Every business is unique and has specific problems that they would like to overcome. It’s not to say that many of these problems can’t be fixed by off-the-shelf solutions, but it’s unlikely that you’ll come across a piece of ready-made software that 100% suits your business.
As an alternative, investing in custom software is something that doesn’t come with many (if any) cons. Sure, the upfront costs of off-the-shelf software may seem more tempting to some start-ups who are low on capital, or to business owners looking for low cost solutions, but it certainly isn’t the best choice in most circumstances.
Why? Well, let’s look at the pros of investing in custom software.
It’s tailored to your business
This is the most obvious advantage of custom-built software. It’s your software. No one else will be using it apart from you and your business, so you and your hired development team can work on making it suit your needs.
If you don’t like a certain aspect of it, it can be improved according to your business’s demands. The alternative is to buy some ready-made software, find something that doesn’t quite work for you…and not be able to do anything about it. You could find a different piece of software, of course, but the likelihood of finding another feature that doesn’t work for you is high.
Reduces irritating and ongoing overheads
Ok, so the upfront cost of building a piece of custom software isn’t all that cheap, but we don’t have to tell you that you get what you pay for, and a good quality product costs more.
Custom software will be able to adapt alongside any changes or growth that your business may encounter. Having to invest in new software or pay to upgrade your off-the-shelf software is an annoying part of buying into ready-made systems that just won’t be a problem if you pay for a bespoke solution.
For example, HR solutions or calendars are usually paid monthly and per user. As you expand, these ‘per seat’ solutions will become more and more expensive. This is often not the case with custom software, and even if you do have to pay more to expand, you’ll enjoy extra features too – it’s all about getting your money’s worth.
Take our advice: buy the custom software and reduce future stress and costs.
It can automate time-consuming tasks
Tasks such as sending out emails and newsletters to clients and prospects don’t have to take any time at all out of your day, yet businesses still do much of this manually. Productivity and customer satisfaction can also be affected by human error. Sending emails at 9am before you’ve had your morning coffee? It’s very easy to copy information wrong or forget to send emails to some clients. Automation eliminates this possibility of human error altogether.
If you think about how much time automation can save you, giving you time to complete other, more important tasks, you can already see how your custom software would pay for itself in no time at all.
Custom software can also help you to expand your business hours without having to put extra hours in. If you currently only take payment by phone during business hours that is a significant inconvenience to any customer that works full time. Giving them the ability to pay online at any time and you’ll be working around their schedule and freeing up your staff who usually take payments during their work hours.
Enjoy support from developers who know your business
If you encounter any difficulties, as long as you have picked the right agency to work with, you’ll find a friendly voice on the other end of the phone who knows your business almost as well as you do. They can steer you in a better direction than a company who sell the same software to hundreds of businesses.
Of course, you probably know your industry better than your development team does, but you may not know the ways in which software can improve your business. Our team, for example, would spend time studying your workflow and establishing, from a more objective and technical position, how we could improve your productivity and reduce the number of errors and issues involved with day-to-day tasks.
Many companies, such as ours, also provide tech support, meaning that they can also act as a useful extension of your IT department. Not only can they help you out with the software they built for you, including training you and teaching you the most effective way of using it, they can give you a hand when your whole computer crashes too.
Custom software is flexible
Investing in custom software will mean that you can change parts of it as your business grows and you develop new requirements.
It is pretty much impossible to manipulate an off-the-shelf piece of software at will, which isn’t particularly useful when you consider how much the needs of a business can change. Adding to and updating custom software is not very expensive and can include both complex changes and minor improvements.
This advantage ties in nicely with our next point – you can stop worrying about whether your newest bit of software will play nicely with anything else you have, and about being tied to a certain way of doing things.
It can be tailored to suit your current hardware and software
Ready-made software will often have certain hardware requirements, and if you have your heart set on that particular software, it could turn out to be a very expensive business move.
It’s also highly unlikely that an off-the-shelf solution will be able to communicate with all of the current software you use. This will lead to an unavoidable disruption in productivity as your usual routine and work flow will change dramatically.
Custom software can be built to work alongside your current software and hardware – no ordering new equipment, no reluctantly ceasing to use another system you love, and no disrupting your productivity.
If we’ve convinced you to consider investing in some custom software for your own business, get in touch with us to find out more about how we work and what we can do for you.