Software in general is important for any business, as it automates their processes, allows them to run more efficiently, and helps them keep up with constantly evolving technology trends. However, a lot of organizations find that off-the-shelf software doesn’t meet the needs that are unique to their business.
Off-the-shelf software is marketed and distributed to meet a broad set of requirements and generalized needs of a wide commercial audience. Custom software is designed to meet the specific needs of an individual or organization and is targeted to address their unique problems which off-the-shelf programs fail to satisfy. While cost may initially seem high compared to off-the-shelf options, customized solutions give you the exact features needed to fit and enhance your current business process, rather than trying to make your process fit a commercial solution. Custom software helps companies of all sizes and in a wide array of industries improve operations because it is developed uniquely for an organization’s specific business model.
Considering implementing a custom software solution for your business? Here are 7 ways custom software can be beneficial to you.
Tailored Solution Unique to your Business
Since every business is unique, it’s rare that a one-size-fits-all software solution – well, fits all businesses. Often, when businesses try to implement off-the-shelf software, they find that it isn’t suitable for them because it doesn’t really do what they need it to do. That’s why one of the biggest benefits of custom software is that the solutions are designed particularly to address your business’s exact needs. Instead of you working around the software to try to make it “fit”, having a tailored software solution means the software will work for you, since it is uniquely designed to fit your business. There also tends to be features and functions in commercial software that a particular business doesn’t need or use, so they end up paying for unnecessary extras. Custom software developed for your business’s specific requirements and goals will allow for much more seamless implementation, enable your people and processes to be more productive, and facilitate growth and success.
In business, as in life, change is inevitable. You need solutions that can grow and change as your business grows and its needs change. Off-the-shelf software may no longer be able to support the changes and become too expensive due to the need to purchase additional licensing and add-on packages or applications. Since commercial software isn’t created to meet your own business’s evolving needs, when your needs do change, you’ll end up having to find another solution. With custom software, developers can incorporate future needs in preparation for future growth into the application. This will allow you to automate processes to keep up with changing workflows, tasks, and integrations. In turn, you’ll save time, resources, and efforts. Additionally, since custom software solutions aren’t static and can be modified, you have the ability to easily add new technologies and solutions as they become available in the future, which helps you stay on top of the latest innovations. Such scalable capabilities make custom software much more cost-efficient in the long run.
Efficiency and Productivity
Because custom software is built to serve the specific needs and process of your company, the tools, applications, systems, automations, and analytics necessary will be integrated in ways that your employees can easily utilize them, which enables them to be more efficient. You won’t have to waste time trying to adjust off-the-shelf software to work with your systems. Also, many companies have difficulties integrating off-the-shelf software, which makes tasks and processes more complicated, increases margins of error, and causes loss of time and productivity. It is common to see companies doing what we call the “Swivel Chair” method to share data across platforms. This consists of users having two or more applications open and copying and pasting the data between them. With a custom solution, the entire Swivel Chair methodology is eliminated, saving time and reducing human error.
Because off-the-shelf software is publicly available and made to be used by a broad audience, it won’t give you an advantage over your competitors, as they likely use the same or similar software. On the other hand, custom software is developed to bring your ideas to life and to meet the specific needs, goals, and requirements of your business. You’ll have a solution with unique features and functions configured solely for your business, maximizing process efficiency while minimizing the human error factor.
Data Visibility and Business Intelligence
Custom software provides an accessible and flexible way to consume data and to use that data to make informed business decisions. This often makes your current processes even better as they evolve to be faster and more beneficial than before.
This is especially the case for businesses that are still using spreadsheets or pen and paper, which makes gathering and analyzing data an extremely time-consuming and cumbersome process. Oftentimes, there aren’t off-the-shelf solutions available to collect, absorb, and report data the way individual businesses need. Implementing a custom software solution makes a world of difference for companies like this, as data becomes instantly available and actionable.
If there are commercial software solutions options that could potentially work in handling a particular business’s data, the way in which that data is collected and used will still be for generic purposes. With custom software, this is done in ways that are pertinent and unique to your business.
Partner with Dedicated IT Experts
Using custom software development services means you’ll have a team of technical experts providing a full range of services throughout the entire project and beyond. This includes evaluation, analysis, planning, development, implementation, training, maintenance, and ongoing support and customer service. The development company will partner with you as they learn your business and create a solution to meet all of its unique needs, goals, and requirements. They will also be responsible for any issues or problems during the creation and implementation of the project. Should you want to add any features or incorporate new technologies in the future, the developer, as your technology partner, could easily implement them into your custom solution.
Initially, one would think that off-the-shelf software is the more cost-efficient solution, but when you take a closer look into all cost aspects and long-term costs, custom software solutions may very well provide more cost savings.
If an off-the-shelf software solution doesn’t interact well with the hardware and other software programs you currently use, it will likely cause errors, which hinders productivity and impairs business operations – and of course this hurts the company’s bottom line. You may also end up having to purchase additional hardware and/or software in order to make commercial software work with your infrastructure, which can add up to some hefty expenses. Custom software is built to fit within your business’s current system for seamless integration without requiring further investments or causing operational inefficiencies.
One thing that is often overlooked when considering costs associated with software is the cost of training. If a software isn’t built uniquely for your business processes, the time and resources to train employees how to use the new solution can make a big impact on revenue. Custom software enables you to save these training costs, as the solution was developed specifically for your company and to be integrated into your existing systems. This makes the implementation and use of the software virtually effortless for your team.
Small or start-up companies often have the mindset that allocating funds for custom software would be too costly for them, but if they plan to grow (and who doesn’t?!), the scalability aspect will be a factor. The initial investment of developing a customized solution that will be scalable as your business grows will end up saving you a lot more time and money in the long run.
Speaking of investments, it’s important to recognize that custom software development is an investment into your company rather than looking at it as an expense. Custom software enables you to have a unique competitive advantage, allows you to grow and change along with changing technology and business needs, makes your people and processes more efficient, addresses your business’s specific needs and requirements, helps you reach your business goals, makes your data more accessible and useful in making intelligent business decisions, and comes with a team of IT experts that are dedicated creating the best solution for your business. All of this adds up to equal business more success for your business.
Contact us to learn more about how we can develop a custom software solution specifically for your business.