Software Solutions can prove to be game-changing to your organization. Whether it is a service or product offering you want to make to your end consumers or enhance in-house efficiency of operations and workflows, a well-designed software solution can bring in a world of difference. In this blog, we touch upon and provide an overview of this key but often less-spoken-about stage of software development and that is of Solution Design.
For the uninitiated, let’s start from the basics…
What is a Software Solution?
In the very basic sense, software refers to programs that perform a specific set of tasks. A software solution is a broader term as it could encompass not just the custom code or program written to accomplish specific tasks but also interaction with other pieces of software, technology components and systems.
A software solution, is typically one that is custom-built and/or configured to solve a specific customer problem. It could comprise of custom software development and/or a customized assembly of multiple software products or a custom implementation of existing software platforms or products.
All-in-all, a software solution is one that is able to holistically address the customer’s business needs or problem statement, with a set of technology components designed, configured and developed to work in tandem with each other.
What ‘Solution Design’ refers to
Solution Design is the first step towards the eventual physical deployment of any solution. It is a blueprint for what needs to be built out and serves as an overarching reference for the entire project setting the direction for and expectations from the implementation phase. As no solution can be built sans proper design and architectural guidelines, the exercise of Solution Design plays a pivotal role and lays a strong foundation towards building a scalable and robust solution.
Teams that engage in Solution Design and Consulting often deliberate on various ‘build’ versus ‘buy’ (or a combination of both) options for the solution, taking into consideration several factors such as functional and non-functional requirements, budget and time constraints, ease of maintenance, scalability etc. Unless there is a suitable off-the-shelf software product or solution already available that is beneficial to use while also being operable within existing constraints, it is often advisable to go for a custom or tailored software solution and in such cases, solution designers take up the job of designing the solution from the ground up.
Solution Design teams should have strong technical and functional skillsets and knowledge; and leverage the same to design an optimum and wieldy solution for the customer. A holistic Solution Design address the solution from a functional, technical and UI/UX standpoint. It comprises of defining a functional feature set or scope, a technical solution approach and architecture and could also have guidelines for designing the user interfaces. At a more detailed level, complete functional and technical specifications with a full-fledged visual prototype may be provided.
What does a Solution Design help with?
A good solution design is essential for the success of a project. This is because Solution Design helps in the following ways:
- Acts as a one-stop reference and guidance throughout the project for various stakeholders that are involved with the solution implementation.
- Maps the business requirements to various aspects of the solution that will be built out
- Provides the functional outline and technical architecture for the solution
- Provide clarity to developers on what to build, to the testing team on what tests to run and to the client/customer on what to expect from the end product.
- Helps come up with estimates for the cost, timeline and resource requirement for the project
- Acts as a baseline for change control.