When is Custom Software Necessary?
There is probably software out there for pretty much every widespread application in the world. With countless engineers, developers, and computer geeks working to make technology do things it’s never done before, the chances of not finding software to do exactly what you want are slim – but they’re never zero.
Sometimes, you need software that hasn’t been invented yet.
It just might be difficult to recognise those moments.
Here’s what to look out for when you’re sure you’ve tried everything, but what you’re working with still won’t work.
1. You’re doing all your work, no matter how advanced, on spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets are amazing, and they can do a lot for you, much more than just collect and collate information. However, there are limits to what spreadsheets can do, and those limits are obvious very, very quickly. If the bulk of your work is on spreadsheets, you’re opening yourself up to human error, data loss, and just plain having to do double the work that custom software can deal with in seconds.
2. Sending and receiving PDFs as a process.
PDFs are great if you want to receive a document exactly as you designed it. With forms, you can’t really substitute a PDF – it just doesn’t work, since whoever you’re sending the form to has to fill it in. While some PDF software does allow for this, usually it’s not the free version that most users will have.
3. Out of the box software doesn’t interact well with your product.
Out of the box software can absolutely be the answer to what you’re looking for, but not in every case. The law of averages is very clear that there will be at least one product where out of the box software doesn’t work well with, and if you’re really particular on how your product works, out of the box software just won’t allow for the same level of customisation that custom software will.
4. Entering information multiple times.
Entering information once isn’t normally a problem, however if you have to enter the same data more than once into two different systems, there is a chance that your data will be interpreted differently or that you might just make a mistake. To avoid this, finding software that can duplicate entered data exactly over a range of systems would be ideal.
5. No reports for certain aspects of your business.
If you run a small company, you know how hard it is to keep an accurate record of everything that’s going on, and especially if you run a company that normal record-keeping software doesn’t support. While the options for record-keeping software are many, businesses vary a lot between them and might need entirely different capabilities to what’s offered by mass-market software.
Is custom software expensive?
Only initially. Custom software pays off for you in the long run, in time saved, money spent working on fixing problems caused by out of the box software, and in peace of mind.
While it might be more expensive to invest in custom software rather than using out of the box mass-market software, it isn’t true that you only have to keep it for yourself. Custom made software can easily be sold to your competitors, especially if you created it to answer a particular problem that mass market software doesn’t support normally, and it can become a nice sideline to your normal profits.
How do I create custom software?
You need to know exactly what you want your software to do. If you’re not sure, sitting down with a company for a fresh perspective can help you identify what problem you want your custom code to solve.
If you’re in need of custom software, or you think you can benefit from a custom solution, we’re always happy to sit down with you and talk about your options. Drop us a line, and let’s see how we can work together!