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Choosing among Custom Development, BPM and SaaS

18 Nov 2016 - Mickey Farrance

When starting a new software initiative, an organization first has to decide what development approach fits best with its objectives.

Common development approaches are custom software development, BPM-based development and SaaS-based development.

Custom software development is defined as the process of creating software for some specific organization.

BPM-based development consists of a set of techniques and tools for the continuous, iterative improvement of all the processes involved in running a business.

SaaS-based development can be defined as a development approach where specific remote services are combined and invoked via the Web in order to create a new application. Each development approach has its own characteristics, and its own strengths and drawbacks. An assessment framework can be useful in choosing which approach works best in which situations.

 

In this paper, we develop a framework based on two well-known models; one widely used in project management and the other for defining software quality. The framework combines the project management triangle of Time – Scope – Cost (with Quality in the middle) with the FURPS model for software quality. FURPS is an acronym for Functionality, Usability, Reliability, Performance and Supportability.

The framework describes seven criteria for evaluating which development approach may fit best with your initiative.

These seven criteria are:

  • Time (to-market)
  • Functional scope
  • Cost
  • Usability (Agility)
  • Reliability
  • Supportability
  • Performance

 

At the end of this paper, a calculation tool is provided to support an objective decision for your development approach. The calculation sheet lists these seven criteria and illustrates a set of relative scores per criterion for each approach.

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