Automating manual tasks is one of the first things people looked to computers for. Writing automation software is as old as writing software itself. The reasons for this are self-evident. Time spent doing the repetitive is time not spent doing the creative or unique. Sending a personalized holiday newsletter to a single client can be a time-consuming task. But if you can send a personalized newsletter to 1000 clients with only a little more effort, the return on the time investment grows with each new recipient. In economic terms, automation offers a chance to capture increasing value for little or no additional marginal cost.
In many cases, such as our holiday newsletter example, pre-existing automation software is more than sufficient to get the job done. A word processor or CRM’s mail merge feature can help you create and send those personalized newsletters. The Shortcuts app on iOS makes it possible to automate vast numbers of tasks you use your iPhone or iPad for. Integration services like Zapier or IFTTT can automate actions for many triggers.
But there are other times when automation can’t be done without the help of custom software.
4 Times When Custom Software is Necessary for Automation
Unusual Triggers: If the event that triggers the need for automation is highly unusual, custom software is needed to watch for that event and begin an automation sequence.
Standard Platforms Don’t Support Your Process: If one or more of the steps in the automation are not supported by any platform, you’ll have to extend your own platform in custom ways to make it more accessible.
Complex Logic: If the logic needed to describe the automation is more complex than the simple branching and looping offered by most automation systems, you probably need a custom platform that implements the logic you need.
Highly Specialized Results: If the result of the automation you need is highly specialized, you might need to build a custom automation step to generate that output.
Automating tasks is really one of the biggest payoffs of using computers in a business context. And while many repetitive sequences can be systemized with generalized automation systems, many others can’t. In those cases, custom software is a great choice to capture increasing economic value without also being burdened with increasing costs.
Still curious is custom software is the right next step for your automation needs? Take our free assessment to see if custom software is right for you or schedule a free consultation to talk things through.