An Interesting Synergy: Business Growth and Custom Software

Posted on: December 11th, 2015 - Written by: admin

We feel that custom software contributes directly to your business’s growth. Of course we believe this—we’re a custom software development group. But do the facts actually support our position?

It turns out that research is showing one-size-fits-all solutions are not as popular as they once were for mission-critical enterprise applications. This is not surprising, because today’s businesses are more innovative than ever before, pushing the envelope in many different ways. So it makes sense that the software needs of those businesses would be unique—and that the applications used would need to push the envelope as well.

In fact, “A Nielsen/Harris Interactive Information Technology Decision Makers omnibus survey of 306 IT decision makers in December 2014 found that 52% of the respondents are more likely to lean toward custom-developed software when looking to update their company’s IT infrastructure,” writes Doug Olenick, a technology journalist.

Why might this be the case? Mr. Olenick goes on to explain some reasons given by the survey: “The top reasons cited for leaning toward custom software were: the efficiency of that type of software, 53%; it is designed to serve a unique need, 51%; and the ability of the company to make enhancements, 46%.”

Companies are finding that even though custom software may require a larger upfront investment, the ROI in the long run outweighs the initial cost because custom software can be tailored to fit specific needs and because it can be scaled as necessary with company growth—both benefits that off-the-shelf options simply don’t provide.

This trend—for more and more companies to choose custom software development—is growing, but not just because of custom software’s functional superiority and flexibility. Business decision makers are also seeing that when technological needs of the company are met through the development of custom enterprise applications, growth is not far behind.

Alex Vilner writes, “The development of flexible, custom software platforms that runs the core business functions of the enterprise are increasing revenue growth and profitability, streamlining data entry efforts and allowing companies to adapt to changing environments.”

This connection between the use of custom software platforms and an increase in profitability elevates the role of IT services firms in a company’s business strategy. Mr. Vilner continues: “No longer are these [IT services] firms viewed simply as staffing resources; they are strategic partners that drive revenue and serve to build core differentiating applications. This level of engagement is delivering high ROI and supporting greater customer relations.”

It logically follows that IT services firms engaged by companies to develop custom software applications—often ones that play a huge role in running day-to-day operations—must be thoroughly vetted by business decision makers. Questions to ask include the following:

  • What does your development process look like?
  • Do you outsource any of your development work overseas and, if so, for what reasons?
  • What resources do you offer for bridging the gap between business needs/goals and technical specifications?
  • How do you handle quality control?
  • What does your deployment process look like?

Though these questions are not exhaustive, they are a good place to start when interviewing potential teams for developing the custom software you need. If you have the right team in place, chances are much better that you’ll end up with a product you love.

But when talking about the product itself, what features does it need to have? This is where many business stakeholders can get lost in the weeds, and it is also where an experienced software development company can help. An intuitive and tech-savvy development team can read between the lines and help figure out a software application’s must-haves.

If you’re looking to invest in custom software for your business, you’ll want to make sure it meets the following minimum criteria:

  1. It must be unique. Why pay for custom if it’s just going to be run of the mill?
  2. It must fit your business needs. This is where good communication with your development team really comes into play.
  3. It must be scalable. You want your business to grow, and your software solutions have got to be able to grow and flex as needed, too.
  4. It must be secure. A good software product developed by a good team will have excellent security features in place and working robustly to protect your data.
  5. It must work. A no brainer, right? But, really, you don’t want to get to the end of a hefty investment in custom software and end up with a product full of glitches.

So here’s our end conclusion: (the right) custom software (developed by the right team) does indeed contribute to your business’s growth. Surprised? We’re definitely not. Ready to see what custom software could do for your enterprise? Let’s talk.

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