We take for granted the creative freedom that comes with running a business. You can pick the type of business you want to run, where you run it, who you run it with, and so on. But what if the world didn’t work that way? What if you could own a coffee shop, but couldn’t hand-pick your staff? Or the city where it would be located? Business owners wouldn’t accept restrictions like these. And yet, when it comes to software, they do. All the time.
There are thousands of great software tools out there, designed to help businesses do one thing or another. At least a handful of them were designed specifically for your type of business. However, none of them were designed specifically for your business. That’s why most businesses end up using many different software solutions at once. The end result is a tapestry of various, unrelated, preset programs: one for file sharing, one for instant messaging, one for content management, and so on, and so on.
Custom software solutions exist to go one extra step further. Rather than being designed for your type of business, custom software is designed specifically for your business. This means that instead of having to conform to predetermined parameters, you can dictate exactly how you want your business to function. The benefits that come with this added creative freedom include:
What value can you provide to your customers that would make you stand out? Is it a custom dashboard? An interactive floor plan builder? An app for users to view their account history from anywhere?
A great example of this is what Dominos Pizza has done in the last few years to enable it’s continued growth and success. Starting with it’s “Pizza Tracker” tool, and followed up with similar innovative custom software products, they were able to use the power of custom software to provide unique value to their customers.
That’s what custom software can do for businesses.
Pre-built software packages exist for a reason. They do serve a valuable purpose. For many programs, it makes sense to go with established software solutions. For example, CRMs, ERPs, or instant messaging platforms translate well into almost any business. What custom software can do though is connect those platforms and use them to integrate into the specific workflow of your business.
Ideally, you’d like your business to grow over time. However, a software solution that works well for a small business might not translate so well to a medium-sized business. Instead of having to swap out familiar software systems once they become obsolete--or, worse yet, stick with them even after that point--custom software can be made specifically to grow with your business.
Social media platforms are cheap for users, because they serve large numbers of customers at once. If social media companies had to dedicate an employee to servicing each one of their customers individually, costs would go up. Similarly, customized software costs more than garden-variety software, because of the extra work necessary to accommodate individual businesses. However, the adaptability of a custom product negates the need to update and change to new products over time. This translates into savings, and more time and energy that can be dedicated to more important aspects of your business.
Popular computer programs are subject to constant scrutiny. Your business might have no relationship with Microsoft, for example, but if you use Windows computers, or Word, or any of their services, you’re subject to the vulnerabilities in their software. Because so many companies use these software packages, hackers are constantly looking for those vulnerabilities.
Custom software is not as appealing to hackers, because it’s unique. Think of basketball. There are always people around the world trying to perfect their basketball skills. But what if you created your own sport? It’s unlikely that anyone would spend the time necessary to learn your game, and become very good at it. Why would they, if the only person they could actually play with is you?
I was able to write this article using my own words, as I saw fit. It would’ve been a nightmare if, instead, I had to piece together this article using only existing paragraphs elsewhere on the internet. Sure, other writers have addressed this same subject matter. But the effort involved in finding the right paragraphs to fit my ideas, and combining them in a way that’d make sense, would’ve been exhausting. I’d probably end up settling on close approximations of what I need, because no paragraph already out in the world was written specifically for me.
You need not rely on paragraphs already written; software already made for somebody else.