Mark: I love software. I use a software in so many areas of my life, from tools that keep me focused and on task, provide me entertainment, allow me to say connected with friends and family, and enable me to learn about new ideas. There aren’t many areas in my life that aren’t impacted by software in one way or another.
Lori: I’ve made a career of designing custom software, so it probably isn’t surprising that I am a strong believer in the benefits of custom software. When we are hired to build custom software for a company, my first task is usually to conduct user research. During this phase, I talk to clients and customers about their current tools and processes in order to uncover the areas where custom software can be most impactful. With these learnings, I craft designs, test them, and work with developers to build a tool that eliminates the problems identified.
Recently Mark and I sat down to talk about software. Why is software important in this world? And more specifically what are the benefits of custom software? Here are some thoughts:
Whether custom or off-the-shelf, here are 6 benefits using software can provide for a company.
- Reduce expenses by increasing speed, accuracy, or efficiency.
- Increase revenue by revealing and enabling new opportunities.
- Increase accuracy and dependability by reducing human error.
- Provide important insights and timely information to aid business decisions.
- Help you provide better customer service.
- Increase the standardization of practices.
Types of software
Over the years, we have built many types of software that solved different challenges. We’ve built desktop apps, web apps, mobile apps, and embedded solutions, but the tool basically was one of the following:
- Internal software tool: Internal software tools are intended to be used by employees to help a business run better, therefore accomplishing one or more of the 5 items listed above. For example, a software system could help a company speed up an operational process, track your inventory, or automate a manual process.
- Customer facing tool: A customer facing tool is built to serve the customers of a company. The main objective is to provide customers an easier, more efficient, or more enjoyable way to interact with your company. This could be an app that lets you accomplish tasks from a mobile device or a website that allows customers interact with your product or service.
- Combination or internal and customer facing: Or maybe a company needs a tool that includes both internal and customer facing components. These tools typical bridge internal processes and customer service in a way that allows a company to operate efficiently and deliver high quality customer service.
Why Custom Software?
Software is great. There is a lot of off-the-shelf software available, some of which will meet the needs of a company well enough to be the right choice. Deciding whether or not to invest in custom software should be carefully considered. Here are a few reasons why we believe in custom software:
Custom software meets your unique needs. Instead of conforming to the way off-the-shelf software works, custom software is built specifically for your company. Many times we see our clients have developed manual workarounds to compensate for the unmet needs of their current software.
Custom software gives you a competitive advantage. If you are using off the shelf software, then you are most likely using a similar (or maybe the same) tool as your competitors. How are you going to differentiate your company in the marketplace? Custom software can be tailored to meet specific business goals and outperform your competitor’s weaknesses.
Custom software allows you to do new things. Custom software can (and should) evolve with your company to meet the changing needs of your business and your customers. This allows you to experiment with different processes, uncover insights, and continue to learn and adjust to the ever-changing marketplace.
Custom software allows you to track data and maintain records. Custom software can provide succinct and consistent records and/or data that will allow your company to easily analyze, identify trends, and use data to make key business decisions. It also is value if audits are needed due to the ability to pull specific transactional data as well as summarized data (for example inventory, Sales, Quality Control, etc.).
There are so many more great things about custom software. If you want to explore the option of building custom software for your company, we’d love to chat. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 616-475-4225.