What Are Development Services?

“In today’s competitive economy, to stand still is to die.” Charles Schumer, American politician.

Retailers are in the midst of a digital revolution. Those that have grasped the opportunity offered by advanced technology have already improved their processes, services and offering.

From enhanced workforce management and state-of-the-art back office systems to innovative warehouse management tools and cutting-edge supply chain techniques. Firms that want to implement business development and growth strategies through tech, rely on development services to build their dreams.

In this explainer article, we explore what development services are and how they support business growth. You’ll discover development service’s four-part make-up:

  1. Scoping the problem
  2. Devising a solution
  3. Client feedback
  4. Product revisions

Achieve New Horizons With the Right Tools

Way back in the 16th century, when humans wanted to explore beyond the horizon, they needed purpose-built ships.

For today’s retailers the principle is the same, although the technology is different. When modern retailers want to push new frontiers – be that delivering business growth strategies, operating more effectively or solving existing technical challenges – they look to digital tech to build their ships.

Depending on the retailer’s situation, this can mean creating bespoke software, undertaking an application development project or implementing an off-the-shelf digital product. To find the right business development solution a technology provider must bring together the right team of skilled people.

Which is where development services come in.

Depending on the situation this specialist team needs to resolve, the team will flex to ensure the right knowledge and expertise is in the room. Once established, projects typically follow four key stages.

Step 1 – Scoping the Problem

To effectively support business development, the development services team starts by grasping what the client wants to achieve.

This involves understanding:

  • The specific challenges faced by the business
  • Where the firm is now and where they want they want to be
  • What the digital solution will enable them to do
  • Existing infrastructure and systems that any solution must work with

Armed with this information, development services provides an outline for a tailor-made innovative solution that’s designed to solve a specific problem for a particular organisation.

Step 2 – Devising a Solution

The next step is for the relevant people to come together to find a solution to the business development challenge.

The team usually includes product owners, UX architects, automation engineers, quality engineers and software developers. Whatever the problem, this multi-skilled group has the right expertise to bring a solution to life, often using app development software.

It’s not always necessary to develop new technology. Sometimes, updating or improving existing tech is the right option.

Whatever the digital technology solution, it won’t just be fit for purpose today: it will also future-proof your business by being adaptable enough to scale and flex to meet future challenges and support business growth.

Development services teams tend to work using the agile methodology to generate ideas, scope, test and improve on them in iterations. By learning quickly and resolving problems along the way projects stay on track, swiftly culminating in solutions that can be handed over to the client.

Step 3 – Client Feedback

This agile approach allows customers to see and use the product giving them a feel for the end-solution and how it will work in practice. This is a realistic way to test a solution and it allows customers to feedback to the development services team about which bits feel right and which need improving.

Step 4 – Product Revisions

With the client feedback to hand, the tech is fine-tuned and sent back out to the client. By quickly solving the technological issues that are holding a business’ development back, development services provide an adrenaline shot to the business.

How Development Services Help Retailers Deliver Business Growth Strategies

Whichever direction you want to head in next, digital products will form a significant part of the solution. Here are just some of the ways development services have helped drive business development through tech:

  • Improve revenues through efficiency – business growth isn’t all about selling more. Sometimes driving efficiencies can deliver significant savings. For instance, by managing stock more effectively and making it work harder. Or implementing a bespoke warehouse management system that:
    • maximises workforce productivity and throughput
    • improves inventory accuracy and space utilisation
    • increases pick volumes with reduced errors
    • ensures more on-time deliveries
  • Meet customer’s digital demands and boost engagement – customers expect to be able to connect with their preferred brands wherever they go. And many retailers are taking advantage of the benefits offered by application development. REPL combined the expertise of our software developers with app development software to deliver an innovative app for Argos that was also fun and engaging. By helping children select what they wanted for Christmas, it focussed parents minds on buying from Argos and secured a sackful of new email addresses.
  • Take business planning to new levels – replace inaccurate demand modelling with advanced forecasting underpinned by artificial intelligence. By incorporating relevant data, including bespoke information like store location and size, cutting-edge forecasting technology that perfectly fits your business can be developed.

Retailers that invest in the technology to support business development will have unique solutions to their specific problems. And equip themselves to push the frontiers of retail by executing their business growth strategies.

Find out more about REPL’s development services in action by reading our Argos case study.