In today’s dynamic world, innovation is fundamentally a continuous process. The ever-increasing pace has made the threat of disruption as the new normal. And to secure market share, one has to develop an effective strategy to complement the innovation.
Software prototyping is an indispensable stage of innovation. It provides a test-run of your ideas in a controlled and economically feasible fashion. Eliminating redundancy, it allows you to focus on the core areas and implement pertinent variations.
What is a prototype?
A software prototype is a simulation or sample demo of a product/service that allows one to assess the applicability of the product by testing the underlying hypothesis and virtually scrutinize the software before it is developed into a minimum viable product (MVP).
Cloud technologies and open-source platforms significantly relax the financial constraints and allow the test-run in a cost-friendly manner. Thus, software prototype development incorporates low costs but provides invaluable insights.
At Icreon, we work across diverse array of industries to help our clients in removing operational bottlenecks by dealing with the precise technological pain points. Solving problem statements with intelligence and creativity, we aim to maintain long-term relations with our clients.
What do you need a prototype?
Prototyping is a rewarding process not only from technological viewpoint but also from business aspects. Providing a compelling vision and define the scope spectrum, prototyping enables you to test your theories and understand the weak ends. It is an iterative process that is the building block for a robust product.
- Understanding user interaction by testing with the ‘actual’ users.
- Pragmatically validating your base assumptions to gauge feasibility.
- Recognizing any design issues to eliminate redundancy and focusing on relevant aspects.
- Collecting data to refine the product.
This process provides feedback from your target customer base. Thus, enabling you to improve and to adapt the software product based on stakeholder requirements. It mitigates product risk by filtering the design flaws and, thereby, allowing you to rectify them at an early stage. It shows you how capable is the proposed solution to solve the problem statement and provides information required for long-term developments.
In a time-sensitive scenario, prototyping can also aid to prioritize design requirements. Prototyping involves testing at granular levels to construct the software product that resonates with the stakeholders’ needs. For instance, Amazon established a strong, ubiquitous foothold in the online marketplace by placing stakeholders’ needs as its key element.
Prototyping could be further granulated as horizontal and vertical. Horizontal prototyping provides a holistic view of the system, clarifying key components, focusing on user interaction and usually used at first leg of function definition stage. Vertical prototyping works with testing these key components for effective integration and usually used at latter stage of function definition stage. Thus, prototyping provides crucial data that can transform the product into a successful innovation.
Icreon understands the power of data-driven decision making. This data could be in varied forms. Thus, we work closely with our clients to precisely comprehend their requirements, constraints and deliverables. With strong belief in the transformative power of technology, we help businesses become more profitable, more efficient and more agile.
How to build a prototype?
While building a prototype, you must remember that it is an iterative process. With time, modifications will be made to ensure viability and to adapt to the changing needs. The initial stage majorly involves educated guesswork. With further inputs and analysis, the prototype is given depth through design elements, system constraints and user requirements.
Building prototype requires seamless integrations across teams and tools. Using content management systems (CMSs), you can ensure collaborative information management and knowledge sharing.
Stakeholders’ requirements should be the driving force of the prototype. The design framework should incorporate all the relevant touch points to ensure customer satisfaction. Serving customers successfully not only provides customer retention but also lowers cost in the long run. Focus groups, market research and surveys are common, productive methods to understand customer needs. Once the prototype is made and tested, the empirical data obtained will help you better understand the customer review and enhance your product features through the required adjustments.
With prototyping being an iterative process, funding is an important consideration. To maintain economical balance, businesses should invest smartly and in an agile manner. Business model vary for each company and its respective projects. With a clear vision, structured approach, and risk assessment, businesses can have a sound business model to avoid repetitive funding and avoid financial overheads. Prototyping is cheaper owing to affordable community software and open-source platforms. Strategic use of partnerships and industry networks can further guard financial risk.
Prototyping is an effective tool for you to explore blue oceans while improving strategies in the current domain. For instance, Icreon worked with a client in the retail business of the specialty tools. The client wanted to explore new streams (B2C) against the operational one (B2B). We worked with our clients to assess the e-commerce platform and conduced comprehensive analysis to develop the digital prototype. After testing, we concluded that both the streams could work harmoniously, thereby, diversifying the company’s streams and maximizing revenue.
To keep up with the velocity of market, certain projects have to be completed within the minimum time frame. However, quality of output should not be compromised by the constraint of time. At Icreon, we understand the dual relation of time and quality. For one of our clients in the sports management domain, we developed a mobile application to showcase the most relevant features with myriad of information. We granulated the requirements of the clients and developed the framework of our action. The application was fully functional within 90 days, operating in English and Spanish, and available across multiple operating systems namely iOS, Android and Windows.