Take an engineering approach to custom software development – TechEconomy.ng
Dariel, a highly specialized software development company launched over two decades ago in South Africa, today announced how it helps companies overcome their business challenges by integrating technology and strategic software engineering skills into as key enablers.
“When done in a scientific setting, software development is a profession. When we launched, many systems almost never performed optimally. But once creative license begins to dominate, piracy borders on a problem. We saw this as an opportunity to develop software that could get the job done right the first time,” says Malcolm Rabson, Managing Director of Dariel Group.
According to Greg Vercellotti, executive director of Dariel, the organization has focused on three strategic pillars.
“At the heart of it was hiring people at the top of the spectrum. From there, everything we would do would have an architectural direction that underpinned software development. And third, our methodology had to continually evolve to that we stay up to date and deliver our software in the most efficient way possible,” says Vercellotti.
“We wanted to set up a career path that would allow IT professionals to be exposed to different types of industry sectors and experiment with different technologies. This, in turn, would help cultivate the business understanding essential to building software solutions with an engineering-first approach, which was unheard of at the time,” says Wayne Yan, Chief Technology Officer at Dariel.
To do this, Dariel embarked on an exhaustive and thorough recruitment assessment of people – something he is still proud of to this day.
“Once we have appointed someone, a comprehensive internal training and mentoring program is in place throughout their career. We believe there is no shortcut to gaining experience, so our goal is to enable our people to get there by giving them the tools and opportunities they need. Yes, that means throwing them in the deep end, but we’re doing enough to make sure they swim and don’t drown,” says Rabson.
Yan echoes that sentiment.
“Dariel was born at a time when so many IT companies over-promised and under-delivered. But we’ve always taken pride in telling customers exactly where they stand. It’s not always easy to do, but we are ethically required to inform them of everything that is going on. In the long run, this has helped Dariel gain market respect for our unique approach,” says Yan.
For Vercellotti, it also means that Dariel hasn’t become another “bodybuilder” like so many other software development companies.
“We don’t just want to send a human brain to work for a client. We prefer our people to work as a team, immersed in our way of doing things and offer clients access to the CTO’s Dariel office which includes technology heavyweights who guide and assess risk throughout a project,” says -he.
A company built around app development
Dariel focuses on creating bespoke applications and integrating software at the enterprise strategic level.
This means he helps clients gain strategic advantage and utilize cost reduction initiatives while supporting business growth.
There are three overlays to its custom software projects. First, a cloud approach that involves helping customers design for the cloud, transition to the cloud, and build for the cloud.
Dariel predicting that most business systems will be cloud-based within five years, it’s all about helping customers redesign their offerings to take advantage of the cloud.
The second overlay is an audit and review service. This service provides business answers to technical questions such as why a system is malfunctioning, how businesses can save money on their systems, etc.
“We can achieve this thanks to the expertise and experience of our senior architects. We examine the source code of the databases and discuss with the users of the systems. From there, we report on our findings and suggest ways to improve the environment. So he looks at the code and translates it into a business-focused response with data underlying everything,” Rabson says.
The third overlay is a managed service offering that the company will launch soon.
“Customers don’t want to own the cloud. Some also lack the skills to manage the software we develop for them. This ITIL-based service offering will allow Dariel to manage the entire environment for customers,” adds Rabson.
Stay up to date
Rabson believes it’s Dariel’s focus on understanding the basics of technology that helps set the organization apart.
“It allows us to go from the peak of one technology wave to the peak of the next. It is about repackaging our service offering all the time by continuously orienting itself and responding to market needs. For example, mobile services used to be a specialized offering. Today it is a standard service. Once the technology is commoditized, Dariel integrates it into a solution offering for customers that helps them unlock its business value,” he says.
As tech companies focus on trends, Yan says Dariel looks at patterns and how technology is being used as a business driver.
“The first wave is usually the one that’s fun to be a part of. But the second is where business value comes into play. We tend to ride that wave because we’re engineers at heart looking for the most practical and relevant ways to solve business problems,” says Yan.
Even though Dariel has a multifaceted experience in the industry, Vercellotti says the organization is focused on several key segments.
“Our strengths lie in banking (commercial and retail), insurance, healthcare and hospitality. In fact, we developed one of the first mobile internet banking platforms in the country before the days of smartphones. Dariel sells innovation and reliability. We are selling a system that has longevity and can reduce our customers’ operating costs. At the base of this, there is a solidly architected software created by experts in their field”, concludes Vercellotti.