Today, technology is at the forefront of every business model. No matter what industry segment you belong to, you need technology enabled solutions at some point, whether it’s product development, marketing, sales, accounting, HR, or customer support.
There are several tools and technologies available in the market that help you solve your business problems or bring a product idea to life.
Microsoft .NET is one such technology framework that businesses rely on to develop quality, reliable, and scalable applications for web, desktop, and mobile platforms. Using .NET framework, you can create a wide range of applications, right from CRMs, accounting applications, inventory and warehouse applications to websites, mobile apps, and XML web services.
However, finding a reliable and skilled .NET development partner, who can help you create a remarkable software product and deliver a high return on your investments, can be challenging. There’s a huge list of .NET solution providers that work from offshore, near-shore and onshore locations, and provide varied levels of expertise in .NET application development.
To help you find a reliable development partner, we’ve listed some key factors that you should consider before hiring a .NET development company.
1. Credibility of the company
The first thing to look for in a software development company is the credibility. One of the factors that make a company credible besides proof of their expertise and experience is their longevity. Usually, companies who have been in business for a longer duration are more reliable.
The primary reason behind is that the companies which last long are usually those who are able to deliver results and sustain a long term relationship with their customers. So, if they have survived for as long as, let’s say 10 years, they probably must be doing something worthwhile and offering quality products and services to their customers.
Another key aspect to verify is the quality of work they’ve delivered previously. The best way to do this is to look for their testimonials and contact their customers for feedback on the projects they’ve delivered.
Also make sure that the company you are hiring has more than one .NET expert, who can pitch in if the resource working on your project is not available. It’s a sort of backup plan you should always keep in mind.
Ensure that the company has a professional infrastructure and a real office. Businesses operating from a house or other such establishments won’t be professional in their approach. Also look for quality certifications such as ISO 9000 or CMMI, which ensure the quality and maturity of their software development processes and methodologies.
All these factors add to the credibility of the company offering you technology solutions in .NET or any other technology.
2. Quality of Developers
Other than longevity, an important parameter of a company’s credibility is the amount of experience their developers or engineers have. Ideally, the developers should have required technical skills and certifications to work on .NET projects.
As far as experience is concerned, a minimum of 2 years’ experience at developer level is acceptable, and 10-15 years’ experience at IT Director or CTO level will ensure that your project is in good hands.
In addition, the development team should also have wide experience right from creating applications from scratch to migrating legacy applications to current .NET platform.
3. Expertise in Microsoft technologies
It’s needless to say that the company you are planning to hire for your .NET project should have expertise in various Microsoft technologies, such as ASP.NET, C#, VB.NET, and ASP.MET MVC.
It also makes sense to see if the development company has used .NET in conjunction with other technologies like Microsoft SQL Server, Windows Azure, Kentico and SharePoint to build, deploy and maintain web apps and services.
For example, many large organizations face the challenge of integration with existing legacy systems. The development team should have deep expertise in Microsoft technologies to solve the problems like interoperability and integration.
The bottom line is that the developers should have a sound knowledge about each aspect of .NET development, such as using the interoperability features, cross platform integration, code reuse, security features, deployment, maintenance, and creating service oriented architectures.
4. Experience of delivering complex .NET project
More than technical certifications, what really matters is the experience of a .NET development company in delivering complex .NET projects. A .NET developer might have a long list of certifications to his name, but it’s the projects he has worked on which makes him a skilled and professional developer.
Look for a company that has worked on complex .NET based product development, not just a few .NET based websites. For example, Net Solutions developed some unique products using ASP.NET:
- Cameo: Net Solutions built a scenario-based e-learning solution, Cameo, using ASP.NET technology. Cameo is a web based tool that delivers scenario-based learning reinforcement via email.
- Front Rush: Front Rush is a US based startup for which Net Solutions built a unique and innovative athletic recruiting software based on .NET technology. The Front Rush App became an instant hit and is now the most preferred athletic recruiting app for college and university coaches in U.S.A.
- Premier League TV (PLTV): PLTV is another .NET based web and iPad app that Net Solutions built for IMG Worldwide. The app delivers Barclays Premier League match schedules, match highlights, and Video-On-Demand services to exclusive PLTV members.
- Run To The Beat: Net Solutions developed ‘Run To The Beat’ website for IMG UK using Kentico CMS, which was built to promote the ‘Run to the Beat’ (powered by Nike+) event, the most popular Half Marathon event held in London.
5. Development support for Mobility
There are very few software products today which don’t cater to mobility requirements. Even if a company has expertise in .NET technology there will be a lot of project requirements where the applications need a mobile arm to reach out to maximum number of users. This will require integration with technologies such as iOS, Android and HTML5.
The development company offering solutions in .NET should also have in-house development support for mobile app development technologies, so that you don’t have to find another vendor to develop apps for mobile platforms.
ASP.NET is capable of powering mobile apps and responsive design frameworks with VS 2013. Therefore, the .NET development company should be well aware of working with the following:
- Working with mobile features in an ASP.NET MVC 4 application
- Adding mobile pages to ASP.NET Web Forms/ MVC application
- Building mobile websites with ASP.NET MVC
- Developing iPhone, Android, Windows Phone apps with ASP.NET
These are some of the capabilities a .NET development company should have to provide cross-device, cross-platform experience for ASP.NET based web applications.
6. Awards and Partnerships
Last, but not the least is the industry validation the company has within the .NET industry. Look for things such as awards, partnerships, and other such industry specific recognitions the company has achieved.
Verify the company’s experience from the certifying bodies/vendors who have licensed them for the technologies they use. In case of .NET, ensure that the company is a Microsoft Certified Partner.
For example, Net Solutions has the following awards and partnerships to its name that make it a certified and well recognized .NET development company:
- Net solutions became Microsoft Certified Gold Partner in 2008.
- In 2012, Net Solutions became the Kentico Certified Partner, and in 2013 it achieved the level of Kentico Certified Gold Partner.
- The ‘Run to The Beat’ website built by Net Solutions was declared “Best Travel and Events Site” in the Kentico Site of the Year 2012 contest.
- The .NET based e-learning solution, Cameo, developed by Net Solutions, won the coveted Brandon Hall Gold Award for Excellence in Learning Technology, for the year 2010.
While it is always enticing to outsource application development projects, you should keep in mind that a lot is at stake when you go for outsourced software development. There’s a lot of sensitive information that you pass on to your development partner, in addition to the cost and time you are putting in the project.
Therefore, it’s best to evaluate your development partner scientifically based on facts and figures rather than hiring them only on a gut feeling. I hope the guidelines mentioned above will help you in finding a right .NET development partner who meets your requirements and adds value to your business.