14 September 2023

How to save time and money with custom software

If you're looking to accelerate your digital transformation, adopting custom software is a great place to start. Rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, custom software is designed to meet the specific needs and requirements of your business. This can save you a considerable amount of time and money. Resources you can invest in getting the edge over your competitors. Custom software can also result in better performance, scalability and security. In contrast, off-the-shelf software is often more costly and resource-intensive and can limit your business's growth potential. Read on to discover how inve

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Pain points of off-the-shelf software

Small businesses often find themselves in a tight spot when it comes to investing in software. The lure of off-the-shelf software packages and tools is tempting as they promise cost savings and ease of use. However, in the long run, off-the-shelf software packages and tools can be more trouble than they are worth.

Here are some of the challenges that off-the-shelf software can present for businesses. 

Not as cost-effective and can be overly complex

Complexity is the last thing small businesses want from their software and tools. Off-the-shelf products are designed for a wide range of businesses with varying needs, but every set-up is unique and every team has their own requirements. 

While standardised packages may offer a lot of features, many may not be relevant to small businesses. This means you end up paying for features you don't need which increases the cost of ownership. If that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, off-the-shelf software packages and tools are often bloated with unnecessary features, which can make them slower and less efficient. It’s like paying for a car with bells and whistles you simply do not need to use, which actually impairs its day-to-day performance. That’s not a showroom you’d want to head back to in a hurry. 

Lack of customisation

Off-the-shelf software packages and tools are also difficult to customise and make your own. Small businesses have unique requirements that are not always fulfilled by off-the-shelf software packages and tools. Customising these software packages and tools can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Too often, small businesses end up hiring very expensive consultants to customise the software, which adds to the cost of ownership and could still result in further adaptations, and more unnecessary invoices, in the future.

More difficult to scale

Off-the-shelf software packages tend to also lack scalability. Small businesses are always looking to grow their market share and expand their operations. Off-the-shelf software packages and tools can significantly hamper these ambitions as they are designed for specific user levels and don’t take into account the diversity of people who need to benefit from them. 

The result? You’re stuck with a standardised package that can’t easily be scaled up to meet the growing needs of your business and its people. You end up outgrowing the software you invested in and have to spend more money and waste valuable work hours to upgrade to a more advanced, future-proofed software package. 

Lack of control and ownership

Another drawback of off-the-shelf software packages and tools is the lack of control and ownership. This means another trip back to the software vendor to fix any bugs, add new features and provide support. This lack of control is frustrating for small businesses, especially when they face issues that the vendor is not willing or able to resolve or the time frames are unsatisfactory. Naturally, there are plenty of ethically-minded vendors out there, but there are also those who will take an age to get to your support ticket unless you’ve paid for a premium package. 

Harder to stay competitive in a digital world

Off-the-shelf software also makes it hard for businesses to stay competitive in the digital landscape because it often lacks the flexibility and customisation needed to adapt to the specific and changing needs of a business. This can limit a company's ability to innovate and differentiate itself from competitors. 

Additionally, as the digital landscape continues to evolve, off-the-shelf software may not be able to keep up with the latest trends and advancements, making it difficult for businesses to prepare for, and succeed in a digital future. Custom software, on the other hand is designed to meet a business's unique needs and can be continually updated to keep pace with technological advancements and changes in your marketplace.

Benefits of custom software for SME businesses

Now over to the other, rather shinier side of the coin. Let’s explore the benefits that custom software solutions can provide for SME businesses like yours.  

It can be tailor-made for your requirements: Custom software is designed to meet the specific needs of your business, resulting in better efficiency and increased productivity. Plus, the workflows and interfaces are designed to satisfy your user requirements. Trust us, your team will thank you for it. 

It’s cost-effective: While the initial investment in custom software may be higher, it can save you money in the long run by automating tasks and freeing up staff for more strategic or complex projects. Again, your team will be more than grateful for you taking this approach. 

It’s adaptable and scalable: Custom software is built to suit the unique and evolving needs of your business, which can result in better scalability and enables that all-important business growth.

It provides robust data protection: Making sure you operate the highest levels of data security is critical. With cybercrime becoming increasingly sophisticated and prevalent it will become more important than ever. With custom software, your business owns its data and owns its solution. This provides greater security and peace of mind, ensures compliance with data protection and privacy regulations and protects your brand reputation. 

How to make custom software work for your business

Now to get to grips with how the solutions work in practice and how you can get the most out of your investment. To optimise the use of custom software, there are a number of steps and processes businesses should consider: 

Choose the right partner: We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating; working with trusted experts in custom software and digital product development will save you time and money. At Miyagami we follow a proven, client-focused process which ensures expectations and goals are aligned with reality from the start. Find out more about our product development processes

Choose the right solution: Take the time to create a detailed and thorough brief that clearly identifies your goals and objectives and addresses any challenges your business is experiencing right now as well as any that could become a threat in the future. For example,  sudden increase in users (the hard-earned results of your ambitions for growth) or changes to data protection legislation. Make sure you involve all key stakeholders and clearly define your requirements from the get-go. As above, this part of the process is something that an experienced digital agency with software development expertise can support you with and ensure you get right from the start. 

Get your team on board: Train your team on how to use the software effectively to ensure that they are comfortable and confident using it and can fully leverage its capabilities. Ensure your processes are documented well and accommodate a range of learning styles e.g video, webinar, how-to guides and FAQs. Did we mention that our process involves equipping you with all the documentation and training you need to effectively manage the software and the needs of all your user groups? 

Test and validate the software: Before launching the software, test it extensively to identify and fix any bugs or issues.

Monitor and evaluate the software: Regularly monitor and evaluate the software to ensure it continues to meet your business requirements and identifies areas for improvement. Stay ahead of the game by keeping on top of developments in your sector and in the wider world of technology. As self-confessed tech enthusiasts, we will always keep you informed and up to date on any opportunities that can help you achieve your goals. 

Ensure data security and privacy: Make sure that the software is secure and adheres to data privacy regulations to protect your business and customer data and ensure compliance.

Curious to see how partnering with Miyagami can help you save time and money with secure, scalable custom software? Read our case study with Bexchange and discover how we helped them get a distinct competitive edge, improve performance and enhance the user experience.

As you can see, investing in custom software can help your business to stay innovative and get a competitive edge. By choosing the right partner and following the steps outlined above, you can optimise the use of custom software to achieve your specific business goals and make sure you are prepared for a digital future. Call our team today to find out more about how we can make it happen.

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