Looking to hire a software agency? How do you go about figuring out who to work with?

This article gives you the lowdown on the different types of software agencies (in Hong Kong and Singapore) and how to go about deciding which one is for you.

The way we’ll approach this article is by asking you a series of questions and using those questions to help you decide who you should hire.

What kind of website, mobile app or software do you need built?

The first question to ask yourself is what kind of software you need built. Different agencies have different areas of expertise.

In general, there are three types of agencies: software agencies, digital marketing agencies and software integrators.

Software agencies are experts at building custom applications that will be used for a long time. Altitude Labs falls within this category.

Digital marketing agencies are experts at helping you grow your user base with marketing. Their technical capabilities are often restricted to marketing - driven websites and apps.

Software integrators are good at implementing and stringing different pieces of enterprise software together. This could include things like implementing Salesforce, Dynamics, SAP, Oracle and the like.

Depending on what type of software you need built, you should approach the right kind of agency.

Do you need designers and developers to think on your behalf?

If what you need is extra design and development support to piece together the wireframes and UI designs that you have on hand, you might be able to work with an agency who does not think on behalf.

In our experience, the process of building software involves constant change. No one has the right answers and the mental model of the right answer changes as the product evolves.

If this applies to you, it is much better to work with designers and engineers who care about what they are building and think together with you.

A lot of our engineers, designers and data scientists come from a business background. This means that we are able to think in your shoes. We see software as a means to achieving business results.

We make decisions that help our clients save or make more money, even if it means less business for us.

We see great design, software and data science as a means to actual business impact - impact to the tune of doubling customer engagement (see our Zalora case study below).

Are you building something that users will use often?

A great product needs to be usable and solve a problem.

Prototypes speak much louder than ideas in this regard. A product idea might sound great to a user but you can never tell until you put it in front of someone and test it. Continuously testing and iterating your product design with real users is key to creating a great product and could save you both time and money in the long run.

At Altitude Labs, we deliver prototypes, not powerpoint slides. In the typical prototyping process, most developers tend to make basic wireframes based on the customer’s specifications. These often then become dry, uninspiring designs which lack the element of interactivity.

Why create something static to demonstrate a product that is supposed to be interactive?

We create clickable and interactive Adobe XD prototypes; allowing you to experience what your intended users will actually experience.

Here is an example of one of our clickable prototypes

With a focus on modern design aesthetics, usability and personalization, we have a versatile team capable of crafting anything from bespoke individual products to a full-scale digital transformation.

Here is an example of one (of our many) successful digital transformations for the traditionally brick-and-mortar company, Yue Hwa.

What is your budget?

Software development agency rates range widely depending on the quality, service and flexibility of the agency.

If you are looking for a basic product at a tight budget, your best options will be where the cost of labor is likely to be lower. Possible options include agencies in Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and India.

If you have the budget to invest in a high quality product, you can work with an agency with a presence in Hong Kong and Singapore that can think on your behalf and work closely with you to build something awesome.

Do you need flexibility in what you’re building?

Great software evolves. Designing and developing software should be an iterative process. We adopt Agile and design thinking philosophies to adapt to changing customer needs. We constantly unit test our code and adhere to devops principles of continuous integration to ensure that we deliver the best product possible.

We use internal and external open source technologies to give your projects a head start while allowing your teams to continue to build on work done.

We are React (and React Native) and Node.js experts, and as both engines use Javascript this allows us to write both the frontend and backend at the same time; greatly boosting productivity and resource flexibility.

React Native also provides for an efficient way to build both iOS and Android apps at the same time as the engine can compile Javascript into the native languages of Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android. What this means is that we can deliver projects more quickly and efficiently.

As they were built by Facebook, React and React Native are both well-supported, which means that the apps we build for you will have great functionality. We have built-in admin panels for you to access the backend of your application, allowing you to make adjustments as you see fit.

Maintaining your code in the future will also be easy – say for example you want to add a new feature into your application; instead of writing a version of each for iOS and Android, you will only need to write one version.

Do you want to work closely with your agency to shape your product?

Do you want to take a hands-off approach of specifying requirements and seeing your product a couple months later? Or do you want to get your hands dirty and be in the trenches with us?

At Altitude Labs, we work closely to solve problems not only as one multidisciplinary team amongst ourselves but also together with our clients. We see our clients as our partners and aim to have you deeply involved within every step of building your product.

You are the experts of your business and we are your technical strategists who will help you navigate the technology world.

Over to you

If you’d like us to help you design and engineer the future, feel free to reach out to us here. We look forward to hearing from you!