- Research and discovery phase in the Enerace project
- Becoming experts in energy procurement
- Flexible development team can think outside the box
- To sum up
Custom software development requires a very close relationship between an agency and a client. It involves fully understanding the client's business needs and the type of users that the software will serve.
Frequently, the challenge turns out to be much more complex than it might seem at first. This is why the research and discovery phase is so critical to future successful custom software development.
Our development teams have gone through this process many times. One of our most valuable experiences was cooperation with Enerace - joint work on a web application that revolutionizes the energy procurement market.
Let's take a closer look at this project and what it can teach about custom software development.
Research and discovery phase in the Enerace project
Cooperation on the Enerace project began with a meeting. From the very beginning, the founders of Enerace had a very clear vision of what features their app should offer. Both of them have extensive knowledge of the energy markets, as they have specialized in energy procurement processes for large electricity or gas consumers for over a decade and know exactly what their customers need.
It was a big challenge for both the development team leader and the developers involved in the project to understand how all data from the energy markets affect companies around the world and their energy procurement choices.
However, investing time and effort into understanding this was necessary as it is the only way to ensure that custom software would provide accurate information and serve multinational corporations to support their decision-making process.
The discovery phase in software development typically involves several steps such as collecting customer requirements, assigning priorities, and creating a roadmap that shows how the system should evolve from concept to final product.
This Enerace project would never have been successful without a discovery phase, know-how exchange, and constant communication between our team and Enerace.
In order to create an excellent web application that solves the problems of large corporations, both teams had to be patient and share information in a clear, understandable way. Prioritizing and having a detailed plan for the future was crucial to start the development process.
We call this phase Product Workshops. During this time, the dev team collects and analyzes all customer requirements and uses their knowledge, skills, and experience to create functional components that will form the basis of the system in the future.
Becoming experts in energy procurement
Enerace has noticed an important problem that affects companies around the world - risk management in energy procurement processes. Energy is a significant cost for large corporations - therefore, choosing the right energy supplier is a strategic decision that, if not taken properly, can cost companies a fortune.
For this purpose, decision-makers must have access to the latest data from the energy market and conduct comprehensive analyses in order to find the optimal solution for their company. But what if a web application can do it all for them and present it in a user-friendly way?
This is what the Enerace project was about. No wonder it wasn't easy to find a software company that could handle this task.
Flexible development team can think outside the box
Luckily, our development team was open to new challenges and willing to think in a blue-sky way. All the developers involved in the Enerace project put a lot of effort into understanding the energy markets related issues, which was one of the reasons why the application was so successful.
This is the great strength of small teams - communication is fast and people are dedicated to making the product as good as possible because they invest a lot of time in it and see the importance of their contribution to the project.
Our team gained considerable knowledge of energy market data, while the Enerace team learned to understand some of the problems that the development team faces on a daily basis. This level of communication and over two years of cooperation have resulted in an amazing web application that helps large international corporations on a daily basis.
“At this point, I could hire Maciej (our tech lead) as an energy procurement consultant at Enerace!”
Wojciech Nowotnik, one of the founders of Enerace
To sum up
If you are a part of a software development team working on a custom solution, never underestimate the importance of the research and discovery phase. They can determine if your project will be successful.
Take an example from the Enerace project and spend some time learning about the energy market and the customers it serves. If you found this topic interesting, try reading more case studies.