Custom software development is designed to grow and move with you wherever you go. Here are 9 situations that show you that this might be the moment to outsource your software needs.
In today’s digital world, businesses who need new software solutions have a lot of choices. If you are currently using ready-made software (off-the-shelf, out-of-the-box) or if you have been trying to build a solid development team for years without any success, you might be wondering whether you made the right choice and if you are on the right path to success.
If you are experiencing some of the following situations, your company may be yearning for a different mindset. Perhaps this is the perfect moment to find an IT partner that helps you with the custom software development your business needs.
Clue #1: You are paying for features you will never need
By definition, off-the-self software packages need to cater to a wide spectrum of business needs. Developers who create these types of solutions have to fulfill a wide set of diverse needs for a lot of different industries. They do this by including a diverse set of features in their product. What does this mean? That means you are investing in the needs of someone else’s business when you purchase a system where you are probably only using a fraction of the features.
Clue #2: Nobody took the time to analyze your business’s needs
Custom software developers know what information to pull from their client even when the client has no idea what to ask for. Think about it: custom software is really a lot like an old-school suit maker who creates custom, bespoke suits. The suit makers of yesteryear used a process that began with getting to know their final customers first.
That is how they could determine what materials and what cut might work best for each individual client. They then took precise measurements and even had the customer come back for multiple fittings to get the suit just right.
A critical component of the custom software development process is the Discovery Phase. Like the suit maker, the development team needs to get to know the client in-depth in order to discover what their needs are. And, just like the suit client, the software client may not know how to convey what they need – now or in the future. For example, a team that is about to build a custom product may begin by taking the following into account:
- Licensing and costs
- System requirements
- Ease of use
- Performance and scalability
- Content management
- Integration with other systems
Again, by definition, already-made software cannot possibly cover all the unique business environments that exist so they are not able to take all of these requirements into consideration when building their product.
Custom software teams know what questions to ask so they can understand the entire scope of the project. And beyond that, it’s good if the team can also understand where the client’s business is going (and where their industry is going as well). Off-the-shelf software has a different market in mind during development and it is not you.
Clue #3: Nobody showed up at your office to interview your users & stakeholders
The Discovery phase does not stop with that initial meeting in a boardroom with the top stakeholders. Custom software developers also know which users to interview and which work processes they will need to observe.
It also involves research in how your final users (i.e. employees) do their jobs. It is typical for a dev team to pack up and fly to where you are located in order to further understand the pain points of your internal end users and the processes that they use.
It is the only way they are going to get to know the unique pain points of your users, from the people who use your Point-of-Sale (POS) software (if applicable) you’re your customer service teams all the way through mid-level managers, departments heads, and the C-suite.
Clue #4: The software does not allow users to fulfill their business goals
While we are on the subject of user research, let’s mention another aspect that custom software handles. User research is a much more complex process than most business owners realize. When done right, it involves finding solutions that will solve many types of problems, not just those that are obvious. Developers need to satisfy the users but they also need to help them accomplish tasks.
Clue #5: You have had your off-the-shelf software for a year and it is showing limitations
Good custom code will be built with future needs in mind. This is another reason why the Discovery Phase for custom software is so exhaustive. Teams go in to interview users for the reason of unearthing not just present pain points but future ones as your company scales or adapts to new markets.
Clue #6: There are not any options for company branding
One example of this is an area that is taking off right now: Customer Loyalty Cards. If you have a Starbucks Card, then you might already be familiar with the benefits these cards bring for both the customer and the business. POS software needs to be able to handle the complexities that come with these cards, from swipe to connectivity with a customer’s account, to ease-of-use for the person operating the POS system at checkout. One huge advantage of custom software is the ability to incorporate company branding that helps usher the cashier through a better experience.
Clue #7: You do not have an all-in-one solution
Your app should work well with other apps and software. We will stick with the loyalty card example for this clue, too. Software that handles loyalty cards should be integrated with the POS software for a faster, easier experience for cashiers. That requires real-time processing of QR codes, easy connectivity to a database that contains customer rewards data, and upgraded capabilities like manager rewards and options for partial reward card payments from customers.
Clue #8: You need to Change your business model to Make it work
Either it does not work with the hardware your industry requires (car manufacturers for example) or it simply won’t fit around the way you do business. You will either have to change your business model to fit around the software or find another one.
Clue #9: It does not seem to be helping with productivity
Clear solutions that work elegantly and intuitively will help your employees get their jobs done faster and with fewer headaches. It also benefits business goals by reducing onboarding (training) time. In order to have a product that produces these benefits, these matters need to be considered during the early phases of development. And once again, this is where custom software process wins out over mass-marketed packages.
To Sum Up
There are lots of off-the-shelf software products that may seem ideal at first. But as you have just seen, they may not carry you through the years ahead in a business world that evolves at the speed of light. Custom software development is designed to grow with you, increase efficiency, avoid bottlenecks in your supply chain, and move with you wherever you go.
If you have experienced any of the issues outlined above, it may be time to talk to some qualified professionals – a team of developers completely dedicated to helping you transform your business with a unique solution that covers your business needs now and into the future as well.
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