Five signs that you should consider custom software for your business

You hear “custom software”, you immediately think expensive, not something I need, too complicated and time-consuming. And sure, it might be a more expensive up-front cost than renewing your ERP license and it could be a slightly more complex initial process (not necessarily though!). But: if you need custom software, the sooner you realise you do, the better for your business and for your bottom line.

So how do you know if you need to go custom? Here are five signs it might be the best bet for your business:

1. Off-the-shelf solutions aren’t working for you

Your offering and business processes are highly specialized and none of the off-the-shelf solutions you currently have in place, such as your ERP system or similar, seem fit for purpose. Perhaps you've tried one or two off-the-shelf systems and you probably liked them to start with. But more than likely, you’ve found that the more you used them, the further your staff went from telling you “this solution works brilliantly” to “this solution kind of works” to “this solution is taking up more time than it saves”.

2. Your workflows are split between solutions, systems and staff

In your day-to-day business, staff are required to use multiple different supporting systems in order to run a process or finish a task. This might mean downloading some information from one system, entering it into a good ol' excel spreadsheet or two, filtering and editing the data, and then sending it onto a new system by way of manual data entry. And that’s on a good day, when the system you’re downloading information from is running and up to date.

3. Quick, easy fixes that you used to rely on no longer work and are draining your productivity

Your workflows have evolved as your business has been growing and the quick, easy fixes that were previously the best way forward have now come back to haunt you. As a result, your staff are frustrated, your processes are bogged down and your productivity is severely limited.

4. Your systems are packed with so much custom code and fixes that you can’t upgrade them

You’ve got an ERP or other system in place which you’ve tweaked over the years with a few fixes and bits of custom code here and there. These quick fixes are probably not documented, and if a key member of staff leaves no one has any idea how to maintain or fix issues. And now the system is so specialized to your business that you can’t upgrade it. What this means for your business is that you’re locked into a system that’s not only out of date, but soon (maybe already?) reaching its end of life. In practice - you’re not only exposed to a lack of new features in upgrades, but an end to important security patches along with lots of tech debt.

5. Your staff work for your systems instead of your systems working for your staff

“It would be great if we could do this process differently, but the system won’t allow it”. Sound familiar? If your workflows are highly shaped by the systems you use, instead of your workflows being shaped by how to efficiently and intelligently run your business, you should consider other options.

So, did any of the signs make you realise that your company probably needs to go custom? Get in touch with us and we will guide you in the right direction (whether that is custom software or not)!

Already convinced you need to go custom? Then head over to our article: Custom-built software systems – five ways to do it right.

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