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Ballard Chalmers Services – An Overview

In this blog, we take a look at the delivery capabilities here at Ballard Chalmers. Over the many years we’ve been operating, we have constantly refined and improved what we deliver, be it new software development, application modernisation or system integration; and also, how we provide that service to you. The how breaks down roughly into four ways: projects, consultancy, support and team augmentation.

The service is delivered in the form that best meets client requirements: short-term consultant engagements for expert consultancy, development project teams for full life cycle application development, on-going application support and Azure-hosted management primarily for systems that we have developed for our clients, and longer-term technical staff augmentation of our client’s in-house teams.

Expert Short-Term Consultancy

We provide rapid and effective technical consultants for short engagements. If you are developing custom software in-house, looking at modernising legacy systems, migrating to the Azure cloud, or just need an outside opinion, consultancy provides that resource on a short-term basis without the need of outsourcing entire development.

Consultancy can be used for a range of things, it is an easy way of getting fast and expert opinions. Our expert consultancy includes such things as:

  • Technology architecture design and review
  • System design and specification
  • Health checks
  • Legacy system review
  • Emergency system failure resolution
  • Business process consultancy as it relates to application development projects

Our consultants are available at short notice for just a single day, several days or longer engagements. We also deliver short term mentoring and training by our experts for internal staff and teams, usually delivered at our clients’ premises, but now more likely to be on video conference.

Software Development Projects

The most common way we deliver to clients is with full project delivery, in short, we become your fully outsourced development team for the life of a project. Our primary business is new custom software development and application modernisation projects, as well as extending and integrating existing systems.  Re-engineering systems to modern application standards and migrations to the Azure Cloud form a large part of our current workload. This includes recovering failed or failing projects and turning these around to successful project delivery.

We deliver these projects with our team based at our offices (and staff working from home) 30 miles south of London, not far from Gatwick Airport. As well as the technical engineers assigned to the project, there is always a project manager and review from our very experienced CTO Geoff Ballard who oversees all projects technically.

Full project delivery allows our technical expertise to work in tandem with your industry experience to design, build and deploy applications that truly capture your business requirements.

Application Support

Whether on Azure or hosted elsewhere, we provide full on-going application support and maintenance services tailored to meet individual client requirements, including telephone, email and on-site support. We deliver to an agreed Service Level Agreement (SLA) and can provide support for systems that we have developed and delivered, or for existing client systems.

Our ongoing support service is designed to be flexible and uncomplicated, covering all of the technologies in our portfolio.  Support can be used for most purposes, including, for example:

  • Software patching
  • Emergency break fix
  • Minor enhancements
  • Informal advice & tech support
  • Health checks & routine maintenance

Support is typically pre-purchased in quarterly blocks of 25, 50, 100 or 250 or more hours depending on individual requirements and is called off as it is used up and topped up when the hours run out. Our support hours do not lapse and there is no minimum requirement – we work to meet our clients particular commercial and business requirements and expectations.

Technical Team Augmentation

We back up our clients’ IT teams with engineers for longer-term development projects. From a few months to several years, our staff are based at client sites across the UK working within the in-house team on custom software development. Team augmentation resources are also based at our offices in Sussex, working remotely for clients on a full-time basis.

An example of successful team augmentation was Transport for London, where our engineers joined the in-house team, playing a major role in delivering the contactless payment system.

For team augmentation engagements, we are not directly supervising the project and deliverable, the client’s technical management will be supervising our technical specialist. This is in contrast to projects which are run by our management team.

For on-site longer-term engagements, the minimum contract length is 60 working days.

Azure Hosting, Licensing & Managed Service

We provide business-hours Azure managed services for live applications including continuous monitoring, optimisation and scheduled services.

We plan for the live running of our applications from the very earliest stages of development and automate as much of the testing and deployment as possible.  We build scalable and stable applications using Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment, as well as human-readable automated acceptance tests and unit testing.  This safeguards the development to continue running consistently long past the first days that a system goes live.

We are a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider and can provide Azure hosting license fees to our clients as part of our Azure Managed Services.

In Closing

You can find out more about our services here: /services/

Our methodology allows us to provide a flexible service to our clients, many of whom use us for a variety of services, perhaps starting with consultancy and later using us for project development and then support once the business software is live. We may provide a resource and later drop in for a consultation. We have clients who we delivered projects for in the past, who now have bigger in-house IT departments who continue to use us a sounding board in consultations.

In short, we want to make it easy for you to get what you are looking for. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or would like to look at working with us: /contact/

About the Author

Andrew Chalmers

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Andrew has over 30 years’ experience in business management. With consultant project manager, interim manager and Managing Director roles particularly in the engineering and manufacturing sector and over much of the world, Andrew brings the business-side experience to complement Geoff’s technical leadership. In 1998 Andrew created one of the very first cloud software development consultancies in the UK, which developed a very early-adoption corporate intranet for Hewlett Packard Europe amongst many other ground-breaking projects.

 

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ABOUT US

Ballard Chalmers is one of the UK’s leading software development companies, specialising in engineering enterprise applications on the Microsoft Platform. We are principally dedicated to custom software development and integration for the Microsoft Cloud, as well as on-premises and hybrid systems. Our expertise is in Microsoft .NET and Azure, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint Server and Xamarin.

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