04 Dec Facing Down the Custom Software Challenge

Ever taken the plunge on a custom-made suit? Those that have will rarely go back. Of course, it’s a lot more work- getting the measurements correct, finding the right maker with the skills for the job. Sometimes it’s more expensive in the short term- but the long term benefits always shine through. Not to mention the fact that it’s a better fit when compared to something bought from the department store.

Custom software really isn’t that different. In fact, it’s like anything custom made. With the right builder, it’s higher quality. It’s a better fit for your company. It will last longer. It will look better- it just makes sense.

In order to get the right fit, though, there is some groundwork that has to be laid out beforehand. Custom software is an investment, and it should be viewed as one from start to finish.

Get your facts straight

The most important part of investing in a custom software solution actually comes before the development itself. The only way to get the most out of the software is to be honest with your chosen developer, and yourself for that matter.

Start by asking this one important question: “Why does your company need this custom software?” The answer should start out simple, but get more detailed. If you can’t answer this question, well then maybe your business can’t benefit from a bespoke solution. The answer could be anything, from needing employees to collaborate more together, to wanting to use one integrated solution rather than a multitude of different programs that don’t work together. Maybe you need a competitive advantage over the competition- or maybe your business is losing money due to human error and custom software could fix this problem.

It’s not hard to find reasons to use this software- according to Forrester, 82% of survey respondents say their custom software beats their off-the-shelf equivalent (http://blog.zurelsoft.com/blog/forrester-reveals-value-and-challenges-in-outsourcing-custom-software-development). Identify your company’s needs first- that way, when the program is developed, it can be developed explicitly to address these needs and solve these problems.

Accessibility from anywhere

Citrix has three great stats that explain why custom software built for mobility is important . 61% of workers work outside the office at least part time, employees typically use 3 or more different devices over the course of their workday, and the number of devices used in an enterprise increased 72% in 2015 (https://www.citrix.com/articles-and-insights/workforce-mobility/jun-2015/7-enterprise-mobility-statistics-you-should-know.html). The business world is shifting into a mobile one, and employees need access to crucial data from anywhere.

Here’s where custom programs and cloud-based software come in. Companies still reliant on piecing together their own software packages out of different off-the-shelf solutions can often run into problems with incompatibility. A custom solution, however, can be designed from the ground up to work on multiple devices and platforms. In addition, because it is fully integrated into the company, there won’t be any incompatibility issues that stem from employees using different programs or devices.

When you begin the development process of your custom software option, ensure that you and your developer are on the same page when it comes to mobility. It will eliminate problems down the road and make everyone’s lives easier- yours, your employees, and the developers.

Focus on security

Security is becoming more and more of an issue for companies in any industry. With a new large-scale hack coming out in the news seemingly every few weeks, it’s no wonder why security has become a top priority. In fact, a survey from CDW states that it’s a top consideration for 77% of companies and a huge reason they are choosing to go custom (http://www.cdwnewsroom.com/cdw-enterprise-mobile-app-report/).

Ensure that security is a top priority for your company too. This doesn’t just go for the developer of your custom software- it goes for the employees within your company. Although custom software is more secure than its off-the-shelf counterpart when built by the right developer, there are plenty of seemingly harmless mistakes that employees could make to compromise security.

Before the development process, go over the importance of security with your staff. This can be formal training that can include details like password security and simple things like leaving devices unattended. The advent of mobile is great for productivity- however, employees need to be more careful than ever with how they are accessing sensitive data.

Custom software can seem complicated- and in the beginning it can be. However, by taking the time to implement a plan with your staff on why exactly the custom software is necessary and how it will help everyone in the long run, the payoff will be well worth the initial time and monetary investment. This plan will also help the developer to create something that can have a lasting, meaningful impact on your business.