GIZMO Creative’s unique capabilities, process, and leadership make it the ideal partner in the design and development of software-as-a-service applications – whether you’re looking to deliver a custom developed application, an existing application through an application service provider (ASP) model, or a hybrid of the two.
The fact that you’re considering developing a SaaS application would suggest that you have some level of experience within the software development lifecycle, so we’ll trust that you’ve already got a handle on your fundamental application story: functional/business requirements, target market, etc. What sort of devices will your end users be accessing your application from? Will the application be browser-based, or will you deliver it via a thin-client software application? What level of integration will your application have with the end user’s desktop data environment? How will you market the application, and what sort of pricing model will you deliver it on? What is your intellectual property strategy for the application? Are you looking for a finished application with a long-term development partner, or a prototype-grade proof-of-concept on a rapid timeline? Are you looking to build a self-sustaining business, or do you have a particular exit strategy in mind?
Once the business and technical requirements are clarified, we can determine the right architectural approach, assemble a project plan, and deliver a proposal.
The process begins by mapping your specific requirements to the most appropriate architectural approach. This step involves the production of your application’s schema: database structure, object/entity diagrams and relationships, business logic definitions, and integration requirements (both internal and external). The user interface wireframes – functional layouts of each application “screen” and visual “state”, minus any graphical/stylistic interpretation – are also produced at this stage. This step normally yields the identification of the underlying technical platform that the application will reside on (i.e. server OS/applications, 3rd party software libraries, special networking requirements, etc.).
Next, we proceed with the “core” application development phase. This step is a very structured programming process. Leveraging the application schema developed previously, this phase results in a rough, functional version of the underlying layers of your application (i.e. data, logic/application).
If we’re developing a custom design, we proceed with the graphic design phase next. We find that referencing specific examples of other sites/applications you like and don’t like can help a lot in this stage. This step is a creative visual process, highly subjective, and rather unstructured but the result is a completed visual design, or “skin”, ready to be transformed into your application’s “look & feel” template.
With the functional “engine” and completed visual design in hand, we proceed with the user interface. This step is a lot like a structured programming process, but with the increased challenges of satisfying the need for visual appeal, usability, and device compatibility. Each user interface “screen” is brought to life based on the wireframes developed previously, resulting in a functional “alpha” prototype of your application.
Next, we work with you to execute an extensive quality assurance process around the application. This step highlights the areas of the application that need more work – bugs, revisions, etc. – and results in a more polished, “beta” version of your application. At the conclusion of this phase, we usually “soft launch” your application so that you can continue testing it with your initial end users (i.e. beta testers, early adopters, etc.). Once we’ve launched the application, we typically conclude the project with some post-development training and support and, if needed, begin the ongoing hosting and/or maintenance relationship.
At this point, your application itself has been launched and the major work is done. Now, you need to attract actual paying customers. This is when we usually help you create a marketing web site to present the application to the public and convert those visitors into paying customers. This step is essentially a separate project, and is a blend of our web and e-commerce solutions. In addition to the application “pitch” and a sign-up process, this site might include a blog, an end user “community” forum, and documentation. The end result of this phase is the finished marketing web site, ready to sign up customers for your SaaS application.