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4 Ways to Know If You Need Custom Software

Red Pepper Software - Custom Software

New technology continues to revolutionize the way we do business. Knowing how and when to implement the right software can make all the difference. From user-friendly mobile apps, to complex back end systems, there’s lots to consider when finding a software solution that fits your company. One of the most important decisions to make is deciding between an “off the shelf” solution and custom built software.

Off the shelf software is a broad term that includes SaaS products and software that would typically be installed on a server or individual machine or mobile device. Off the shelf solutions generally perform the same predetermined function for a broad set of clients, and usually carry a lower price tag. Because of the vast number of companies that use these products, they can be limited in customization, integration, and customer support.

Alternatively, using custom built software allows companies to match their exact business needs to a tailor made solution. Custom software developers, like Red Pepper Software, can ensure the solution is customizable, fully integrates with existing systems, while providing hands on support every step of the way. In some cases, a custom built software can have a smaller immediate price tag than a competing off the shelf solution, and in many cases a custom built software has a far smaller price tag when considering long term business opportunity costs.  A custom solution built around a core competency can also add tremendous value to the balance sheet when considering bringing on additional investment or selling a company. So, when should you turn to custom software to solve your most challenging business problems? Here are four situations where custom software is the way to go.

When an off the shelf solution doesn’t exist

The first obvious reason a company would need a custom solution is if an off the shelf solution doesn’t exist. Every business is unique and off the shelf solutions are not. Chances are you may require a feature that doesn’t exist in a ready made product. This can be especially true if you have an innovative business model, or a customer base/industry with distinctive demands. If this is the case, custom built software will be the best way forward.

When you want to gain competitive advantage

When you buy an off the shelf software solution, you are buying the same product used by numerous other companies. Competitive advantage is not gained by doing the same things as your competitors but by adding value in different ways. Going with a custom solution allows you the freedom to innovate. It helps you and your company find ways to do more efficiently what you do best already. In this way, custom software helps you strengthen your unique value. One great example of this is Walmart. Since the early days of the company, Sam Walton saw the value of technology and invested heavily to streamline his business. He was able to leverage this resource to gain huge competitive advantage over Target, JCPenney, and Kmart.

When software is your product

If you are selling software as a service, or if software is a key component of your offering, you typically need to build custom software in house or use a custom development shop. If your company’s core competency is in software development, you may be able to manage this process in house, or bring in some extra expertise through staff augmentation. If your key capabilities as a firm lay outside the realm of development, a custom software developer like Red Pepper Software will be a crucial partner.

When you need integration between disparate systems

If off the shelf solutions are working well for your company, you may have a number of different software packages performing different functions. The customization needed here is referred to as software integration. Often your various systems have trouble communicating and sharing data to help your organization run smoothly as a whole. For example, getting your sales software to work with your marketing management tools, financial models, and performance tracking application can be a real headache. Custom software can create data migration between systems that can break down the silos in your company. This ensures every person has access to the information they need to perform at their peak.

Navigating the evolving world of software can be difficult. If any of these conditions describe your business challenges, then a custom software solution could be the answer. Finding a proven team of experts, like Red Pepper Software, to assess your current situation is an important next step. Contact us so we can help you make sense of it all. After listening carefully to understand your vision and goals, we’ll provide a comprehensive quote and development road map for how we’ll help you with what matters most to you, FOR FREE.