13 Feb Custom Software For Your Business
So why would your business need custom software?
Trying to make a decision on whether to use custom software, off the shelf, or free/open source software for your business is a difficult process. There are a ton of factors involved, and some of them are a bit hard to tie down for non-technical people. Custom often has a higher up front cost, but that is often reduced over time compared to the license fees of off the shelf software. Open source software has a low over time cost, as well, but might need a lot of customization to meet all of your specifications. Off the shelf software might need to have some customization done as well to fit your business processes.
Here are 6 benefits to choosing custom software that will hopefully help you with your decision.
Tailor-made To Your Specifications In Order To Best Serve Your Business’ Needs
We sit down with our clients on the front end and tightly define the scope of the project, and the specifications that have to be met to fit all of your success metrics from the project. Need something that everyone would think is crazy to make your processes run right? We can probably do it. Extremely granular permission levels? We can probably do it. We may advise you not to do it, but that’s another story.
One of the most egregious examples that i have run into in my twenty years developing of off the shelf software not fitting specifications and processes was an IBM RPG system for a beverage distributor. They had a team that would spend 2-3 hours every day managing their inventory levels. The system required approval on each line item that was pulling from their database. So, each team member would spend those three hours doing the same process on each line – F10 / Enter/ Enter – F10 / Enter/ Enter – F10 / Enter/ Enter. For three hours. Five days a week. Those poor people. How hard would it have been to have a list with checkboxes? An approve all option? A spreadsheet that you can upload to update all the inventory levels?
Custom Business Software Is More Scalable Than Off-the-Shelf Software Packages
With off-the-shelf software, the major issue is that the software is either inexpensive to purchase but not very suitable for large businesses or able to support businesses on a very large scale but extremely expensive to license. Since software developers work on a contract basis and develop based on your exact specifications, custom software is able to expand capacity to fit the size of your business. Add a new division? Pop on a new cloud server for the application side and ramp up the power of the database server.
Custom Software Development Can Help To Protect Your Business From External Threats
One of the major dangers of using a widely used off the shelf or free software is that it is widely used. Hackers focus their efforts on it, which means that more of them are actively working to break in and abuse those systems.
Custom software development goes the opposite direction and is extremely cost inefficient for hackers to spend time on. So, from the outset the software application is more secure. be sure to stay on a maintenance plan with your developer so that common plug-ins or packages are kept up to date, though. You don’t want that free text editor your developer used being the gateway for an attack.
Custom Application Development is Capable of Operating With the Software Packages Your Business Already Uses
Nothing is worse that having several off the shelf software packages that don’t play well with others. Your productivity drops as you go from system to system during your workflow.
Custom application development bridges the gap and can be built to work with specific other software packages. Need a software add-on that allows your CRM to track projects? Custom build it and you might get the added benefit of not having to pay the CRM vendor additional license fees per month for each user.
With Custom Application Development, Your Software is Maintained For as Long as You Require it to Be
Since the custom development is on a contract basis with your developer, they will be available as long as you need them to support the application. Don’t let it sit too long, though, there are always tweaks and feature additions that can be added to make it work that much better.
Custom Business Software Helps you Save on Hardware Acquisition Costs
A lot of the larger off-the-shelf software packages are directly tied to hardware purchases from a different vendor. I don’t thin kyou should have to buy that $10,000 Dell server to sit in the corner just to run a software package for my team. There are a lot easier and cheaper paths to take.
The custom versus off-the-shelf software decision process can be a bit daunting, but hopefully these six benefits help out and make things a bit easier for you.
We are always available to help out with your decision-making process, or even to do a planning project to help you set specifications for a new project.