So you want some sort of ecommerce application, a ‘hook’ into your backend system/s, an iPhone or Android app or a website built. Every business is on a tight budget so you think you’ll go out looking for the cheapest solution. Stop. Beware. We all know cheap isn’t always best and with ecommerce, it’s even more important.
Too often we have come across businesses that have already been ‘burnt’ in part because a) they opted for the cheapest option and b) because they didn’t know what they didn’t know. To those who’ve been in this position, you’ll know exactly what I mean by the seemingly confusing latter part of this statement. To those who haven’t you should stop and think.
Here at CYBECOM, we follow a methodology which we refer to as our “Ecommerce and web design life cycle”. The diagram to the right best describes it. There are seven steps with the most important steps being one and two. When we are asked to do a job from start to finish, we can spend approximately half our time on those two steps; learning and planning.
Learning is about understanding your business and understanding what you are trying to achieve and/or suggesting what you might be able to achieve. Sometimes, clients will come to us with a vague idea of what they want but no real idea of how to achieve it. We can help. We will sit down with the client, get intimate with the relevant parts of their business and then brainstorm some ideas.
Planning is about taking what we have learnt, agreeing on a direction and then mapping those ideas out into a formal requirements document. Where we differ from others is that this document will be in simple language. Without this document (or a document of its type), we can’t provide a quotation to ‘do the doing’ because we don’t have a clear direction of what you want.
When we are asked to do a job for a client, we will have an initial half hour discussion and then if the client wishes to proceed, we will perform steps one and two at our normal hourly rate. If the job seems fairly clear, we may be able to offer a fixed price quote just for the learning and planning steps. However, if the client already has a detailed requirements document that we are happy with, we can give them a fixed price quote to complete the job (so perform steps three through to seven based on the requirements document provided).
Back to the stop and beware statement. You can’t skip the first two steps. It would be the equivalent of asking a builder to build your house without any plans.
This process means that both CYBECOM and the client are clear in what is required and it provides the best possible path for a successful project.
As an aside, within each of these main steps, there are a myriad of sub-steps but it is unnecessary to go into detail here except to say that after the launch step, there will always be more testing and the manage step may ‘spin-off’ into further projects. Eg. If the project was a website then the manage step may then lead into a new project related to raising the profile (marketing) of the website hence the cyclical nature of the diagram. Ecommerce is an iterative process.