Build vs. buy. It’s a question many businesses face. You might need a custom business application if:
- You have several types of software that don’t “speak” to each other
- You are using multiple software apps to accomplish the same job
- You need to automate certain business tasks
- You are facing scale that your current software solution can’t handle
- Your software licensing fees are tanking its viability
If you are a small business or just starting out, the decision to purchase off-the-shelf is often the first out of the gate. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s relatively inexpensive to get started. You simply work around the lack of customization until it becomes a problem.
When errors, data loss, and time that could have been better spent on other things become a burning issue, you might be ready for custom software.
Benefits of custom business software
Custom apps can help in many ways. They improve team productivity, encourage collaboration, and simplify repetitive processes. When integrated with other apps, like an ERP, custom business apps can improve business efficiency and speed processes. They can also reduce costly data silos that multiple stand-alone applications can cause.
Another bonus of custom apps is that they can also provide you with data that can then be leveraged to help you to further improve business processes and make better-informed decisions for your company.
So, let’s look at how you can go about choosing an app developer to work with:
Finding programmers: local vs. offshore pros and cons
When choosing a business application developer, there are plenty of choices both offshore and at home. A local provider gives you the benefit of having a partner who speaks your language and is in your time zone – someone who you can sit with, face-to-face, as you go through the business app development process. Hypothetically, your local developer may be much easier to reach if you have a question – and you’ll know exactly where to find them if there is a problem.
Offshore developers provide advantages as well. The internet allows us to choose from a highly qualified global talent pool, sometimes at a much-reduced rate. The problem is if they suddenly go off-the-grid for no apparent reason, you may have no recourse. If you do choose this route, establish clear milestones and accountabilities before you start in order to mitigate any potential issues.
These days, app development companies come and go quickly, and unless you’ve established a good rapport with a freelancer or offshore developer, you need to be prepared for any contingency. What happens if he or she disappears? Will you be left high and dry without any recourse?
Look for a developer who has an excellent reputation and whose business is well-established in the industry. Keep in mind also that impressive credentials or degrees do not always make a good developer. Today’s coding languages bear little resemblance to those of old, so make sure you are working with somebody who has good, recent, and relevant work to show you.
Maintenance and ongoing costs
Your custom business software may seem prohibitively expensive at first look. Plus, once your app is launched there are sure to be ongoing costs attached to it. These could be for cloud servers, third-party licenses, or for maintenance and updates.
All things considered, you may very be pleasantly surprised once you crunch the numbers. What you will gain in added productivity and the money you will save on licensing may help it pay for itself in short order.
How Greenlight can help
Greenlight ITC dedicated to supporting Australian businesses with IT solutions that help you grow. Working closely with ICM Consulting, we are able to provide you with an end-to-end solution that supports enhanced productivity and scale. Call Greenlight today to speak to one of our technicians about what’s possible.