Fact: Sometimes prepackaged software solutions just don’t cut it. When you have a business challenge that off the shelf software can’t solve, you have two choices. You can license multiple ready-made applications and hope they can work together to do what you need to do. Or you can hire a custom software solutions company to build something better.
A lot of companies are afraid to even look into custom software development services because they’ve heard it’s too expensive or takes too long. The reality, however, is that whether your company is a startup or operating at the enterprise level, sometimes engineering your own solution is the better choice.
In this post, we will dive deep into several reasons why businesses like yours might choose to work with a custom software solutions company to build something unique instead of licensing a commercial off the shelf application.
1. You Need a Real Competitive Advantage
When a custom software development company designs an application to handle your business operations or to make your customers’ lives easier, the result is that you have something your competitors don’t have. Whether that means you’re able to do what you do more efficiently, or you can offer a better customer experience, your custom software will set your business apart from the pack.
2. There are Multiple Problems You Need to Solve
One of the big reasons companies invest in software development is that developers build applications to meet very specific challenges. When it comes to custom software solutions, the sky is the limit. A great developer will be able to design an application or platform that meets every one of your requirements, no matter how complex, and you won’t need to totally overhaul your business processes to use it.
3. You’ve Reached a Point Where Automation Is Necessary
At some point in a company’s growth, tasks like taking and managing inventory, invoicing, doing payroll, and processing transactions can become so time-consuming that money is wasted. A custom software development company can build an application that lets you automate the repetitive tasks you were previously doing manually, saving you time and making it less likely that an extra keystroke will derail your data.
4. Certain Must-Have Functionality Is Non-Negotiable
Commercial software is only customizable up to a point. Eventually, if your business processes are complex or require separate systems to communicate seamlessly, you’re going to run into situations where critical functionality is missing from off the shelf applications. When you work with a custom software solutions company, you can rest assured that your must-haves are built into your system. Your software will integrate with any applications you want to continue using.
5. You Don’t Want to Change How Your Employees Work
Ideally, any new software programs your employees have to use should not add complexity to tasks, make tasks take longer, require employees to totally change how they do things, or force a reorganization. Having to adapt to the limitations of commercial off the shelf software can be frustrating for established employees who are used to working a certain way. If a business process is working, your enterprise software development company can incorporate it into your application.
6. You Want the Transition to Be Easy
Ready-made software manuals are thick because they have to cover every function and every use case for a variety of industries. Custom software, on the other hand, is almost always easier to roll out because the training and support materials are specific to your company’s operations.
7. The Software You’re Using Isn’t Communicating Effectively
When your employees are happily using a number of different business applications but those applications aren’t communicating with each other efficiently, a custom software solution can act as a bridge between those disconnected systems so those systems can exchange data automatically.
8. You Need to Stay in Touch with a Lot of Clients
There are a lot of simple commercial email marketing systems out there, but if you’re maintaining lists of tens of thousands of people, need specialized features, or you’re collecting sensitive client information, custom will almost always be the better choice. You can keep huge contact lists without your costs going up every month, and you can tailor the recipient experience any way you’d like.
9. Employees are Constantly Toggling Between Programs
Using multiple applications to accomplish a single task is a recipe for wasted time and for mistakes. If your employees are firing up one system to process sales and another to check inventory and yet another to get products to customers, think about how much time they’re spending just toggling between applications. In almost all cases, a custom software solutions company can design a single piece of one-of-a-kind software that does it all.
10. Customer Retention Is a Problem
Whether your customers are buying from you or interacting with your website, they’re going to be turned off if the process is clunky. Custom UX design has become a big business because companies are realizing that user experience is a huge element of customer retention. That said, experienced software developers will be able to think up custom software-based solutions that address your exact retention issues.
11. Sales are Down
A loss in sales volume is a huge problem for any business, and there are numerous ready-made applications that claim to be able to fix any and all issues that could be behind dropping sales numbers. The main issue with those applications is that they don’t address the specific problems that are plaguing your sales team. A software solutions company can work with input from your sales team to help them overcome real hurdles with better software.
12. Your Industry Is Constantly Changing
In some industries, the only constant is change! In that case, commercial software can slow you down because it can’t adapt to new situations or new requirements. You can request new features, but chances are, that feature you so desperately need won’t see the light of day for months or even years — if at all. Custom software solutions, on the other hand, can be updated whenever functionality changes are required.
13. It’s Time to Scale
You’ve moved from basic prepackaged software to more complex enterprise solutions, and now you’re outgrowing those one-size-fits-all systems. An enterprise software development company can design software that is adaptable, so when you need new functionality, it can be integrated. If your user base grows, so does your application. There’s no limit to how much your software can do.
14. You Want to Save Money Over the Long Term
A one-of-a kind application built by a software solutions company will be more expensive than an out-of-the-box solution in the short term, but can actually save you money over the long term when you consider the total cost of ownership. Implementing commercial software can mean paying per-user subscription fees, customization and implementation costs, and consultants who specialize in retraining teams that need to adapt to new processes. Upgrades can cost money and mean downtime for your business, and if a company like Microsoft decides to phase out a piece of commercial software, you’re on the hook for replacing it.
15. You’re Dreaming of a Paperless Office
Given how many people work hard to live greener lives, it’s shocking how much business is still done on paper. We’re still a long way from a future where all offices are 100% paperless, but custom software can make internal processes, customer service, and processing transactions easier to do entirely on devices.
16. Security Is Important to You
Whether your business is in an industry where security is a compliance issue, or if you just care about giving your customers a super secure experience, you should be aware that custom software is almost always more secure than ready-made software because it has all of the security measures you need and want built in when it is developed. Custom software is also less vulnerable than open source and commercial software because information about the code isn’t readily available online.
17. Your Company Is in a Heavily Regulated Industry
Commercial software is rarely a good solution for companies in highly regulated industries. When you have to meet certain compliance criteria perfectly in order to stay in business, custom software is the way to go because your custom software development company will make sure that your application adheres to all of the security compliance regulations specific to your industry. That way, you don’t run into problems later.
18. It’s Time to Invest in an App
Your mobile-optimized web-based application has been sufficient up until now, but your customers are increasingly demanding a better mobile experience. If you don’t give it to them, you run the risk of losing out to competitors with an app. A software solutions company with experience designing mobile apps can use your web-based application to build an app for customers or internal use that is fun to use, maintains your branding, and has the functionality you need.
Why Your Company Should Consider Custom Software Development
If the reasons above resonated with you but you’ve rejected custom development in the past, maybe it’s time to take another look at what one-of-a-kind software solutions could do for your business. As shown above, working with a custom software solutions company can actually be the less expensive option when you consider the total cost of ownership. The return on investment can be higher, too, when your software is specifically designed to boost sales, improve customer relationships, or make your business processes more efficient.
That said, choosing the right software solutions company is absolutely critical. At Bitbean, we take the time to get to know your company, your unique goals, and your most pressing challenges. Everything we learn during our deep discovery period inspires and informs the software we build for your company. Unlike other companies, we don’t just listen to your requirements. We also identify opportunities for growth and features that can potentially help your business grow. Our only measurement for success is your success, and ultimately, we invest in your business just as much as you invest in us.