This article was contributed by Hari Babu who works as an internet marketer and part-time writer for various clients.
Have you ever thought about opening a software R&D center? When we talk about research and development services, most people picture a large International R&D Center that is far beyond their reach, but it doesn't have to be. Software R&D center services are highly attainable, even for smaller businesses with limited budgets. All you really need is an innovative spirit and some willing developers.
How To Build a Software R&D Center of Your Own
Let's look at the many ways you can start a Software Research & Development Center with your existing team:
- Find the Right Talent
Try to put together a mix of talented individuals in terms of their skills and experience. Not every staff member needs to have a solid R&D background – just a curious mind and a good attitude! The more diverse your team, the better because you'll benefit from many different viewpoints. Set goals against KPIs from the start so that everyone works together to achieve the objective.
- Empower Your Team To Explore
Your R&D team should have creative freedom. Large corporations often have too much red tape and deep-seated signs of progress in place to enable true innovation. Use your agility to your advantage by giving your department autonomy and authority to explore ideas within reasons.
Encourage others to volunteer their ideas and push boundaries, but make sure they understand your constraints as well. You should also enable your team to make mistakes. Advances and innovation only happen through trial and error. You don't want your team to be afraid of missteps because that will restrain their creative thinking.
- Keep a Close Eye on Your Financials
Your team should have freedom, but endless experimentation can bankrupt a company if it doesn't lead to a breakthrough. Your finances are an important part of the R&D process. Make sure your team understands the budget and profit margins they are working with.
If you can, claim R&D Tax benefits wherever you can. You should also work with your accountants to ensure that your budget has some flexibility – you never know what your team will uncover or come up with, and if you don't have the money to explore the more profitable ideas, you'll lose out.
It's a good idea to employ a business analyst as well as a project manager to keep an eye on project costs and to test the appetite of your market for your ideas. It's no use building an incredible product that no one wants to buy.
- Have Regular Meetings
You have to set up regular brainstorming sessions and catch-ups to discuss ideas and new projects. Work with your team to develop a road map with new and existing ideas so that you can innovate together. Try to keep these deadlines fairly flexible. R&D takes time to develop, and discoveries can't be rushed.
Try to have a few timescales and estimated time frames in place. Once work starts, you should keep communicating so that you know when these deadlines shift. R&D can vary between industries, but software projects shouldn't take more than a few months. If a project is delivered according to a strict, rushed deadline, you may end up with a Beta product that won't succeed. Remember, you should have patience and a high tolerance for errors, but your customers won't.
- Keep Commercials Front and Center
R&D centers are often very siloed and limited because the teams involved are focused on product development, not a commercial success. However, if your end solution is too costly or not fit for the market, there's no point in building it. Try to foster a commercially minded culture within your R&D center. Make sure everyone understands what the business needs to achieve in terms of profits. If you can, encourage your team to interact with the commercial leaders as often as you can.
You don't need a ton of money or a huge team of skilled developers just to assemble a software R&D center. All you really need are a group of innovative thinkers and some time. Be realistic about your expectations and keep an eye on your finances if you want to succeed.
About the author
Hari Babu is a part-time internet marketer with 6 years of experience in various internet marketing activities like SEO, branding, press releases etc. He has assisted many businesses to rank on page one of Google for various competitive keywords. He is also a Java developer by profession. Besides providing professional internet marketing services, he likes sharing his ideas on the software industry, internet marketing, and crypto-related topics.