There's a myth that is unfortunately all too common that tells us custom software is something that can only benefit certain types of organizations. Sure, a Fortune 500 company managing thousands of employees needs something built with their goals in mind - everyone else can get by with spreadsheets and productivity suites from the 1990s. Right?
In fact, custom software can be beneficial to businesses of all types, of all sizes and in all industries - especially as you continue to grow and count more and more people as contributors to your ongoing success. To put it succinctly, there are a number of critical reasons why your company doesn't just want but NEEDS software built specifically for your business that are more than worth exploring.
The Power of Custom Software
One of the major areas where custom software can be a massive benefit involves not only managing operations, but situations where multiple people are contributing to various aspects of said management. With a solution that is built specifically for your business as opposed to one where your business is an afterthought, mission-critical functions like communication and collaboration are suddenly empowered. This in turn allows all leaders to not only continue to operate using the workflows that they feel most comfortable with, but also in a way that allows them to equally contribute to "the greater good" at the same time.
When all managers are forced to change the way they like to work to adapt their style to a "one size fits all" off-the-shelf solution, this is difficult on the best of days and largely impossible on the worst.
Likewise, custom software can be a massive benefit in terms of a geographically dispersed workforce - something that is becoming more and more common as time marches on. Whether you're talking about a business with multiple locations, employees with are in the field or people who operate from home the majority of the time, people still need to be able to work in the way you need them to work regardless of where they happen to be. Off-the-shelf software that was designed a decade ago simply wasn't built to support this remote workforce. Remote connectivity is often included by way of an update, but it's largely tacked onto something that already existed - not built into the product itself from inception.
Other Essential Considerations
Another reason why your company really needs software built specifically for your business has to do with the hassles associated with activities containing a process of multiple steps. These are often very specialized tasks that are unique to your business that are highly manual in nature. They're already time consuming - there's literally no argument that can be made that justifies taking something that is already lengthy and extending it even further just because you want to save money up-front by investing in something off-the-shelf.
People often run into this problem in particular as they begin to encounter spreadsheet limitations in greater numbers, for just one example. Spreadsheets can certainly work adequately for basic data collection and reconciliation, but there will absolutely come a time where your business grows beyond what they're capable of. When you start to realize that there are certain tasks and processes that, while necessary, have started to take away valuable time from the core focus on your business - you're looking at one of the biggest signs that your company needs a custom solution built specifically for your business whether you realize it or not.
In the end, it's easy to see how custom software checks a number of different boxes, essentially all at the same time. Your business is a unique entity in and of itself - trying to force it to operate in a "one size fits all" manner only lessons those unique qualities. It certainly doesn't support them. In many ways, off-the-shelf software is really only an ideal situation to preserve the status quo - to keep your organization exactly where it is today for as long as possible. If you actually want to continue to grow and evolve as the industry around you does the same, you need something that was built FOR your business... and you need it now.
About the Author
Lance Keene, the founder of Keene Systems,
has 40 years’ experience in custom software development.
Over the course of his career he and his team have written software for companies such as Mack Trucks,
Bayer, Calvin Klein, Hershey, IBM, Kimberly Clark, Lindt, Sara Lee, Pfizer, BAE, L'oreal, Ocean Spray, Dana Farber, Tootsie Rolls, Guiness, Texas Instruments, and CVS.
(see full client list)
If you'd like to learn more about custom software alternatives to your current IT problems, you can speak one-on-one with Lance
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