I Need Software, Build or Buy?
Age Old Question, Buy or Build?
Lets start with an analogy; you are in the market to buy a house. There are potentially 100's of houses that you can choose from. They all have different features and amenities but essentially serve the same purpose - to provide a specific service, in this case, shelter. During your excursion, you find things you like, but realize that maybe the kitchen is oriented in an unfavorable way or that there's only one bathroom. As you go through your search, you start seeing there's quite a few of those situations happening at each house you go to. One might have too many bedrooms, others too little, maybe there's no basement, or missing that coveted 2 stall garage. The same process can be applied to finding and purchasing software. There are thousands of different software tools out there to accomplish some of the same jobs. Take something as "Simple" as e-signing documents. Providers such as Docusign, HelloSign, Adobe Sign and SignRequest are a few that all accomplish the same goals - but do it in fundamentally different ways (think of the kitchen situation where it's not oriented in a favorable way from one house to the next). What are you to do? Well there's a better solution. Integrate with a custom solution instead.
If we just had this one feature, everything would be alright
Back to the housing situation - when you're buying a house (and an off-the-shelf solution in software), you're left with specific features and designs. Those features and designs worked well for the previous owner, but they just aren't quite right for you. Upgrades might be difficult, or impossible. Off-the-shelf software is the same way. You're tied to the features and behaviors of that solution. You can certainly ask those providers to implement new features, and sometimes that allows you to get by, but usually you are stuck with what you got. On the flip side of that, you might even be paying for more features than you're using. The important thing here is that you are the one compromising your workflow (or cash) because the software solution is limiting you. At this point you'll likely come to a crossroads. Do we continue using this or is it time to start discussing something that fits our needs better?
Designing your own path forward
At this point, we are starting to have the realization that, like the house, we really need something that fits our needs now, and can adapt to changes later. This is where custom software shines. Just like with building your house, you control the behaviors, features, designs, workflows and more. The best part, we can still use some of those off the shelf providers to facilitate certain behaviors. For example, we can still use Docusign to sign documents, but instead of the process halting after signing, because we are developing the workflow, we can daisy chain things after it to another workflow. Maybe you have a secure on-site document storage system you'd like these to be saved to, and then scrubbed from Docusign, or you need approval for a document prior to initiating signatures. With custom built solutions, we can leverage the power of automation, and integration APIs to create the workflow situation that fits your needs. This time, no compromises.
Custom - all I hear is "Expensive"
This is certainly a valid concern. Lets talk about it. We won't lie, cost of building or using any software is expensive. It doesn't matter if it's off the shelf or custom, you still have to train your employees, potentially have IT install and configure it in your organization and close up any gaps that the off-the-shelf solution didn't provide you with manual intervention. Upfront costs can certainly be high, depending on who you're working with. In a custom solution, you have to look more at the long term benefits vs the short term cost. What you are trying to accomplish with custom solutions is usually to free-up your employee's time to do the things they should be doing, not the busy work they're doing today. Lets imagine a situation where a task or responsibility takes 3 employees 10 hours each to accomplish. By introducing a custom solution to your organization, you will create an environment where that same task will be accomplished with 50% less time (maybe even 80%). That leaves you with 25+ employee hours to work on more important things for your business, why wouldn't you want that? Best part, you might even find your employees more efficient with those extra hours because they're happier doing more interesting tasks. It's like having the right layout in your kitchen for both cooking and cleaning up.
Sounds amazing, where do I get it?
Starting development projects takes planning, and people with experience to guide you through the process. At DevRite, we have a proven process to help develop and refine your ideas into a manageable agile project that can adapt to your needs as yours change. We'll provide a full set of timelines, hosting requirements, UAT testing, and long-term production support options. We understand there are a lot of software providers out there to choose from and at DevRite, we believe in Software Done Right. Contact Us today and let us prove, you can have your cake and eat it too (and we think you should!)