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Companies looking for the best software to automate their business face a basic challenge. Do they work with what they have, or do they look for the perfect application to solve all their needs? But there is a third alternative if you consider a custom software solution.

Complexity Increases as Companies Mature.

For many start-ups, the first choice is usually the most cost-effective, especially suites like Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative. These solutions offer the basics of what most businesses need up front. But things get tricky once they get past the basics.

As users get more specialized and more comfortable with processes, procedures, and workflow, they often realize that off-the-shelf software doesn’t get them close enough to their vision. Their needs require something more specialized.

For Example:

  • Orders have become more difficult to track
  • Tracking employee performance across multiple metrics is cumbersome
  • Organizing and visualizing the sales funnel requires spreadsheet gymnastics
  • Determining the best promotion has become time consuming
  • CRM solutions don’t provide the flexibility your team needs

There are plenty of software solutions for all of these specialized areas, ranging in quality, features and price. Commercial products that include ongoing support and upgrades, might be appealing. Other solutions are open-source, but require advanced development abilities maintain.

Custom Software Considerations

But these off-the-shelf products likely lack some of the tools users truly need or may be overly complex and costly when only a few features are needed. This presents the perfect opportunity for custom software development. Here’s why:

  1. Ease of integration. This is a big one! Since the application was designed especially for your workplace, it should be easier to understand. It may be ideal for your approximate number of employees, organizational structure. Trying to adapt to a “one size fits all” program designed for general workplaces is typically more challenging.
  2. More responsive support. Getting help for a custom solution may be as simple as a quick phone call or face-to-face meeting. In comparison, commercial products may have complex tech support solutions.
  3. Enhanced security. Users of common off-the-shelf or open-source programs are more likely to find ways to access their code. But if the software was developed especially for one company, there’s less risk of someone outside the organization trying to access it. (Although it would be wise to address security/integrity when creating parameters.)
  4. Extra flexibility. Taking the custom software development route can mean the product is designed with a specific company in mind, but also the ability to add to it as the company grows.
  5. Improved business performance. Isn’t this really the key goal of any business tool? Custom software helps companies make better decisions because they have better data available. It can eliminate manual processes, enabling companies to significantly reduce errors, respond to customers faster and minimize staff time spent on routine tasks. And it helps companies beat back competitive threats since it gives them capabilities other companies don’t have.

Though standard commercial products work best for some applications, custom solutions can address specific needs and supercharge areas of your business which may currently be underperforming.