May 28, 2024

Transforming Your Custom Software Development Firm Using Archie, the AI Product Architect

Albert Santalo

The Emergence of Generative Software Development

The first “ChatGPT is Amazing!” post I devoted real attention to included a video of a developer using it to code – I immediately realized the landscape of software development was about to change radically.

For decades companies have been trying to reinvent the painful software development process. This is what gave rise to fourth-generation languages and eventually low-code and no-code solutions. 

But nothing comes close to the impact that Generative Development (“GenDev”) will have over the next few years; but does this mean it’s game over for software development firms? Will technologies continue to evolve to where they can read the human mind and generate fully working code, eliminating the need for human intervention? We don’t believe so!

The Opportunity of Service-as-Software

Software development firms traditionally command gross profit margins that average 30%. These firms are challenged to scale their operations and extract more profits out of the same dollars. Increasing costs, decreasing client budgets, and slow tech markets have made operating these businesses difficult. Owners often wish to build a software product they can commercialize and squeeze software-as-a-service-like margins and heightened scalability from – now they can.

An opportunity is emerging where software development firms can transition traditionally labor-intensive processes to technology-enabled ones across their entire organization. AI has opened up a new kind of opportunity in “Service-as-Software,” a fusion of the software and professional services market. In this transition, we expect the historical margin gap between professional service businesses (30%) and SaaS businesses (80%) to shrink as AI services replace human-centric ones.

The Delivery Cycle

When we think of AI’s impact on software development firms, our minds tend to gravitate towards a scene where the “engineers writing code” get automated away by AI bots doing the work; however, If we agree that the job of a software development firm is to deliver great software as fast, as good, and as inexpensively as possible – then isn’t automating much of the work of engineers an exercise in process improvement? Wouldn't this lead to potentially more efficient operations and, thus increased profit margins?

Although software development tools will be getting easier to use, most customers will still turn to professionals to deliver quality work. What if complex solutions could be delivered in a matter of weeks instead of months using a highly tech-enabled process? 

AI-Enabling the Organization

Transforming a software development firm goes far beyond just automating the engineering delivery cycle. Firms engage in highly consultative work from the first touchpoints with clients. These processes have not changed much since the dawn of the computing era: specialized and expensive talent huddled in conference rooms, and now Zoom Meetings, hashing out all of the details of what a software application should do, what it should look like, who it should serve, how it should be built, how long it will take and how much it will cost.

AI-enablement needs to begin with these first steps. This is why we built Archie, our AI Product Architect.

What is an AI Product Architect?

Archie brings superpowers to bear in consuming inputs from a software development firm’s clients and AI-enabling all of the firm’s initial customer-facing processes. Archie allows anyone to enter a prompt describing what needs to be built in human terms and then rapidly delivers full requirements, specifications, and designs in a matter of minutes – rather than months! 

Archie in Discovery and Pre-Sales

Think of your critical pre-sales processes, normally consisting of weeks of intensive discovery sessions compressed into a couple of reviews of Archie's results. 

  • Imagine having the AI produce 90% of the Statement of Work, taking a first stab at a timeline and cost estimate.
  • Imagine being able to interact with Archie free-form to request a re-sizing of the effort based on client budget or timeline constraints. 

Archie rapidly defines all of the requirements, user stories, acceptance criteria, and more — saving weeks of human work. Archie even takes care of figuring out your compliance, security, and performance requirements upfront. 

And, we often hear how “Archie thought of things we would have missed.”

Archie in Design and Architecture

Archie processes all of the application’s requirements to produce a user interface navigation system and mid-fidelity designs. These can then be imported into design tools for further refinement.

Archie also creates a detailed architecture for the application including identifying your technology stack, and creating your data and application architecture — greatly facilitating the next steps of development.

Archie in Delivery

All of the information captured and generated inside of Archie becomes your “operating system” for your client- and delivery-focused processes. This massive “context” will be what is used to feed AI code generation technologies to provide them an improved chance to nail the actual software development at a higher level of specificity than previously possible.

Archie’s context is also incredibly important for human developers. Software projects have always suffered from poor or incomplete inputs, resulting in engineers having to use their imaginations — this is the primary reason for projects missing timelines, budgets, and expectations. Powered by Generative AI, Archie produces a 100% complete and correct set of specifications leading up to the development step.

Keeping Humans in the Loop

No one benefits from complexity in the software development lifecycle – your firm doesn’t and your client certainly doesn’t. Generative AI affords individuals the opportunity to greatly decrease the complexity of the software development lifecycle while also remaining in control of the process by interacting with the AI and iterating on its output – to the benefit of all involved.

As software development becomes more commoditized, what will help firms differentiate themselves will be the way they infuse humans in the process, overseeing the work of the AIs and shepherding clients through the process. It will be how they engage and service their customers by fusing modern technology with human creativity, empathy, and service.

The Archie-Enabled Software Development Firm

AI has made its way into our lives faster than any disruptive technology ever has. Businesses that embrace it will reap the benefits; while those that do not face the risk of extinction. 

Archie is the most important “next hire” at your firm. Archie has made it possible for custom software development firms to rapidly transform into the “Software Factories of the Future” because AI doesn’t rest, costs a fraction of the human equivalent, and any advancements and enhancements in Archie’s superpowers immediately accrue to your firm.

To learn more, try Archie at

Ready to try 8base?

We're excited about helping you achieve amazing results.