Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
I am the founder and CEO of Net Solutions. I founded this organization in the year 2000, slowly adding more services and the team, of course, and today we are a family of 250+ professionals.
Net Solutions’ major areas of expertise are user experience design, software product development and app development. Businesses across the globe leverage our services to design, build and grow their business.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
I was dabbling in a lot of things before I settled down on one; IT was one of them. Fortunately, the end of the previous millennium happened to be a time when IT was ready to go places; a time when the breeding ground was ready for the web to go full-scale. Being a techie myself, I decided to ride the tide. and that's how Net Solutions was conceived.
What are your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
We’re a team of 250+ experienced developers, creative designers, business analysts, and technology experts, most of whom are in-house. At times, we also turn to consultants when a project demands. Apart from that, we also have international sales offices in the UK, the USA, and Canada that actively engage and communicate with our customers.
We allocate project managers and teams to plan, execute and, deliver projects in a timely and streamlined fashion, be it for enterprises or startups. Our preference for direct communication between our managers and the clients is what ensures that we deliver exactly what our clients require. We don’t believe in outsourcing because we like to take 100% ownership of the services we render and the projects we deliver.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Our business model of having our sales people in client geographies, supported by our engineering teams, helps us support our clients 24*7. While our sales analysts work closely with our customers in their time zone to figure out the requirements, our design and engineering teams ensure that those ideas get translated into software products while our clients have called it a day. If I have to put it in a sentence, it’d be that “We co-create ideas along with our clients and then turn these ideas into reality with our design and engineering skills.” With more than 18 years of experience with startups as well as enterprises, we are well-positioned to consult, as to what works for them, since there is never a one-size-fits-all trick to make it work.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
Well, call us industry agnostic, if you will. Our experience has been eclectic all through. So, if you know what you want, we can do it for you. And yes, 70-80% of our customers are repetitive. In fact, most of them have been engaged with us for years.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile app?
I’d say that it varies from project to project, but if I have to define it broadly, it takes a few weeks for the discovery phase, and then we develop an MVP in around 8-10 weeks. It is, in fact, the number and the complexity of features that add to the time of the back end and frontend development.
That being said, we follow industry-leading and best-in-class practices in Design Thinking, Agile, and DevOps to build web & mobile apps. This lets the project team segment the complete set of requirements into workable modules including back end and front end. Each subsequent release adds a function to the previous release.
And these releases are time-boxed and so at every regular interval, the client gets to see a workable system as it grows incrementally, based on their priorities.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
We consider a score of parameters before we can help our clients decide the right platform for their app. Some of the extremely important ones are the target audience of the app, including geographical location, age group, smartphone usage habits, the mobile devices that the app will work on, and budget to derive the mobile app development strategy, MVP/PoC strategy, if needed, platform selection, choice of technology, implementation sequence, and so on.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea and why?
When it comes to our preference, I’d really like to emphasize that it is entirely a matter of what works for the client; a matter of what will make their app a success. We, nevertheless, specialize in all sorts of mobile apps development platforms, be it native or hybrid, or cross-platform.
For native apps, we recommend development in technologies like Swift, Java, or Kotlin. We carry out cross-platform app development in Xamarin and React Native.
Do you offer website design templates or customized website design, and do you have a responsive website design?
Customization is the soul of a great website. It is essential to find out what sets the business apart, what they are hoping to achieve, and how they want to be perceived by their audience. Then we use our design flair and knowledge of the market to build a customized website that brings their business to life.
And responsive - by all means. In a mobile-first world, that’s how it’s got to be.
Which Content Management System do you prefer to use (Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal etc)?
The most popular ones among our clients are Wordpress, Kentico, Drupal, and Acquia. As for us, we have over 15 years of experience in Drupal, and we recommend it over other CMSs. We started exploring Drupal when it was Drupal 3.0 and have kept apace. We are also an Acquia partner and can help our clients take full advantage of the commercial Drupal hosting services offered by Acquia. But, if our clients prefer any other, we offer services for all.
Do you provide website maintenance services?
Yes, we do provide website maintenance services for our existing customers. For new customers, our expert development team reviews the code using a combination of automated linting tools like SonarQube and manual code sampling and review to determine its quality first.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a web application?
The two very basic factors that decide the cost are the client’s requirement and the time required to deliver a project. We’re able to decide the cost of any web application only once we have completely understood and discussed what the client needs from us. And then, later, factors like technology and skill come in.
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.)
Keeping in mind the varied situations that can exist for our clients, we have very flexible terms of engagement that are designed for maximum client benefit. The three pricing models which we have are Time & Material, Fixed Cost, and Fixed Resources on Agile or Staff Augmentation models.
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 always strive for success and quality every time we go to work. We follow a structured process in discovery and testing and therefore automation is an integral part of our process. The minimum time we’ll take though is 12-16 weeks, but the cost, again, will depend on the project requirements.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
We are not too fussy over a pricing threshold. It is more about who we will end up working with rather than just a price. The main reason to follow this approach is that we measure lifetime value rather than the contract value. However, if we are to give away a number, it will be correct to assume that we are a good fit for projects with minimum $25,000 contract value, leading up to $100,000 and above.
Kindly share your feedback on how GoodFirms has been doing so far in increasing your visibility among potential clients.
We are getting some referral traffic via GoodFirms, however, in terms of adding real substantial value to our business, we are still hoping to see some good results. I’m hoping that our increased presence on GoodFirms via guest blog posts, and this interview will certainly add value to our business.