For the Swiss National Day on the first of August, we asked Axel, our CEO, a few questions about our Swiss Made certifications and how they have become an integral part of our business:
Scope of application
In concrete terms, to which areas does the Swiss Made label apply for a digital agency?
There are many Swiss Made labels, more or less widespread, which may concern digital. As for Apptitude, we are members of SWISS LABEL (the crossbow, generic to products and services made in Switzerland) and Swiss Made Software (specific to software development).
These two labels require a certain set of specifications in order to be eligible to claim them. The main criteria are that the company’s headquarters are located in Switzerland and that the production of services is primarily carried out in Switzerland. Apptitude fully meets these requirements since 100% of our production is carried out on our premises and I would say, even more, our suppliers and partners are also located in Switzerland.
What other certifications has the agency achieved, or is it looking to obtain?
ISO 13485: Quality management systems for medical devices. This is a request from several clients to comply with their regulatory needs. We are in the process of implementing this quality system at the organization level and have identified many opportunities in the region to capitalize on this expertise.
IEC 62304: Software for medical devices. It is the regulatory standard that applies at the project level and not to our organization. It goes hand in hand with the previous one for specific software development in the medical field which is in great demand nowadays in Switzerland.
SCRUM: A working methodology for our projects, we train and certify our employees in the positions of Product Owner and Scrum Master.
Training company: We are committed to training the developers of tomorrow. Discover it here!
With outsourcing and globalization at the forefront of the tech industry, isn’t it difficult to present Apptitude SA as a 100% Swiss Made development agency?
Development outsourcing boomed in the mid-2000s with large companies seeking to reduce their IT costs significantly. Since then, we have entered the era of start-ups, agile methods, ergonomics, and user-centered design… The specific skills that these new approaches require are not widely available on the market. Especially since the collaborative aspects of these approaches demand optimal communication for productive interactions.
Outsourcing can be a reassuring experience for some IT managers with outdated methods, but it is far from being efficient and flexible, besides not having – in itself – a very motivating factor for a dynamic team. Many of these project managers have gone from analyst/programmer (understanding the user need and finding elegant and durable technical solutions) to finally work as an email guru and bug hunter.
Nowadays, we are witnessing a true return to the collaborative spirit – in person and in close proximity – especially for projects that require flexibility, speed and a thorough understanding of the culture or the job in order to efficiently reach its market. This is where our positioning comes from: Apptitude helps you translate your ideas into elegant and efficient digital products. This begins with an immersion into the world of our customers and a clear analysis of their business objectives. Technology is only one answer, a tool among others to achieve these objectives.
Is the Swiss Made argument decisive for some of your customers? Is it even requested by some potential clients?
Swiss Made is decisive for many customers. A customer will rapidly realize its value as they take into account the entire project, covering internal and external costs, deadlines, quality, and follow-up.
Nowadays, it is no longer enough to deliver ready-to-run software. The clients expect a genuine working relationship based on high added value interactions, then a continuous monitoring of their product in the long term that meets their expectations.
Isn’t the use of open source code a contradiction to a Swiss Made label?
Open source code is an internationally shared knowledge that is enriched by its collaborative nature and therefore knows no borders. It is also an essential element of the dynamics of the digital business, which is why it cannot go against this label.
What makes quality software? How to tell the difference between good and bad code?
When we approach a development project, we address several important questions for different aspects of its implementation:
Does the project, the product, meet a real need? Do the envisioned functionalities spring from the market, the users, or the CEO? Is it better to build an app, a website, a web-app, a paper report or nothing at all?
Does the product align with best practices in terms of usability? Is its mobile adaptability optimal? Is the product being tested with real users?
Do you use a state-of-the-art stack that has a large developer community (easy recruitment and long-term support)? Is the code well maintained to prevent security problems? Who is behind the solution? Are there any license fees? Would it last more than 5 years? Does this service provide long-term support?
Is the code well structured, using the right conceptual models? Can you upgrade the solution without having to start from scratch? What is your delay/ability to isolate a bug when someone reports a problem?
Is your code well documented? Can you integrate new developers without friction? What if someone leaves your team? What if you need to change providers?
Who is behind the skills? Have you secured your team in any way? Are they replaceable? Are they flexible enough?
Is your system architecture ready to evolve? Will it be possible to connect an application to it in the future? And if you manage to raise funds, will you then be able to expand all over the world? Is the choice of database right?
What development methodology do you use? Is it effective? Do you have a continuous delivery strategy, a versioning strategy? How long does it take from the discovery of a bug to its resolution, testing and deployment?
Where does the server work? What do you have/offer as an SLA (service-level agreement)? Are the code and database in the same place? Is your server secure? Who could or would hack into your system?
Do you use “third parties” (API, SDK, etc…)? Do you have a contract with them (SLA)? What is the risk if a supplier disappears?
As of 2000, we have been talking about bugs generally, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. The quality of a software is measured according to numerous factors, which are at the heart of our focus when carrying out a project.