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Is your off-the-shelf software holding back your company’s growth? Many enterprises don’t even realize this until the problem has gotten out of hand. In most cases, it all stems from the reluctance to invest money upfront for custom software. But if you want to fuel the growth of your business, it’s time to rethink your approach. Now is the time to determine whether you should finally abandon the off-the-shelf tool you’ve been using.
Streamlining Your System
Custom software is most common in companies with 50 or more employees. But even smaller businesses can benefit from custom software. This is especially so if more than a dozen employees need to use a CRM daily to carry out their respective functions.
Besides, as an owner, you must realize that software can make or break your company. Neither can you ignore the rapid growth of mobile and B2B e-commerce. Sometimes the only way to satisfy your customers and partners is by going custom. Thereafter, you get to enjoy the flexibility it brings to the table.
Here are four questions that should guide you in making an informed decision:
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1) Who uses the software?
Do you need custom software for your internal staff or for your customers? Why do they need it? What devices do they usually use? The answers to these questions will allow you to imagine an initial design for your software. Additionally, they will allow you to list the different functionalities it should have.
According to Graham Church, managing director at CodeFirst, identifying the users of the software and their exact requirements are key. Only in this way can you develop the perfect tool that addresses all of their needs.
2) What process do users currently follow?
If you’re running a transportation company, for example, how do drivers send updates about delivery status? Do they use their smartphones to transfer data to a centralized database? How often do they make mistakes when using your file database? If you find much inefficiency in the current process, consider a custom solution. It can spell the difference between boosting the success of your business and pushing it even further behind the competition.
3) What changes do users want?
It may seem easy to think of a custom-made tool that contains all the functions users need. However, without getting users’ opinions, you could fall short of your expectations.
For example, what frustrates them the most with the current process? Do they have exact ideas in mind that would make the current solution more effective? Asking about their problems allows you and the software developers to define a solution that meets their needs.
4) Who can build custom software for my business?
Some companies have the money and in-house development talent to build custom software themselves. But for most enterprises, hiring the right software developers proves to be a challenge. There are many custom software development companies to choose from. However, not all of them are created equal.
Ask for tangible examples of a developer’s previous work. Review their communication and observe how they respond to your ideas and feedback. Ideally, you’d want to work with someone who understands what you want to accomplish for your business. Further, you would want someone who would provide suggestions to improve upon your ideas.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for you to look into a custom software solution, use the four questions we offer here as a guide.