all sizes and level of technical capability who approach us for several reasons.

We find large organisations are often dissatisfied with the delivery capability, speed and cost of larger system integrators and consultancies and are looking for a more effective software partner.

Smaller companies often have an ambitious technology project and don’t have the internal capability or appropriate partners to deliver it.

We see a lot of demand for the replacement of Software as a Service (SaaS) systems, either as companies outgrow their capabilities or due to dissatisfaction with the supplier and the inability to tailor the solution.

Strategy

Projects are usually strategic or tactical. Some organisations see software as a cost, some as an investment. There is often an urgency to initial projects, but it helps to see whether the organisation’s relationship with custom software may develop into a strategic direction. It is also really interesting to get see how the project is positioned within the wider organisational priorities and to understand the approach to innovation and appetite for risk.

Intellectual Property

Some just want a working solution; others see the value and control that can be gained by owning the source code. We can talk through the various software licensing options and considerations for how your aims can best be accommodated.

Capability

What internal IT capabilities do you have? Our clients range from companies with no internal IT resource whatsoever to those with very large teams with formal governance such as architecture review boards. Understanding this early helps us understand how to engage and structure any technical conversations. We are also used to working with existing suppliers and it is very useful to understand key relationships we may need to form.

Commercials

We see that it helps to align the structure and phasing of a project to your funding process. We usually look to start small and align to any internal stage gates that exist. We are used to adapting to a wide range of approaches from entrepreneurial to more formal processes and frameworks, such as Crown Commercial’s Digital Outcomes and Specialists.

If the project is truly innovative there may be an opportunity for Research and Development tax relief. This is an area we have experience in and we can explain how this works and the constraints around the types of research and development that qualify.

Common questions

The most obvious and common questions you may have usually come down to two things – budget and timescales. We are happy to give guidance, even at this initial stage, and can also advise on how you can approach the project in a way that reduces your risk and gives a number of choices.

There are often questions around the in-house team needed to support the project and we can take some time to understand your current team and recommend a structure that supports the project effectively with the minimum of impact.

Next steps

If we believe we are a good fit for your project there are two possible routes. In some cases, we will be able to produce a proposal for a discovery phase from the initial meeting. For most projects there may be some further understanding and input needed for us to be able to recommend a suitable discovery. In this case we will arrange a follow up meeting which can range from a few hours to a full day. We can then deliver a tailored proposal for a discovery phase which will include a budgetary range estimate for the whole project.

Want to talk?

We don’t charge for an initial conversation. We usually find a one hour conversation is a great starting point.