Please introduce your company and your role within the company.
HQSoftware was founded in 2001 by a team of tech enthusiasts who had enough passion to run projects that cater to customers’ business needs. Today we are the most interested in IoT, AR, VR, and AI solutions, and possess a relevant and unique expertise in these domains. Our experience allowed us to provide smarter R&D services to the top 10 companies from the Fortune 500 list and help them evolve. HQSoftware achieved this by uniting the best professionals under one roof.
What is your company’s business model–in-house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
We sell the expertise our in-house team has obtained. Rarely we turn to our partners to solve tasks when we have not enough experience. It is, for example, complex embedded software analysis or other peculiar questions we have not encountered earlier. Thanks to the fact that we operate in Minsk and Tallinn that accommodate numbers of IT-companies, we always have someone to consult. But our core expertise is always kept by our in-house specialists.
How is your business model beneficial from a value-added perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
We can not compare ourselves to other companies because there are hundreds of them. There is always someone better than you, but we are eager to do our best while delivering business value. We teach our Business Analysts to examine the business cases our clients bring us in order to determine the true purpose of the project. This process takes time and effort, and this is why we prefer to build a long-term relationship with the client. After we understand the client’s business, we develop an intellectual property that generates specific business value. We do not “just code”, we always remember the purpose. Also, our objective is to collect a deep technical and business domain expertise to share it with our clients. So the added value we provide is the ability of our software to solve particular business tasks wisely.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive?
The industries we usually cater to are: Automotive Manufacturing, E-learning, Insurance, E-commerce, Marketing and Advertising, Banking and Finance. Our customers are usually ongoing rather than repetitive. They stay with us for a long time and we often run several projects for one business. To perform effectively we adapt to the client’s business model and inner processes to become a seamlessly “embedded” team.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a web or mobile application?
The key parameter to consider before starting of the development process is the purpose of the project. We often turn to cross-platform development because it allows for solving most of the business tasks. We want to be technology agnostic in terms of development, we have enough resources to use the tools the project demands, so we can afford to concentrate on the purpose of the development.
Which platform and technologies do you prefer to use in the development of your web and mobile apps?
If our customer, for example, wants to develop a game to attract the general public to his educational project, we will probably use Unity because it suits the best. But more often JS plus cross-platform development offers the most fulfilling toolset.
Do you offer website design templates or customized website design, and do you have a responsive website design? How do you approach mobile app design?
We do not make templated design because we do not create templated software. Every application is different from each other and our UX/UI specialists create interfaces that are the most suitable for user interaction and information perception. This approach works for mobile app design too.
Which Content Management System do you prefer to use (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc)?
We do not personally prefer one CMS over another because of some technical parameters, such as functionality, interoperability, and other. The choice of a CMS depends on the requirements of the project and the purpose of the product.
Do you provide website maintenance services?
Yes, we do provide maintenance and enhancement services for websites as well as for other software solutions we develop.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a web application?
The project scope is a determining factor for deciding the cost of any application. There are a number of factors that depend on the project requirements, but the scope is the most important one.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
We bill our clients following three main payment models.
The first one is Time and Material, in terms of which clients receive the ability to change the scope of work, have a full control over the team, and pay by hourly rates. If there is a specific issue, we build an R&D team to dig into the client's problem, acquire the necessary knowledge, and create intellectual property that fully belongs to the client. The billing for R&D teams is often Time and Material.
The second one is Fixed Price which includes a fixed scope of work, a predetermined deadline, and requires little control over the team. If the client is concerned about starting with Time and Material billing or a Dedicated Team, he can limit possible risks and build a clear perception of how we work and what can we deliver by opting for a Fixed Price model.
And the last but not least, a Dedicated Team approach offers clients a full-time extension of their own team - our specialists work as their employees and are paid according to the determined rules. In average most of our projects further adopt Time and Material or Dedicated Team billing structure. We prefer Agile, and it is not compatible with Fixed Price billing.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
We start projects that we are interested in and match our target business portfolio. We prefer to run projects with minimum 3 specialists involved full-time. It is also a fact that big projects sometimes come from small startups - our biggest project was first a part-time task for one developer. Budget is not a cornerstone, the perspective of the project is. Our approach allows us to build a long-term and trustful relationship that recoups better at the end of the day.