With more and more large corporations investing in custom software and larger in-house IT teams, the challenge to compete is getting tougher for small to mid-sized companies. The pressure is strong to upgrade systems and processes while utilizing the latest in technology. But why is now the time to be thinking about custom software?
Large Companies are Building Value with Custom Software
Dick’s Sporting Goods’ decision to invest in software development via an in-house IT team of forty shines a light on the fierce, competitive retail market. But it also points to the fact that companies are realizing the need and advantages of custom software that is built just for them and meets business needs. It provides the leverage to gain market share by engaging audiences and providing optimal products and services. They see the value in building their future business today through innovations that can move industries in new directions.
The signs are everywhere as one by one industries are making the move to develop custom software. Technology is changing faster than many can keep up. But for small and mid-sized companies, customization may seem out of reach. You don’t have the time or resources to build an in-house team to achieve the ideal solutions. In fact, software development may not be something you’re personally comfortable with dealing on a daily basis. Having a large IT team would require monitoring software developers and their progress, which is inherently technical in nature. And this will take you away from overseeing and running your normal business operations. Worst of all, the chances of not getting it right the first time around is risky. This is especially true if you are not prepared or ill-equipped to build custom software internally.
In-house software mistakes could take a healthy company down for a whole array of reasons including reduced profitability and poor ROI. So, what can small companies do to stay in the game? And when is the right time to make the investment?
Can Small and Medium Size Companies Compete?
Most small and medium sized companies don’t have IT budgets to hire on 40 more employees to build a new system. So, it makes sense to look at software development companies who can help you. Outsourcing is an excellent alternative and enables you to become just as competitive as the big players. Because the option to just fade away in rough times is not option for healthy companies like yours who have lots to offer.
So, unless software development is part your company’s products or service offerings, you may want to look outside of your own IT team (if you have one). It’s important to seek out expert software developers who have a proven track record to help build the right solutions. The alternative is finding yourself struggling for answers and potentially making risky mistakes.
Why Some Companies Fail
And, if you’re thinking that you still have plenty of time or don’t need to worry about how technology and software is changing business and industries, think again. You may be surprised just how much change has taken place within the last ten years. In the 2010 article, 10 Great Companies That Lost Their Edge, companies like Blockbuster and Toys R Us were already showing signs of defeat due to the onslaught of technology.
But there was more to it as the article points to three primary reasons for these companies’ woes. The “physical trap” finds companies bogged down in old investments of equipment and systems. Then there’s the “psychological trap” of believing your success is invincible with no need to change. And finally, there is the “strategic trap” that keeps companies fixated on the present and not thinking about the future.
And it’s not just about huge chains or big businesses that are affected by the wave of change that is hitting the bottom line. Many small businesses are feeling the threat of extinction that online products, systems, and services pose. Staying status quo may be the cause of their ultimate demise. There are countless examples of more affected industries that are feeling the pinch. Of course, as each industry becomes a target, the effects trickle down to smaller companies. As noted in 20 Industries Threatened by Tech Disruption, once thriving industries that include droves of small businesses are facing huge challenges.
Timing is Everything
But the biggest challenge of all may be more about timing. It’s important to know when to make your move. It requires making a key decision to update how you do business to stay in the running. And although much of the change that is taking place has to do with technology and software, the primary goals of business are still present. Staying profitable, satisfying customers, employee retention, and being competitive is a short list of what business needs to survive. Today’s savvy companies realize that custom software may be the best answer to solve most, if not all the objectives they look to accomplish. Customization is definitely a game changer.
Custom Software is Built to Compete
Fortunately, the sky’s the limit when it comes to custom software. What you dream of today can be a profitable reality tomorrow with the right software solutions. Software that is designed specifically for your systems, processes, and customers with the goal efficiency and profitability is crucial. The goal is to do business in a such way that it crushes the competition with new ways of getting the job done.
In the Dick’s Sporting Good example, Chief Technology Officer, Paul Gaffney, updated their e-commerce platforms and developed new inventory software to provide real-time information and availability of products. Gaffney boasts the software’s ease of use as part of an overall plan to be more attractive to millennial workers. Updating their systems and providing tools to make the work easier to perform was a priority.
Finding talent, especially in the retail sector, can be difficult in today’s climate. Dick’s move to transform their systems to effectively put product to market while making work easier and more efficient for employees makes it harder for other companies to attract good employees. This includes small to midsized companies who are vying for the same workers.
Getting Over “IT”
But sometimes the hardest hurdle for company owners and leaders to overcome is the ability to rethink how they view technology and software. Change is especially hard for companies who have run their business the same way for years with success. In fact, the longer you’ve been in business, the more resistant you may be to changes in the way you do business.
But just keeping the doors open with the same tools and products is not enough anymore. Not when you consider that behind the scenes, technical geniuses are developing solutions and new ways of doing business faster and more efficiently. In essence, these gurus are intentionally looking for ways to improve products and customer service while maybe unintentionally crushing old, traditional business processes. Just look at the challenges facing taxi companies, travel agencies, food service, and financial institutions to name a few.
It’s not unusual for business owners to postpone the discussions and plans for where they see themselves from a technology standpoint down the road. In fact, some would even prefer to just keep the same pace and operate as normal. After all, they have been doing business that way successfully for years. Why change now?
Executives Realize It’s Time to Invest
If the last ten years have shown us anything, the reality is that today’s changing business climate is dictating when it’s necessary to revamp your operations. To survive this reality, many companies are choosing custom software and look to software developers to improve their processes and systems with an eye on a healthy bottom line. But more importantly, they realize that timing is everything relative to their ability to compete, not to mention their survival.
And although “most executives know it’s time to invest,” they naturally have concerns whether such investments will not only save the company money but also make money. More importantly, they look to beat out the competition, which makes them more motivated to invest in custom software. Software solutions built just for them will improve their company’s competitive edge to attract customers and talent with operational efficiency. Meeting their business needs with true customization
Is now the right time? Ask yourself if improving business processes, increasing profitability, increasing revenue, and being more competitive are important now.
As a software development company, Bitbean realizes that all businesses, regardless of size or industry, have common goals and objectives to stay competitive and be profitable. At the same time, not all companies are created equal and as such function differently. It’s important to look closely at what makes your business unique and how your way of doing business can be improved. Our Shifting Perspectives® method looks at your current systems, processes, objectives, and goals at all angles to reveal the best path and software to get you there.
Ready to make your software investment?
Contact Bitbean for a free consultation. We’ll build the right software solution to meet your company’s needs both now and in the future. Our expertise in custom software comes from years of experience with varying businesses in different industries.