Many people think that software development agencies and a digital product studios are the same. They're not!
There is a big distinction between the two, and it’s important to understand what that is if you’re about to embark on a software project.
While both provide software development services, a digital product studio will have a team of designers, product managers, and developers who work together to create innovative products. A software agency focuses on development services to businesses and usually does not have those additional skillsets; if they do, they’re an add-on rather than an equal part of a holistic team.
Because of this, digital product studios are more likely to be involved in the entire process of creating a product, from conception to development to launch.
In contrast, software agencies typically take a technical brief and use it to deliver your custom software - as detailed in the brief. They’re less likely to collaborate on the creation of that brief, and you’ll definitely be in that supplier-client relationship, rather than a collaboration, which is fine for some people.
Digital product studios are usually much smaller than software agencies - you’ll get more of a boutique vibe from a studio. This allows them to be more nimble and responsive to changes in the market. It also means that they can take on smaller projects and get them to market quickly.
In contrast, software agencies are usually much larger, which gives them the resources to take on larger, longer projects. But this also makes them less flexible and less responsive to change.
Agencies have teams of engineers who can build complex applications from scratch, or overhaul an existing system. Digital product studios, on the other hand, are typically more specialised. They might have a smaller team of engineers, but they focus on developing beautiful and user-friendly web or mobile apps. They also often have expertise in UX, design, branding, and marketing.
Before you decide whether to go with a software agency or a digital product studio, think about the expertise you’ll be bringing to the project.
If you have the brief, know what you’re doing, and are used to managing teams of developers, then you might get more value from a software agency. You also have a higher risk of the project being unsuccessful; many of the companies that come to us as clients are carrying some amount of trauma from a previous software project that went wrong.
If you’re not so experienced with managing software projects and would appreciate a more collaborative process, from conception to launch to scale, then a studio is right for you.
They’ll work as if they were part of your team, will present new ideas, keep your project on course and see it through to the end. They’ll also make sure that everything you do and everything they build is on brand and looks world-class.
Another key difference is that digital product studios usually run their own software products, too, so they know exactly what it’s like to create and manage your own platform or app as a business.
So, where a software agency is a company that focuses solely on developing custom applications for their clients, a digital product studio also creates products - often web or mobile apps - that are sold to their own customers in addition to working with clients.
At Remote, we’re used to heavy lifting and building large business workflow applications from scratch, and have the expertise to do so.
But at our heart we’re a studio - we build beautiful software, collaborate, contribute ideas, and see projects through from conception to launch.
This makes us one of those rare teams with the engineering expertise of a software agency as well as the UX, design and product development skills of a studio.
Additionally, because we have years of experience selling our own products, we know how to price and market them effectively from the start.
There you have it! The low down on agencies and studios. Hopefully, this will help make your decision a little easier when it comes time to choose the best option for you and your business.