Most software developers are knowledgeable of software. They may or may not know the business requirements well unless they are developing around a known set of requirements. But in addition to business requirements, there is also the issue of legal and compliance issues. These days, it is hard to find any type of industry that does not have some type of compliance issues.
Legal compliance is one area that is almost never is addressed during software development, save for development in highly regulated businesses, or in Fortune 500 companies that have vast legal resources. From past experience, I have been involved in such practices and know this is the case. However, I would estimate that a large majority of small developers and even most SMB applications never undergo a legal or compliance review.
A simple example is Can Spam Act compliance. During a review of an entire vertical industry in the CRM space, not one software application had undertaken any effort to include any type of Can Spam compliance. My feeling is that most of the developers didnt even understand the regulations much less have any idea how to implement them. Our experience was that the implementation for our clients was quite simple and really did not involve much work. It only required a basic understand of the laws and regulations.
When software projects are behind budget -- which almost all are or will be at some point -- it is easy to cut out compliance measures. But I would argue that this is very short sighted since including such functionality is, as I described, quite easy and can provide a competitive advantage to those who dare to approach the subject.
Hire a software developer or consultant who has experience in legal and compliance issues and who takes a complete view of the software development process. It will be money well spent.
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