When is the right time to engage Sembit?

You don’t have to wait until you have it all figured out - the right time for a conversation is whenever you are ready for some technical answers. Some customers bring us into the process early to help define the problem, and some customers engage when they have a detailed description of the solution. In either scenario, our goal is to provide something useful in the first conversation. This also gives you an opportunity to see first-hand how we operate before committing to a paid engagement.

What kinds of projects are best suited to custom software vs an off-the-shelf solution?

We see a lot of replacements projects, migrating data from an aging application and replacing it with an enhanced product. We also commonly build tools to integrate with or between enterprise and line-of-business applications. That said, custom software is often used to solve problems that don’t easily fit into a category, so a conversation with our design team can be the fastest way to explore this question.

How long does a custom software project usually take?

This can vary greatly depending on the scope of the project, but it’s common for major projects to take between 3 and 9 months and for smaller projects to be measured in weeks. Timelines are a balance between expediency and cost, and one can be weighted over the other to reach a deadline or budgetary requirement. For example, we once built an entire web application in two weeks to help a customer meet an urgent deadline.

Can I make adjustments mid-project?

Changes are welcome at any point in the process. We work with you to prioritize changes to help you stay on schedule and within your budget.

Who owns the code?

Our standard contract specifies that you own the code.

Do you ever outsource or off-shore?

We don't off-shore and rarely outsource. The Sembit way depends on smaller teams that can turn on a dime and work fast. That's only possible with highly experienced developers who can communicate both with technology and business leaders. We are based in Portland, and keeping our teams local is part of what makes Sembit special. We use local contractors from time to time for specialized work.

What kinds of companies benefit the most from custom software vs off-the-shelf?

Our customers range in size from Fortune 100 to medium-sized businesses, across a broad spectrum of industries. In general, the extent of your complexity determines the usefulness of custom software more than your company size or vertical.

How do you deal with bugs post-implementation?

For our fixed-fee projects, we’ll build warranty parameters into the statement of work, fixing bugs for a set period of time after launch. For our hourly projects, it’s common that we’ll have a small budget in place for post-launch issues. It’s not unusual for customers to save additional money because they had very low or even zero post-launch costs.

What is your history of staying on budget?

Staying on budget is tied to how we approach the initial design and estimation process. We have done hundreds of project estimates and our track record is far better than industry standard. Our approach of creating detailed design mockups greatly increases the accuracy of our development quotes. If the scope of the project shifts, we’re always happy to re-evaluate cost and schedule in light of the updated requirements.

What languages and technologies do you use?

We are very comfortable in C#, ASP.NET MVC, and the Microsoft stack in general. We also write code in Go and Dart/Flutter. All of our staff are proficient in database work, writing complicated queries and making sure they run at a reasonable speed. We have experience on all the major relational databases, including SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, PostgreSQL, and MySQL/MariaDB. Most of our staff are very skilled at web UI technologies, including JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and frameworks such as Angular.

How do you bill?

Hourly projects are billed on the first of the month for work done the previous month, with hours tracked by minute and rounded to the nearest hundredth of an hour. Fixed-fee projects are generally billed either at the end of the project, or as we deliver major milestone releases, according to the Statement of Work.