Embracing technology is constantly touted as the future of businesses in any industry. But smart entrepreneurs will always be weighing the merits of such decisions. For a given business need, should you consult with a custom software developer like Illumisoft.com or make do with the generic features of off-the-shelf products intended for a mass audience? Here are four situations where custom software has the edge.
Streamline your processes
Businesses always target increased efficiency as one of their goals. Many functions can be repetitive and time-consuming, yet at the same time necessary for your business. And while there are ready-made products that can take care of automating tasks like schedule management, some of your processes may be unique enough that they warrant a custom solution.
For instance, your business may regularly collaborate with other organizations, sharing data to benefit the industry as a whole. But if some of that data is sensitive – health care records are one example – then off-the-shelf data management and sharing products may not offer the ability to customize access restrictions. As your processes and needs become more complex, the benefits of custom software solutions will increase.
Another common goal of businesses is to be creative and innovative, yet how many can provide evidence of such? If you encourage collaboration and give voice to your employees, they can come up with many suggestions for improvement, and some of these ideas may be worth a shot.
Innovation doesn’t have to be big; it can be a small-scale employee side project, for instance. Test out your idea by working with a developer on a beta app, and measure the results. For example, if you think rolling out a self-service app will help boost customer relations, devote some of your resources to the project, and see where it leads.
When you seek to grow your business, it can sometimes mean not just scaling up your operations, but expanding to other lines of business and perhaps merging with another company. Big moves entail a whole host of considerations. Can you use ready-made software to adequately account for all your newly acquired inventory, or track personal records and benefits of employees who joined the company through a merger?
Even if that’s manageable, you’re now probably faced with a need to manage customer and user records for multiple lines of business. Are you going to persist with multiple software packages to that end? If you’re in it for the long term, having an all-in-one solution developed for your expanded business needs will undoubtedly pay off.
Provide something new
If you have an idea for a product or service that could potentially address a gap in the market, then developing custom software may be the only way to realize your vision. For example, ride-sharing – and the gig economy as a whole – is something we take for granted now, but back in 2009, the founders of Uber realized that they had to develop an app to bring their service to the market. Filling in gaps may require solutions that don’t exist yet – the only way to be sure is to consult with a developer who can either recommend that you use existing software or start investing in developing your own.
Take a step back and identify your key needs and what you’re trying to accomplish, and you can decide if custom software is right for your business.