Custom Software or No Custom Software – Is This Your Question? (Pt.2)

Custom software could be your answer to a challenge that has been preventing your business from going to the next level. In this second part of our blog about business software, we recommend a framework for evaluating the appropriateness of custom software for solving your business problem.

In our previous installment, we equipped you with a checklist for determining when choosing off-the-shelf software would be the proper solution to a business need. Now flip the script. How do you know when custom software—and not more personnel or better engineers or faster operations, for example—is something you should invest in for your business?  How do you know when you should choose custom software in response to the problem you face?

Here’s an answer from Randy Trenary, our CEO, to set the stage: “It’s a constant evaluation of whether or not you have the right software solutions in place to meet the needs of your business to be efficient, to be profitable, and to be competitive in the market.”

Here’s some points that indicate you should consider custom software as the solution to your needs:

  • Your issues and processes are unique. After searching for and trying different software, there isn’t an off-the-shelf solution that meets your needs.
  • You understand the cost of not having a tailored solution and it’s greatly thwarting your company growth and its efficiency.
  • You have an IT team that can support a custom solution in the long term or you plan to build one in the near future.
  • 70-80% of your business needs are satisfied by an off-the-shelf solution, however, the 20-30% that isn’t is clearly holding you back.
  • You have complex integration needs that require custom software solutions.
  • You are willing to spend the time to define success and provide access to the right people and resources, which can help define and ensure a successful solution.
  • Your software solution needs are an important asset to your business and you need to own the IP outright to protect your business.
  • Not having control of your software-solution roadmap isn’t an option. You need a custom software solution that can move at the pace of your dynamic business strategy and you don’t have to rely on others to prioritize you.
  • A custom software solution will differentiate you from your competitors.
  • Existing software is dictating your business processes instead of your business’s systems driving the software solutions you seek out.
  • You have the right people who have the time to dedicate to being part of a team to build a successful solution.
  • Finally, you have the support of your organization to pursue custom software as your solution.

The decision to invest in custom software is a weighty one and it needs to be made after a thorough evaluation of the pros and cons. That includes thinking about your processes, your people, your resources, and the software’s ultimate impact on your business. Test the appropriateness of off-the-shelf software (see Part 1: Custom Software or No Custom Software – Is This Your Question?)  After you’ve determined off-the-shelf isn’t the right solution for you and if you’re ready to take the next step in the direction of custom software, give Capsher a call. We would love to have an in-depth conversation about your business needs.