At a time when fears of inflation and a recession loom, it may seem like spending on custom software development projects wouldn’t be a priority. But while everyone is taking a hard look at expenses, IT spending (including software development) isn’t a place they’re looking to cut. In fact, IT budgets are expected to grow by 21%, according to SWZD’s annual State of IT report.
Why? “Every company is a technology company.”
Believe it or not, Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President at Gartner and Global Head of Research said these words in 2013. That reality hasn’t changed. Technology remains an essential part of every business.
Even when the future is uncertain and costs are rising, companies understand they need to continue to invest in technology to add value to their businesses. If they don’t, they won’t be able to keep pace with the acceleration of digital transformation.
Enterprise software market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% despite inflationary pressures, higher interest rates, and general slowdown due to geopolitical turmoil. Forrester
Upgrading outdated IT infrastructure has been cited as a top factor driving IT spending in 2023. It’s not surprising the 2023 State of IT Report also cites security risks and employee collaboration among the top spending priorities.
When to Evaluate Your Business Software
So, how do you know it’s time to evaluate your toolset and see if it’s still meeting your businesses’ needs?
When we’re approached about software development projects, some clients have an existing software solution that might be showing its age. In these situations, the common complaints include:
- Performance is lagging
- Customers or staff complain about functionality or features
- Productivity is declining
- Maintenance costs are rising
- Downtime is increasing
- Software or applications are reaching (or already have reached) end-of-life
- Security concerns are keeping you up at night
24% of Canadian brands in this year’s CX Index struggled to maintain CX quality over the past 12 months. Forrester
Other customers are looking to build a new software solution because:
- They’re using too many software tools and it’s not working anymore
- Their business is growing or is creating a new offering
- They want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace
Regardless of the driving factor, all companies list these key priorities:
- Boost efficiency
- Improve experience –for both customers and employees
- Streamline operations
- Support hybrid workers
- Enhance collaboration
- Automate tasks
- Capture and leverage data – from a wide range of different sources
Digitally advanced businesses perform better: they grow faster, are better able to adapt to a changing environment, get the financing they need, and are more likely to export. BDC
Is Custom Software Right for My Business?
The right choice for any business depends on a wide range of factors. That’s why we recommend conducting a comprehensive business requirements analysis (eRADTM) before getting started.
We know time is always a factor in today’s fast-paced world but slowing down at the start of the project to do a detailed analysis of the requirements helps speed development, minimizes costly missteps, and ensures the solution that gets deployed will be the right fit – not only today but in the future.
That said, we have found that fully custom applications work the best in situations where:
- The technology is core to the business – Ixact Contact is a good example. Although it was offering its real estate clients a CRM application, their solution was so much more which is why it required a custom approach. Whitehots needed custom software development to help modernize the platform used by schools and libraries to order books because their customers’ ordering needs were highly specialized.
- Business processes and workflows are unique – To deliver the financing and lending solutions it wanted, Easylease couldn’t easily map its business to off-the-shelf or platform solutions.
- A new kind of business – Woodbine was building a business unlike any other and forging a completely new service offering with HPIBet.
- Investing in an asset – All of these companies also recognized that investing in technology was building an asset for their business – a unique differentiator that adds tangible value.
Makes Sense When:
Customizing an Off-the-Shelf Solution
Makes Sense When:
Standard business processes
Common application needed (like ERP or CRM)
Existing market solution could address at least 70% of requirements
Platforms and Low Code
Makes Sense When:
Cloud migration is on the agenda
Want increased agility and speed of development
Want to empower citizen development
A Few Custom Software Considerations
Choosing custom software development ensures you build a solution that is tailored to your exact business needs. It’s also a solution that you have full control over and can modify as needed. This can give you a competitive advantage. And, you don’t have to deal with ballooning monthly license fees or unexpected changes to the software (like a feature that you use and like gets eliminated) which can impact the way you run your business.
There are some important considerations before embarking on a custom software project.
- Custom software is not a set-and-forget proposition. While the bulk of the development and costs are incurred at the start, you need to factor in ongoing maintenance and support expenses.
- Over time, underlying technology will become outdated and need modernization.
- You’ll want to add features and functionality. Trust us, this happens all the time.
- The time to develop a finished product can also be longer.
An experienced software developer will take the time to understand your business needs and recommend a software solution that will best meet them—whether that’s fully custom software or not.
Ready for Custom Software?
When your current solutions are no longer meeting your needs and you’re looking to invest in technology that’s uniquely suited to your business, it could be time to look at custom software development. Let’s chat.