Sometimes it feels as if multinational corporations get all the breaks. However, if you’re running an SMB (small- to medium-size business), technology can level the playing field. Investments in custom software development may help business owners solve difficult problems, increase productivity, or create new revenue streams. But, how do you know when it’s time to make that investment? Here are a few sure signs.
You’re Afraid of Being Left Behind as Technology Advances
A business owner may put their heart and soul into a company that offers value to its customers, but they may worry that they’re not keeping up with the times. Maybe they haven’t established a presence on the websites customers frequent, or perhaps they simply haven’t streamlined the decision-making and purchase processes.
These are all hints that it’s time to consult a software developer. With custom software, it’s possible to meet customers where they are instead of waiting for them to come to you.
Running the Entire Operation From a Single Spreadsheet
You’ve become proficient in Excel, and you’re using those skills to run an entire division or department from a spreadsheet that’s set up with the right formulas, cells, and numbers. Let’s be honest, though. How much time is wasted on spreadsheet maintenance, and does it really provide important information right when it’s needed?
Imagine how easy things would be if that spreadsheet was turned into an automated application. With custom software, business owners get a clear picture of crucial metrics. Team members will be able to update and see results in real time. You’ll spend less time buried in a spreadsheet and more time planning, analyzing, and acting.
The Company’s Current Software Just Isn’t Working
Many companies start with off-the-shelf software, but most of those offerings don’t live up to the hype. Maybe the program was so unintuitive that staff members are reluctant to use it, or perhaps you’re making do with tools that aren’t in line with the company’s current needs.
Though it’s easy for a budget-conscious SMB owner to feel stuck, an investment in custom software development will help them grow by leaps and bounds. It doesn’t take long to make major improvements.
Trouble Meeting Compliance Standards
Some sectors are subject to regulation, and compliance details are often complex. If your company lacks the means to gather relevant information, it may be difficult or impossible to meet those standards. With custom software, compliance becomes much easier.
Spending Too Much Time on Tasks That Can’t be Automated
Tedious tasks are the bane of any business owner’s work life. Each month, workers waste thousands of hours entering data into spreadsheets and doing other mundane jobs. As a business owner, you’re sure there’s a better way to get things done but aren’t sure where to find it. Custom software cuts these to-do lists down to size, increasing overall productivity and raising the bottom line.
Operating Multiple Locations
Companies working from more than one place may need to access and modify data that are relevant to all locations. While ready-made software may be used, it sometimes makes cross-location communications more challenging.
Finding Ways to Solve Customers’ Common, Recurring Problems
Consultants and small business owners spend much of their time working one-on-one with customers to resolve issues. And, most of them have wondered how much more money they could make if only they could clone themselves! Unfortunately, cloning is impossible, but it is possible to scale a company—and your knowledge—by investing in custom software.
You Retain Ownership of the Software’s Source Code
When you hire a custom software developer, the product is tailored to your requirements. All materials and code related to the product will be provided, and they’ll remain under the company’s control. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with off-the-shelf software solutions. Here, the provider retains ownership, and users pay a monthly subscription fee. For greater control, lower costs, and comprehensive support, custom business software is the way to go.
Another factor worthy of consideration is that with custom software development, you’ll call the shots. Clients have the option to integrate multiple requirements into the product instead of cutting corners, making compromises, and using several ready-made products. This increases product uptake by employees and customers while reducing churn rates.
A Higher Long-Term ROI
One of the biggest arguments against custom development is the perceived high cost. It’s important to remember, though, that this software is developed and designed with each customer’s requirements in mind. That’s why custom software is more expensive than off-the-shelf products, whose producers recoup their costs through large-scale licensing.
Clients should keep in mind that custom software development is a singular investment in a business, and it will help them save money by streamlining processes. When a program fits the company’s needs, it allows workers and managers to simplify daily operations and trim unnecessary expenses. Conversely, ready-made software solutions usually have clients spending more licensing, training, and tools to fill in the gaps.
Another thing to think about is the rapid pace with which the software development sector is advancing. Native development is quickly being surpassed by hybrid platforms because of the numerous cost efficiencies provided. Software design is done faster and cheaper due to lean UX concepts that are quickly becoming the norm in the industry.
When using off-the-shelf software, it’s crucial to consider the hidden costs. Custom development comes with no markups or surprise fees, and you’re guaranteed to get what you’re paying for.
Greater Control Over Development
The developer you choose should provide frequent updates and in-progress product demonstrations. Here, clients retain control over the development process. They get an all-encompassing view of where their money is going, and how the software is being developed and tested. With such valuable insights, it’s easier to point out and resolve issues before they appear in the final product.
A Need for Greater Scalability
When developers build software for businesses, they do so with a detailed knowledge of how it can be scaled to include more users or add more features. This is crucial, as the software should meet the needs of clients and customers as well as those of the environment in which it is used.
It’s different with ready-made software solutions, as they’re much more rigid in terms of scalability. It’s harder to add features and open the software to more users, and you may end up spending more for a top-tier license that still doesn’t meet the company’s needs.
Custom business software is developed in line with the industry’s latest standards, and it’s regularly updated with matching security protocols.
A developer who has built an application from scratch will know its vulnerabilities, which puts them in a position to help clients protect their sensitive information and deal with problems as they arise. Ready-made software solutions are riskier in this regard, as they use security and technology protocols that are common knowledge among cybercriminals.
Dashboards and Reporting
As commerce continues to move online, data has become more important than ever before. Wearable devices, social media, and the IoT (Internet of Things) have become part of everyday life—which means companies have greater access to customers’ data.
Custom business software is easy to integrate with reporting and analytics tools to help business owners leverage that data and gain valuable insights that can improve outreach and increase sales. You’ll learn more about customers’ demographics, interests, and behaviors, and personalize their experience accordingly. The right custom software developer can help business owners do just that.
Tangible Business Growth and Success
Customized software helps businesses grow by catering to owners’ pain points and solving their problems. Though it may take a while to see results from off-the-shelf options, custom applications instantly bridge gaps and improve crucial metrics.
Efficiency is at the heart of every successful company, and custom software makes that quality effortless. Billing, invoicing, payment tracking, product shipping, recruiting, and time management can all be handled with a custom solution. With the right software, it’s easy to boost performance and increase profits.
Plenty of Options
In choosing custom business software, you’ll get to choose a developer whose methods fit the company. A dev should be skilled enough to ask the right questions to determine the product’s requirements. Then, it’s the client’s turn to set MVP (minimum viable product) priorities and build on them as the project evolves.
Off-the-shelf software isn’t nearly as flexible, and in many cases, buyers end up paying for features they don’t need. Depending on your industry, ready-made options may be limited.
Closing Thoughts on Choosing Custom Business Software
Custom software can be scaled to suit a business owner’s needs. No matter what those requirements may be, customized solutions can streamline processes and work more efficiently than ready-made applications.
Choosing custom software can be a confusing experience for a business owner, which is why we focus on educating clients and getting them involved in the development and design phases. With these strong partnerships, we can exceed clients’ expectations and help them grow their businesses for years to come.