Do you need custom software? 10 questions to help you decide

For many companies, custom software is the perfect solution to their unique business needs. It can speed up existing processes, increase productivity, and make life easier for you, your team, and your clients. But is custom software the right move for you? Ask yourself these 10 questions to find out.

1. Do you have a problem or need that can’t be solved with a pre-made solution?

There are plenty of software solutions designed to help companies operate more efficiently, from Trello and Slack to Hubshare. Known as off-the-shelf software, chances are these programs will meet most of your basic business needs, such as project management, timesheets, and internal communication. If there’s already an off-the-shelf program out there that solves your problem, it’s usually cheaper and faster than building custom software. But from time to time, you’re going to have needs that off-the-shelf software can’t fulfill. When this happens, custom software is the way to go.

2. Is your company growing rapidly?

Because of the time and effort it takes to build, custom-software is a long-term solution. But one of the benefits of using custom software in the long term is that you can always add new features as needed. If your company is growing quickly and you find yourself constantly having to switch to new programs with more capabilities, you may want to consider building a custom solution that you can continue to develop and customize over time.

3. Do you have existing processes that don’t integrate well?

Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel: you just need the wheel to work better. In both cases, custom software is the answer. Not only can it replace your existing processes, it can also support them and improve integration.

4. Are you currently using several different programs for business tasks?

Assigning tasks, checking project status, scheduling meetings, invoicing clients, setting business goals—there are so many smaller steps involved in your day-to-day work, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you find yourself switching through 10 different programs in a single day, you may want to consider building an all-in-one solution so you can access everything from one place. Not only will this make your day-to-day life easier, it will make your team more productive and save you valuable time and money.

5. Is there a certain process or task that’s slowing you down?

One of the things custom software can do is automate processes you’re currently performing manually: such as invoicing, customer support, data processing, and even employee onboarding. If there’s a certain step in your business process that tends to slow production, consider whether or not custom software could help.

6. Would changing a process make your team more efficient?

Is your team expending valuable time and effort on a certain process that could be handled more efficiently? Ask yourself if, by changing one part of that process, you could help your team function better. The beauty of custom software is that you can make it do just about anything you want (within reason, of course). Many companies find that custom software speeds up production and frees their team to focus on big-picture goals.

7. Do you have a current system you wish you could add more or different capabilities to?

Do you ever catch yourself thinking “this is a great program, but….”? Through custom software, you can tailor solutions to your unique needs, giving your team all the capabilities they need, however big or small.

8. Does your current software come with a steep learning curve?

If your current software solution is hard for new employees to get on board with, or if it often throws you a curve-ball even after months of use, it may be time to switch to something more intuitive. Part of the process of building custom software includes repeated testing to ensure it’s effective and easy to use.

9. Could your team or customers benefit from better communication?

Many companies build custom software to improve communication, whether that’s internal or external. Of course, many off-the-shelf solutions, like Slack, are designed specifically to help with team communication, so it’s worth checking these out before you make the jump to custom software.

10. Are any of your programs outdated?

If you’re currently using a software program from the age of the dinosaurs, it might be time to get with the picture. Custom software is the perfect way to provide your team or customers with an innovative solution that meets their needs.

Other considerations

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you should at least consider going the custom software route. But before you make a final decision, there are a few other things you’ll want to consider.First of all, building custom software takes time. Depending on the complexity of the solution you need, it may take as little as a few weeks or as long as a year to develop your software. And once it’s finished, it may take time for your team and/or clients to adjust to using the new program.Additionally, while you can minimize costs by outsourcing and using an agile methodology, custom software is still going to take a chunk out of your budget. So make sure you can afford to spend the time and money required.Still wondering whether you need custom software or not? Chat with one of our client advocates for free and we’ll help you decide. Schedule a call now.

Let’s Talk!

Book a meeting

Our Fractional CTOs are strategic, innovative team leaders. They’ll apply their technical knowledge and business strategy to help your company succeed.