When a software development project becomes essential

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Outdated processes and tools can make a business waste time and money. We compiled a list of situations that indicates software development project is essential for your company.

6 symptoms your business needs a software projectAlthough we are in the middle of the digital era, it is still quite astounding to hear how large companies continue using their old processes and tools that have ceased to be efficient in today’s world.

The other day, I heard an employee of one of those large companies complaining about how difficult it was for them to do their daily work and satisfy all of their customers. It raised my interest in understanding what the main challenges were that they encountered, so I asked to be driven through the step by step within their operational daily tasks. What came next completely astonished me.

Let’s simplify it as follows: He needed to validate a budget by comparing information from different sources before sending it to their customer. He logged into a DOS application (yes, you read that right, DOS!).  The login operation took around 2 minutes. Then, he had to login to a different application to retrieve another set of data, in which the login operation took around three additional minutes. For sure, I do not need to clarify that the operation to retrieve the data they need also took another significant amount of time.

At that point, I was curious about why they had more than three completely different coexisting applications. He stated that each new application was intended to replace the previous one. This is not what we understand by replacement, right?

Finally, after gathering information from all different sources, this data was used to validate a huge excel file with tons of rows, columns, and sheets. In the end, considering no errors were found on the values displayed on the budget, it would take, at least, 6 hours for that employee to get that task done (while many other tasks were pending).

Inevitably, some calculations came into my mind about the time that is wasted by every single employee every day and what is even worse, how much money that would mean at the company level. Unfortunately, it is not just about time, it is also about money.

That has driven me to create the following list of symptoms and associated consequences that can help us to understand when a software development project becomes essential:

1. Having two or more coexisting software applications

6 symptoms your business needs a software projectEven though it is very frequent to have more than one application within a company’s ecosystem, we should avoid having the situation mentioned above. New applications intended to replace old ones should effectively replace them and not coexist altogether in the end.

What is the main reason this needs to be avoided? It could cause undesirable situations like duplicated information (that should be synchronized across platforms in order to avoid errors), conflicts of interests between platforms, a higher learning curve of employees, especially the new ones, trying to understand when to use one system or the other, and the obvious waste of time involved in those activities. Ideally, it would be much easier — and certainly more efficient — to have one platform providing all the required functionalities. If this is not feasible, we at least need to ensure that not only each software development project has its own intended purpose but also to have enough mechanisms to integrate them.

2. Lots of repetitive tasks

At some point, any repetitive task performed on a daily basis could be automated, Easy peasy. That does not mean replacing a human resource by a software tool but rather designing and implementing a system that helps people improve their performance from an efficiency and time perspective. As a result, employees will be able to put their focus on and invest their time in what really adds value to the business.

3. Gathering data is a time-consuming task

Depending on your business, gathering information from different sources can become a time-consuming task. If that is the case, you will agree that waiting half an hour to retrieve some data in order to be processed is not acceptable. Do not even mention if that was the first task within the workflow as it will be the bottleneck for the whole process.

4. Employees become less productive than they could be

6 symptoms your business needs a software projectPut yourself in an employee’s shoes for a minute. How would you feel if every single step of any task you need to perform takes no less than 5-10 minutes?

Consider you have to face these issues many times per week, per month, per year. Actually, not many of them are willing to do it, and they probably feel frustrated and with lack of motivation. What will the result be? For sure, job burnouts lead to a reduction in productivity.

5. Delay in achieving timelines

It is predictable to conclude that all the time wasted to complete the entire process jeopardizes project deliverables in a timely fashion. Entire projects are usually at risk when the gap between the scheduled timelines against the actual progress becomes bigger and bigger. A delay in terms of timelines should be a red flag to keep under the radar when managing any kind of business. Otherwise, your weakness will be the strength of your competitors affecting your credibility in front of your clients.

6.  Email as a software

If your operation involves exchanging many emails with your clients, and by many, I mean to have a full inbox to address every day, this is probably outside of the intended purpose of email as a communication pathway.

If you are using email communication to share and review documentation, receive client feedback, and request confirmation, just to mention a few examples, a deep review of the process is warranted. Why?

Well, I have good and bad news for you. Starting with the bad — you may encounter security issues and miscommunication between the different parties involved, a lack of tracking during document revision, or even within your own mailbox to find an old communication to validate new information. The good news is that all these issues can be solved by implementing the correct customized software application.

More information: 5 symptoms your business needs software development

To Sum Up

It is worth noting that the situations mentioned above can be easily extrapolated to several types of businesses or activities. Therefore, even if you do not work with budgets, you may find some of them familiar.

It is possible that within a particular industry, all of the companies work in the same way. Paying attention to your processes efficiency and identifying any of the symptoms mentioned can help you to take action on those gaps earlier rather than later.

Do not miss this: 9 clues that scream: “you need custom software!”

Getting the whole picture and deciding to implement accurate software could add value to your company’s process and make a difference among your competitors. If they take advantage and implement this first, you could be potentially ousted from the market. Undoubtedly, this is a guaranteed pathway to make a difference and take advantage of your business.

Are you facing any of these situations in your company? If so, I strongly suggest you explore the advantages that a software development project can bring to your business!

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