Digital Product Agency vs. Software House. What's the Difference?

Digital Product Agency vs. Software House. What's the Difference?

strategy

7 min read

October 24, 2022

A digital product agency (DPA) is an all-around company combining a software house's tech expertise, a marketing agency's creativity, and business acumen. DPA offers a full range of services and can assist the client throughout the project.

Digital Product Agency vs. Software House. What's the Difference?

The digital economy is evolving at an increasingly rapid pace. With the ever-growing complexity of the digital landscape and competition breathing down your neck, developing a new product and bringing it to the market with a bang can be a tough challenge.

To make it happen, you need a suite of partners with expertise in their respective fields, such as software development, creative branding, UX design, and digital marketing. 

Or do you?

Well, not really if you choose to go with a reliable digital product agency (DPA).

Digital product agency – more than a software house

The market is abundant with numerous types of digital agencies varying in competence and areas of expertise. In the digital business, core services are provided by software houses that offer software development frequently coupled with front-end design. Additionally, they provide consulting services and ready-to-use IT solutions, help clients manage their IT systems, or even outsource programmers to assist the company's internal team.

Software houses may be able to deliver top-notch code, but typically, they won't provide you with other crucial services necessary to develop, launch and monetize your IT solution. On the other hand, digital product agencies are all-round, multi-skilled organizations qualified to navigate you through every stage of your project.

Quite frequently, DPAs are former software houses that have evolved to also cover other areas of digital services, with a particular focus on strategy, design, and marketing. Usually, it's a natural process shaped by successful relationships with clients and attracting talent.

The key difference between a software house and a digital product agency lies in the scope of activity. The former's offer is usually limited to software development. The latter tops that by being able to provide also other relevant services.

DPAs, as more-than-software-houses, can deliver top-quality programming. At the same time, they offer a wide array of creative services and a more business-oriented approach than typical software houses. Such an angle stems from marketing experience and a more in-depth understanding of the digital economy. 

What is a digital product, anyway?

To fully appreciate the DPA's role in transforming your business idea into a full-fledged product, it helps to have a clear understanding of what a digital product is and what influences its development.

Essentially, it's a software-enabled service that provides utility for users, simultaneously delivering value to its owner. The examples are countless. They include mobile apps, such as Spotify, web apps like Gmail or Trello, desktop software that you can use offline, such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office, and wearable apps, e.g. Runkeeper.

In other words, a digital product is a capacious category comprising anything from highly advanced software or XL platforms boasting hundreds of features to small-scale, niche applications or even simple websites.

Due to its interactive and commercial nature, a digital product is much more than just a neat combination of a back-end and a front-end. Its development process is highly complex, and it requires a multifaceted approach involving:

●     business-oriented mindset,

●     ability to strategize,

●      knowledge about current market trends and market gaps,

●      vast experience-based expertise in the digital sphere,

●     design thinking,

●      in-depth comprehension of user needs and nuances of user psychology,

●     communication skills,

●      and last but not least, aesthetic sensibility, which is essential for designing a marketable, eye-pleasing product.

The mix of qualities necessary to achieve the goal goes far beyond the scope of services provided by a typical software house.

Digital product development involves both creativity and tech savviness

Every digital product goes through the stages of ideation, design, development, and launch. Each phase is a collaborative effort spanning different areas of knowledge.

The starting point is an idea. It's delivered by a client and perfected with the help of a team of professionals. The concept needs to be backed by a well-informed vision, a long-term market strategy based on defined goals and metrics rather than gut feelings, and a clear value proposition to end users.

Before it takes the final shape of a superb digital product, it needs to undergo an elaborate design process involving research (interviews, surveys, field studies, etc.), user journey mapping, user stories, user storyboarding, wire framing, mockup designs, and prototyping.

Then comes the development phase – bringing fantastic looks and features to life with a bulletproof code – followed by testing and validation before your "baby" hits the market.

Long story short, a successful digital product is an apt combination of research, strategy, user-centered design, and flawless architecture, all fully aligned with an investor's business goals. Software development is crucial to this process, but the market-ready result cannot be achieved without all the other components.

 

Digital product agency – is it the right choice for my business?

Compared to software houses, digital product agencies offer a much broader array of services necessary for digital product development. It doesn't translate to the conclusion that DPAs are unquestionably better choices for your company, though.

For example, for organizations that, for the most part, are digitally self-sufficient and need IT services only in particular areas, projects, or periods, partnering up with a software house might be the optimal solution.

The same may apply to companies with a highly detailed strategy who are fully confident in their ability to handle the project in all its complexity and effectively manage different subcontractors or their teams.

With that said, it's easy to recognize that business ventures typically require more comprehensive, preferably all-round assistance, rather than that limited to software development. In such cases, an experienced digital product agency will prove far more efficient than any software house.

A professional DPA, providing a full range of digital services, will safely navigate your project through all stages of the development process: from exploring and polishing your business idea through designing and coding to launching your product.

 

Want to join forces with an experienced DPA? Get in touch!

A digital product agency provides a synergy of a software house, a brand strategy agency, and a creative agency. DPA's versatility and cross-domain expertise streamline the development process and minimize the risk of pitfalls throughout the project.

Partnering with an interdisciplinary team of professionals under one roof will help you better internalize your vision, understand the needs of your prospects, and effectively work towards your business goal.

If you're looking for a seasoned Digital Product Agency, contact us anytime and find out what we can do for you.

 

 

Are you considering building custom software applications?

Do you want to work with a partner that will deliver cost-effectively and on time? Contact Score Digital to find out more about our values and development process.

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