Software Construction Professional Opportunities About Us

Software Construction

Software North's principal business is to provide skilled computer professionals to design, build and maintain our customers software. We provide any level of support needed to manage, plan, implement, train for, and document computer software projects. This is accomplished either in support of, or separate from customer information technology staff.

Building Computer Software with Contract Assistance


Software North's clients often use a mix of permanent information technology employees and contract personnel to design, construct and maintain their computer systems. This mix provides a core of generalists dedicated to obtaining the best possible systems for a reasonable price with the high talent specialists from Software North LLC providing the expertise to complete projects in minimum time.

In other situations, the customer chooses not to employ computer specialists, but enters a long term relationship with Software North LLC to produce and maintain their computer software on an as-needed basis with Software North LLC working directly with their user departments.

The type of relationship is often a function of company size, technical orientation, and the relationship of computer software to the companies core business. Call Software North LLC today and explore the potential for a beneficial relationship.

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Why use Contract Services?

• Contract service provides intermittent, part-time or long-term specialized assistance immediately, there is no need to spend the time to hire and train additional employees.

• Contract personnel are paid for actual current work without incurring any future costs or obligations.

• Contracting allows temporary acquisition of extraordinary expertise without setting expensive salary precedents.

• Contract personnel bring experience, ideas, and "best practices" from diverse prior contracts to expand the perspective of existing staff.

• Contracted personnel neither become involved in in-house politics nor pose advancement competition to existing employees. Thus, they tend to elicit the cooperation necessary for expeditious project completion.

• Contracting can provide a trial period for an individual who may ultimately be offered a permanent position. (Note however, that most contract employees do not solicit and usually will not accept an employee position).

Project managers at some companies have reported 25-75% more production by contractors vs similarly experienced employees.

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Software Selection
We seldom recommend that a client build custom computer software when a commercially available package is available to do the job. The relatively high cost of constructing software makes the buy-or-build decision tilt heavily in favor of the buy side. Sharing the cost of software construction with a large number of other firms only makes sense.

The process of selecting the best package software is nearly as difficult as specifying a custom package. Senior SN professionals can work with your staff to identify your software requirements, narrow the field of acceptable packages, and identify the tradeoffs. Using an experienced analyst to assist in this process can help reduce the number of operational pitfalls that are normally encountered. Software North does not accept commissions/fees from any supplier and it's personnel can be expected to represent your best interests in the software selection process.

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Software Construction

• Project Planning and Estimating


Sometimes package software is just not available to perform the function your company needs. In this case Software North LLC staff can investigate the costs involved to see if an economic case can be made for a custom software solution. Money spent on this planning process can avoid the bitter recriminations that occur when costs are poorly estimated.

Be aware however, that estimating the final cost of a unique piece of software is like estimating how many hours are needed to invent any new product. For some projects missing by a factor of two or three would be a "good" estimate. While 200% overruns are common, the risks can be reduced if the estimator's background includes similar projects. Software North LLC makes every effort to identify the best staff member to plan and estimate a project. With its unusually experienced staff, Software North LLC is normally able to perform much better than their competitors in this area.

• Software Implementation

The speed and cost of actually constructing a new piece of software depends crucially on the mental capacity of the individual programmer. Productivity differences of 500-1000 percent are not unusual. Experience is a major factor as well as the ability to retain complex interactions in mind while organizing the work. While a project team can optimize costs by employing some less experienced programmers, the costs are kept in line by employing the best talent available. Software North's low margins and exceptional compensation are part of providing its customers with the optimum mix. Selection of personnel for each assignment is done by experienced project managers who have decades of experience "down in the trenches" of software projects.

• Fixed Price Contracts

Once the scope of a project has been delineated it is possible to provide an estimated price to completion or to bid a fixed completion price. The fixed price contract is attractive as it provides certainty about the remaining costs for the project. Only a few customers chose this route however as it freezes the approach and does not allow for improvements that can enhance the final product. Also the time spent in contract definition and refinement adds an extra cost to the project. Software North LLC is open to either approach. We do not prepare project planning specifications for significant projects based on the possibility of future contract awards.

• Life Cycle Support

Important to the utilization of custom software by any sizeable organization is the careful preparation of user guides and training. Software North has experienced Documentation Specialists with experience in user training and in writing manuals for all user levels. Our Programmer/Analysts have the experience to update and maintain extremely complex software systems to extend their life and extract new functionality. As business processes change it is often necessary to carry out parallel upgrades of the business software. Often knowledgeable renovation can significantly extend software life and avoid costly replacements.

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Software Modification

On many occasions software can be purchased with its source code which meets most but not all the user requirements. In this case Software North LLC analysts can study the code to determine if it is cost effective to make the renovations that would provide a fully functional system. This route can often provide better cost and functionality than designing and building a system from scratch.

In a similar vein, disparate pieces of software may need to be linked together, either with a special script, or with a "glue" program that creates the desired functionallity.

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What's unique about Software North LLC

• Low margins and a strong compensation program that delivers the most experienced programmers in Alaska (and most other places) to our customers at reasonable cost (Examples).

• Rates are not a secret and we do not negotiate our margins to maximize the benefit to SN. Each rate includes a fixed margin for SN that reflects our low cost mode of operation. Our subcontractors have proven exceptionally loyal and provide superior continuity to our customers.

• We do not employ salesmen to constantly remind potential customers of our capabilities. Customers deal with technically competent SN managers to plan staffing for their projects.

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