VNet

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is VNetSoftware superior to other offshore software development firms?
  2. How do I ensure that I get a quality product when I deal with an overseas vendor?
  3. How do I know that I am dealing with a reputable firm?
  4. Is it legal to use offshore programmers?
  5. How do I submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Information (RFI)?
  6. Why doesn't VNetSoftware use the CMM-5 quality standard?
  7. Can VNetSoftware provide references?
  8. How does VNetSoftware test its software and measure performance?
  9. How does VNetSoftware protect sensitive information and non-public information?
  10. Does VNetSoftware sign confidentiality agreements?
  11. Will VNetSoftware host my application?
  12. Does VNetSoftware provide onsite technical support?
  13. Does VNetSoftware provide project management services?
  14. Why does VNetSoftware provide general management strategy services?
  15. Does VNetSoftware offer disaster recovery services?
  16. What is VNetSoftware's privacy policy?
  17. What is VNetSoftware's policy for protecting intellectual property rights?
  18. What are the standard terms and conditions?
  19. What time zone is VNetSoftware in?
  20. What role does ConsultNet play in delivering VNetSoftware solutions?

1. Why is VNetSoftware superior to other offshore software development firms?
VNetSoftware is different from other software development firms because it is a U.S. based company with overseas operations, rather than being a foreign company attempting to do business in the United States.  Unlike its overseas competitors that only offer programming at discount prices, VNet offers the management and engineering consulting services necessary to ensure that your application is carefully researched and specified to meet your custom-design needs.  Because we are based in the United States, we can offer the onsite technical installation and training that our competitors simply cannot provide.  While our business model allows us to offer extremely competitive prices, the real value we bring to the table is the consulting service that enables us to deliver mission critical custom software solutions to our large clients while offering cost effective solutions to small and medium businesses that otherwise would not be able to afford them.

2. How do I ensure that I get a quality product when I deal with an overseas vendor?
As in any industry dominated by educated professionals, most overseas software development companies genuinely want to provide their customers with a quality product.  Since these companies have placed themselves in the marketplace as low cost competitors they operate on relatively thin margins and do not have the resources to absorb the costs associated with fixing mistakes.  Industry practice is to prepare a requirements document that identifies what the application must do and how it will work.  The vendor will estimate the job based on the requirements that are established for him.  Unless the person preparing the document has an intimate knowledge of both the customer's requirements and the vendor's capabilities, the document is frequently incomplete or contains small but critical errors.  This is particularly problematic for overseas vendors because they have only very limited access to the client.  Many companies have attempted to resolve this shortcoming by adopting the CMM-5 programming standard, which establishes standards and procedures for overseas vendors to work with their clients in the absence of face to face interaction.

The other major consideration is, of course, the reputation of the vendor for cost, quality and service performance.  When screening any software vendor, especially an overseas vendor, always have them provide you with case studies of projects that they have completed and references that you can contact.  If the vendor cannot provide you contacts that will rave about their services then you need to look for somebody else.

3. How do I know that I am dealing with a reputable firm?
Reputable firms are by nature proud of the work they do, operate transparently, and do their best to give their clients honest, if unflattering, assessments of progress on their projects.  As mentioned above, always have potential vendors provide you with references that you can check.  You don't need to talk to the customers that had an easy installation; you want to talk to the customers that had a difficult implementation experience or technically very challenging project.  You want to see how the firm reacted in the past when resource commitments or project costs escalated.  Did the firm honor its commitments or did it stick the customer with costs overruns, delays, or poorly performing software?

4. Is it legal to use offshore programmers?
It is legal to use offshore programmers for the development of most software applications.  The most common exceptions are applications that are classified, require strong encryption and must be transported across national borders, or are written with the intent to support illegal activities.  VNetSoftware policy is to always obey the laws of the United States and other countries where it conducts operations.  In all cases where strong encryption for an application is required, VNetSoftware will apply industry standard encryption keys or certificates within the continental United States in compliance with United States law.

5. How do I submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Information (RFI)?
Requests for Proposal and Requests for Information may be done using the method that is most convenient for you.  First contact the company by telephone (POTS) at 1.508.854.3177, fax 1.203.413.3309, completing the online contact information form on the Contact Us page, or simply sending an email to info@vnetsoftware.com.  A member of the company will in turn contact you to discuss the nature of your project, the scope of work you envision for it, and the deadline that you have for completion.  The format and structure of the proposal will be agreed upon in advance by you and the firm in order to ensure that it meets your needs.

6. Why doesn't VNetSoftware certify that it uses the CMM-5 quality standard?
The CMM quality standard is based on the Capability Management Model commissioned by the U.S. Air Force in the mid-1980's to help it evaluate the ability of potential vendors to deliver quality software.  This standard has been appropriated by offshore software developers seeking to reassure potential American software acquirers that the offshore firm is able to deliver a quality product.  The model’s applicability is severely limited by three major problems:

  1. An organization's "maturity" is generally not a good predictor of the software quality that the firm delivers.
  2. Certification consistency for the model varies from uneven to non-existent in overseas markets.  A high CMM rating does not offer any real guarantee of quality.
  3. The key capability that overseas software vendors must demonstrate is the ability to effectively communicate with clients in order to understand requirements and expectations in an environment where there is a limited opportunity for the developer to observe and ask questions, the business partners have little or no experience working together, and cultural differences can foster misunderstandings.

This is a non-problem at VNetSoftware because we establish all requirements using face to face meetings that are conducted in the client’s place of business and the VNet partners have worked closely together on a daily basis for the better part of a decade.

Naturally, we have our opinions about the standard and its usefulness.  In order for you to make an informed decision about this topic and offshore software development in general we have provided an Industry News and Links of Interest page for your convenience.

7. Can VNetSoftware provide references?
Absolutely!  Our clients are our best advertising.  We have grown five-fold in five years exclusively through word of mouth advertising - we want you to talk to our existing customers!

8. How does VNetSoftware test its software and measure performance?
VNetSoftware tests all code that it has written in both the laboratory and the field to ensure that the software is free from bugs, works reliably in the specified field environment after it has been implemented, and, most importantly, does what the client expects it to do.  In addition to incorporating the client-specified test protocols when building proposal or requirements documents, the firm will research and recommend use of the appropriate ANSI, IEEE, and other third party standards for writing and testing the software.  More complex projects will be beta tested in a test environment prior to implementation.  Mission critical applications will be written to meet the standards of NFPA 1600 2004 and ADA Technical Report No. 1021-200. Mission critical applications will also be written to allow for dual operation of the new and legacy systems during the implementation phase.

VNetSoftware fully warrants all software that it develops.  For that reason the firm incorporates strict specifications for test and validation into its proposals.  The firm will not submit proposals with inadequate test protocols for the sake of competing on the basis of low price.

9. How does VNetSoftware protect sensitive, proprietary information and non-public information?
VNetSoftware requires its employees to adhere to its privacy, non-disclosure, and data security policies in order to prevent the corruption, disclosure, or destruction of the client's proprietary information.  Non-public and sensitive, proprietary information is transmitted via email using industry standard encryption techniques.  Data stored on VNetSoftware servers, which are located in the United States, is protected using industry standard anti-virus and firewall protection to guard against unauthorized intrusion, corruption, disclosure, or destruction of data.

10. Does VNetSoftware sign confidentiality agreements?
Yes.  The company has a standard confidentiality agreement that is available for immediate use and its company officers are authorized to sign the confidentiality agreements of other companies provided the terms are reasonable and protect the interests of both organizations.  As a general rule the maximum term limit is two years and the company will not sign any agreement that subjects it to automatic injunctive relief.  The preferred venue for the resolution of disputes is Massachusetts.

11. Will VNetSoftware host my application?
Yes.  VNetSoftware offers safe, secure, competitively-priced web hosting through a third party, U.S. based ISP.  For your convenience you may deal strictly with VNetSoftware or you may host with the ISP of your choice. 

12. Does VNetSoftware provide onsite technical support?
Yes.  VNetSoftware is firmly committed to providing high quality service to develop an in-depth understanding of the client's business needs and thoroughly identify application performance requirements.  This service sets VNetSoftware apart from its competitors.

13. Does VNetSoftware provide project management services?
Yes.  When establishing the scope of work for a project VNetSoftware engineers will work closely with the client to determine the approach that will work best to ensure a successful conclusion to the application development project.  Based on such factors as the client's technical expertise, IT priorities, available resources, and preferences, VNetSoftware will recommend the appropriate level of involvement for its consultants in the project.

14. Why does VNetSoftware provide general management strategy services?
Writing computer code that is technically sound is not a sole guarantor of success.  Successful projects, particularly those that are custom written to meet the client's mission critical needs, require a major commitment to fully address the human factors, corporate strategy, and business environment considerations as well as the technical aspects of the application.  The management consulting services offered by VNetSoftware are focused to ensure a solid match between the client's business strategy and the development of the software solution.  In those instances where more extensive or specialized consulting services are required, VNetSoftware will recommend the use of partner consulting firms.

15. Does VNetSoftware offer disaster recovery services?
No.  Other firms do this better than we can.  We do have a network of partners that we have used in the past to help our clients recover lost or corrupted data.  If you find yourself in this situation we will help you find the right people to recover your information.  Although we do not recover data ourselves we can offer recommendations and engineer systems that are reliable, fault tolerant, and redundant.

16. What is VNetSoftware's privacy policy?
Please click on our Privacy Policy link.

17. What is VNetSoftware's policy for protecting intellectual property?
VNetSoftware policy is to use industry standard practices to safeguard the client's intellectual property such as patentable, copyrightable, or proprietary information from unauthorized disclosure or irretrievable loss.  VNetSoftware will always make a good faith effort to protect the client's intellectual property.  Under the standard Terms and Conditions, VNetSoftware and its principals are the sole owners of intellectual property such as, but not limited to, computer code, efficient programming practices, business processes, or mathematical formulae that it develops in the course of servicing its clients.  VNetSoftware and its clients may agree, normally before the start of a project or business relationship, that the client shall be the sole or a joint owner of said information.  When entering into a project or business relationship, VNetSoftware will make a good faith effort to learn what the client reasonably considers to be its intellectual property and will make no claim to this property.

18. What are the standard terms and conditions?
Please click on our Terms and Conditions link.

19. What time zone is VNetSoftware in?
VNetSoftware is in the Eastern Standard Time Zone (+5R).

20. What role does ConsultNet play in delivering VNetSoftware solutions?
ConsultNet has a long standing marketing and support agreement with VNetSoftware, providing sales, staff augmentation, and contract management services on VNetSoftware's behalf.

 
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