Most companies turn first to off-the-shelf software or cloud-based applications to meet their business needs. And rightly so: there are so many great options to choose from that can give you the tools you need to move your business forward. But every business has unique challenges and needs, and customized software could be the ideal solution for your specific problems or processes. It’s all about finding the right tool for the job and striking a balance between short-term needs and long-term growth. There are some distinct advantages to creating your own technology solutions, and a piece of custom-built software could be an important step in the growth of your business.
The first step to finding out the potential benefits of a custom-built piece of software is evaluating your current software. Is it missing anything that could be useful? Are there multiple applications being used for different tasks? How much time is being taken up with each task? Some processes might have worked well as a small company, but as you grow, those processes just aren’t scalable or sustainable. A more powerful piece of software can not only make your work more efficient and organized, it might make it possible to automate some processes entirely.
Another crucial step is taking the time to thoroughly understand how and why your business operates in the way that it does. Take a deep dive into your current processes to get an accurate picture of the specific needs your new software has to meet. A mature business should intuitively understand its processes and routines – after all, that’s one of the reasons it’s a successful business. Knowing this business logic backwards and forwards will be crucial to creating software that reflects those needs.
If you find that the job you’re doing requires multiple systems, it might be a good indication that you need a piece of custom software to incorporate everything your employees need in one place. However, it’s important to note here that custom-built software doesn’t need to replace every single system that your business uses. Instead, it should be a central way to connect business processes across multiple teams, projects, or tasks. In other words, custom software doesn’t have to replace your IM software and invoicing service and project management tools and document storage (though it could). Custom software should consider your business’s needs and align a few central tools around them.
The ultimate goal of a custom-built software solution is to reduce friction within your company. It should help reduce situations like employees having to re-enter the same data over and over across multiple applications and platforms, which is a huge waste of time and can lead to data duplication and errors. It should allow you to digitize and automate manual or outdated processes and systems, maximizing the value of your employees’ time. And it should be able to grow along with your company, having the ability to scale and adapt to other software integrations that come on the market.
Of course, your budget needs to be a consideration when making a decision, and the fact is that some smaller companies may not have the resources to build their own personal solution. However, there are some cases where it might actually be cheaper. Pre-built software can have large up-front costs, and often come with yearly licensing fees. For those companies ready to 'go custom', it often balances out over the long run. And better yet, you own what you're using.
When it comes to actually building a solution, you have a few options. You can either use your own internal team and resources, bringing on specialists as necessary, or hire a third party who has experience with software consulting. There are benefits and drawbacks to each approach, so take the time to find out which option is best for you.
Custom-built software could save your business time and money, and save you and your employees from stress and unnecessary effort. It might be a solution you haven’t considered, but custom-built software could be the next step to grow your business.
Let us help you find out if a custom software solution is right for you.