Business owners are faced everyday with having to make decisions about how best to run their company. Of these decisions determining the best software to run their company can be one of the most complex. Many factors come into play when making that decision.
Cost is always the main one, but is cheaper always better? Ever bought something because it was cheaper, then had to spend more to get what you needed to begin with? Did you follow along with the crowd and bought a product and you are now hooked into expensive monthly costs and cannot customize to your business.
DECISIONS DECISIONS: Buy vs. Build
Buy Software: Off the Shelf
So you know what you need, but now what? How do you decide? There are advantages to buying off the shelf. First of all, you get a product right now at a fixed price. You can install and start moving along with your business. Generally there are no additional cost unless you opt-in for maintenance or buy an upgrade. Simple, easy and done.
Not likely, most of the time, you find yourself wishing it could do that one more thing or things, or connect to this other business application and it’s just not a feature that is available. Now you are hobbling along working around software and its limitations that you can do nothing about. You did save money… or did you? What is the actual cost of the labor to work around the issues? Have you lost data?
Build Software: Custom
Ok, so you’ve decided to build a custom application. Now you have to think about the following:
- Who do you call?
- What platform do you want?
- What is the cost?
- What is my budget? (Keep in mind, software development and support.)
- Do I hire a company or a consultant?
- How long will a custom application take to develop?
More and more questions come up at this stage and can make building almost seem overwhelming. These questions could take several blogs to answer, so let me stay focused.
In the end, the goal is to create a highly customized solution to run your business your way and efficiently. Cost will certainly be higher, but it comes as a benefit to a capitol investment to your company. Development will take time, but this can be planned for.
Your new solution will be an asset to your organization and it needs to be seen that way. The most important part of building an application is your relationship with your developers. Tell your developers everything. The more we know about your company and its needs, the better we can plan your solution from the present to the future. Your customized solution does not have to be built all at once, but it makes it easier to build a better, stable, organized solution, knowing what your company’s planned needs are in the future.
So time passes and your new, custom application is complete. Your business is off and running, and you are wishing it can do this new thing. With a custom built application, that is now a phone call away to have that feature added. It’s still yours, you control or “drive” the upgrades.
Which software structure will best fit your business needs?
Again this is personal choice, but if you want a company that is a dynamic, well oiled machine, go with build. It will take longer, it will cost more, but take your time finding the right business partner to develop it. Find a company that is in it for the long haul, that really has your success as their best interest.
We talk to people almost daily about how their business is almost running the way they want, but cannot because of limitations in software, or are using a service that is costing them monthly, but they didn’t really know they had choices or realize that custom was affordable.
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