There are excellent reasons to build custom software solutions. A custom-built, or bespoke, software solution can revolutionize your business. Your business has unique challenges and opportunities, and your solution should take these factors into account. You know your business better than anyone. Consequently, working with the right partner, you can use that knowledge to produce the perfect product.
1) Your solution will solve your business problems.
A custom-built software solution will fit your business like a glove. Working with a great partner, your team will have input on their particular pain points and opportunities. You’ll end up with a solution that follows your logical business workflows. Features and functions will be designed to enable your organization rather than altering your business to fit a rigid off-the-shelf solution. You may have a unique offering, a brilliant idea, a key differentiator, or an industry best practice way of working. In short, your application should be able to express that without inefficient manual workarounds and exceptions.
2) Your team has input into the solution; as a result, they own the outcome.
Your team can own the design process and be involved throughout the project. Your partner should always be fully invested in the iterative Agile development methodology. This approach means that your team will be able to see, use, test, and approve the application at regular intervals throughout the project. Generally, if your team is fully invested in the design and build, they will be much more enthusiastic adopters of the new solution and the new ways of working.
3) A solution tailored to integrate with your existing applications.
No business function is an island. Your bespoke software solution can be designed to integrate seamlessly with the other IT systems that your business relies on. Off-the-shelf software can sometimes have issues with interfaces and create stand-alone systems. Any applications that don’t communicate seamlessly can cause issues for your business. For example, an off-the-shelf point-of-sale (POS) system may not integrate with the business’ finance system leading to manual workarounds. A lack of integration leads to duplication of effort and potential error creation that is frustrating for your team and damaging to your productivity.
If you can see a roadmap for expanding your application, you can have a phased approach that slowly expands the reach and capability of your application. The phased approach allows your business to adapt to the change at a rate that doesn’t have a negative impact on your productivity and morale. As you build your application, the Agile approach will allow you to take advantage of new opportunities that come to light during the process. Additionally, your business circumstances may change, your business may grow, or additional information can come to light. In these cases, you will be able to adjust the deliverables of the solution to meet your needs.
5) Competitive advantage
You can have access to a solution that none of your competitors has access to. The unique application puts you ahead of your competition and shows your team and customers that you believe in your business and ways of working. The right custom software solution gives your team the ability to perform their tasks more effectively and cuts down unproductive tasks and processes. It also improves the ways your customers will get value from their interactions with your business. Finally, eliminating duplication and errors will improve your customer experience.
The reason to avoid a custom software solution?
Wisdom has it that culture eats strategy for breakfast. In particular, this is true when it comes to software. If you don’t have the culture to accept change, your project will fail. Have you convinced the team of the reasons and benefits of the change? Do you know how you’ll make time for the team to give their input and feedback into the build? Can you create a change management strategy? If the answer to any of these is “No.” then you should avoid a custom-designed software project. You won’t set the project up to succeed. To be fair, this holds true regardless of the type of project, off-the-shelf or custom designed.
If you have the right culture, the right partner, and the right motivations, then a custom-designed software solution can drive your business forward. The Agile methodology, an increased toolkit, and a shift to customer-focused developer attitudes have all made custom software projects cheaper, more successful, and easier to implement. Accordingly, your team will be able to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively, creating a clear competitive advantage over your competition.