Do I need custom software for my business? When is the right time to invest in custom software services?
Life-time questions for entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Being a business owner or an entrepreneur seems exciting but have you ever thought how risky and challenging it is to keep the business under control meantime being competitive in the industry? They say, “Risk is the half of your success”. The right timing for custom software should be the motive of the risk.
Today, to have a successful, top-notch business without digital solutions seems a bit skeptical. To meet your business goals and have a strong company basis, customized software is required. It’s like the face of your company that distinguishes you from thousands of others. The issue is to find the right timing for custom software.
I sometimes assimilate business planning to chess. Well-observed and smart moves at the right time win the game. So, new software implementation at the right stage of the business lifecycle is a strategic move in your business plan. I am not an entrepreneur but I closely work with CEOs and Business owners to help scale up their business by offering and building the right software solutions. Thus I take the responsibility to share our experience at CodeRiders.
As the title of this article tells itself, we’re going to concentrate on the right timing for software development, as well as give answers to the following questions that I’m sure will cross your mind through the reading.
- Why and when should I invest in software development?
- Why should I choose to outsource over hiring in-house developers?
- Finally, will my investment even be justified?
Before speaking about the right time for new software implementation, let’s understand which stages businesses go through. There are 5 stages of business growth during the “business lifecycle”. Of course, the number of stages isn’t defined and followed up by each professional out there.
However, I’ll choose the “5 Stage” approach. We’ll view this from the point of software outsourcing as it’s:
- Less stressful
- Free of operational costs
- More effective and fast (if you choose the right software vendor)
- Free of monthly salaries and permanent employees, etc.
To explore this topic in detail, I suggest checking out CodeRiders’ tips on finding the right software development vendor.
Now as we’re clear about the benefits of business planning for software outsourcing, let’s go over the 5 main stages of the business lifecycle and understand which phase is ideal for software development implementation.
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5 stages of the business lifecycle and which phase is ideal for software development
1. Seed and Development
The Seed and development stage is put in this article for the purpose of awareness. This is the very beginning of the business lifecycle before you even officially establish your startup. At this stage, business owners usually assess and analyze the potential of their startup. So, it’s pointless to talk about new software implementation.
However, the seed and development stage is still crucial as this is the time to build your foundation and strategies including the right timing for custom software.
Once you figure out what you want and what steps you should take to achieve your goals, you’re officially entering into the startup stage of the “business lifecycle”. The launching of your startup is very crucial as many believe that mistakes made at this stage prevent the business to meet the 5th stage of the business lifecycle, or drag down to a standstill condition. Flexibility should be your number one priority at this stage, thus a lot of time should be spent on customer feedback and satisfaction rate.
The startup stage requires maximum adaptability in tweaking your services and products based on your customer reviews. The startup stage is often considered the riskiest stage during the “business lifecycle” as here your point is to win your current and potential customers’ trust. Many times, commissions are being shrunk or your overall ROI is on zero to zero for the sake of your newly established reputation.
If you’re a digital agency it’s obvious that your investments in software development should put first-hand. A highly-scalable, user-friendly website or application with convenient and up-to-date functions should be your ticket to success. So, a professional software development team is needed right from the beginning.
If you’re an “offline” school, shop, insurance, or finance company (doesn’t matter), it’s going to be very hard to handle all the business without digital solutions as well. The only difference is the number of resources spent on it. Making sure that the backbones of your business are completely stable and secure, maybe enough at the startup stage of “offline businesses”. The most common solutions include:
Minimum digital appearance (at least an informative website)
A website with at least minimum information (like who you are, what you do, how to get in touch with you). You may say, a social media appearance is enough as well. I will input some basic information about the company and have a digital place where my potential customers will get in touch with me. However, trust issues may arise on the surface here. Let’s view this from the customers’ perspective. Two companies offering the same services or products, one has a welcoming website with a lot of information and case studies and the other one has only social media appearances. The first one will definitely seem more reliable.
Control over finances
Finances are probably the most vulnerable part of every business. It’s advisable to hold this area under control right from the beginning of your business. You can implement some easy-to-use external software for your employees. Customized financial software will create an online platform with every detail on your expenses, outgoing and ongoing bills, invoices. Investing in finance software decreases the risk of possible losses. We at CodeRiders, have experience in building financial software solutions as well.
There are a number of open CRM software and seems many companies prefer to save money on using one of them. However, as mentioned earlier customer satisfaction and good reviews are the ultimate factors to the further existence of your business. A customized CRM gives a wider picture of the customer experience and satisfaction, has a more thorough analysis on finding the right customers, or putting a lot of effort and time into the right leads. Thus, CRM software should be taken more seriously, and the experience shows that successful businesses do.
There are many ready-made or easy-to-build storefronts to start an e-commerce website. However, if you want to get into the business and be serious, having such a website just isn’t enough. Problems in procurement processes, their approvals workflow, and limited self-serve tools make the evolving business less enjoyable and even hinder motivation. Switching to custom software implementation is just a matter of time.
These are some examples of custom software. The number of new software implementations is growing rapidly with the increase of new companies, their industries, and specific needs.
Parallel services which often arise along this transitory cycle include:
- Software upgrade: This service is in demand if the corresponding company wants to add new functions to its software that is already in use.
- Project recovery: Project recovery service is crucial if the client isn’t happy with the results of the project and wants to “re-build” some functions or the whole product with another software vendor.
Enterprise solutions development
Huge companies need more complex software. The software should be well-written, scalable, without even a minor error, as it’s under the heavy use of many people. Thus, they need more experienced software vendors, that may have more advanced skills in CMS, CRM, BI, Analytics, Integrations, etc., and be very comfortable in building appropriate software.
For further information about software solutions in specific industries, I suggest checking CodeRiders blog. We covered the following industries so far:
3. Growth and Establishment
If the startup stage is more about investing and adapting your services or products accordingly, the growth and establishment stage is finally accomplishing the reward. At this stage, you should already have dedicated customers and your business should generate a consistent source of income. However, one of the challenging parts of this stage for entrepreneurs is classifying time between a fast-growing new range of demands, managing the increasing level of revenue, nurturing current and potential customers, dealing with the competition, managing workforce, etc.
Most of the time, entrepreneurs appear to come out in this situation as the head of the company. It’s their responsibility to hire witty people with complementary skills to manage and arrange the job. However, even the smartest professionals need technical help in these days to go with the flow. So, it’s obvious that a wide range of software solutions especially is being implemented at this stage. Many companies go with complex Business Management Software.
Business Management Software is a combined solution that helps avoid shortcomings in the fields of finances, customer satisfaction, internal employee interaction, project and asset management, Database software, etc. However, if the company still isn’t ready for complex software or considers some specific factors, such as market characteristics and strategy, financial analysis, etc, process optimization software is highly recommended at this stage.
A process optimization software is a great solution for optimizing efficient workflows, managing related sales projects, and sales partners, multi-client capabilities, etc.
If you’re uncertain which stage your business is going through and which software is the most suitable for you, you’re welcome to contact CodeRiders. We’re open to free consultations.
4. Enlargement and Augmentation
Businesses that firmly stand on the ground and have stability in every department are broadening their horizons, and meet the enlargement and augmentation stage. If your business is at this stage, you should experience a rapid cash-flow, that will allow looking for expansions. New ideas may come up to your mind or you may simply want to enhance the number of employees and improve the quality of your product or service.
This stage is often associated with the rebirth of your business. The enlargement and augmentation stage is the return to the careful planning of a successful business model. The difference is its foundation. This time new credentials and opportunities come across with the cash flow, allowing to fulfill the plans that were skipped before because of money shortage or appropriate skills.
New planning for software outsourcing will brighten the business.
Business process automation software is one of the examples. This software changes the company’s approach to business. The software itself is compound thus includes a number of smaller systems such as:
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BPM (Business Process Management): Allows coordination across all the different tools.
Desktop automation: Comprises software robots implemented in each employee’s computer. It also has cognitive intelligence that allows navigating the complexities of the desktop environment. The complex and unified software responds to real-time events, activities, offers help to other employees, or responds to their questions if the appropriate employee isn’t at work. For a short definition: desktop software is the ultimate synergy between workers.
RPA (Robotic process automation): RPA is a bot or application that has maximum human-like thinking and is capable of interacting with the UI (user interface). It productively solves and fulfills human-like functions or tasks.
IPA (Intelligent process automation): IPA is the next stage of RPA. It’s connected with AI (Artificial intelligence) and Robotics, and besides reiterating human functions and thinking, it constantly learns and improves these processes just like humans improve their skills over time.
5. Coming of Age
Coming of age is the final stage of your business. At this stage, businesses usually reach a higher level of success and it’s basically the time to sit back and enjoy your hard work.
After a thorough analysis of the right timing of new software implementation, we come to the conclusion that certain software solutions are needed at each stage of the business lifecycle. Careful business planning for software outsourcing and the right timing for custom software will push the business to its happy 5t stage.
However, here many new software ideas should be implemented to keep up with the business growth and also move towards new, exciting phases. The coming of age stage is a bit dangerous as many companies have a risk to fall apart or continue with more advanced solutions.
Here, a bunch of new software solutions can refresh your business, give tips on new ideas, and make the overall working process fun and enjoyable. Some of likewise software may include:
Innovation software: This software helps businesses get new ideas, evaluate and prioritize innovative, new software implementations during the business lifecycle, collect appropriate information on business improvement.
Multimedia software: This software isn’t an innovation, moreover it’s widely used in the Multimedia industry. However, if your company has no connection with Multimedia but seeks innovations in daily working routines, this software is a possible solution. Multimedia software can play or create photos and images as well as record videos or audios. This excellent, utilized software for video and image editing, makes graphics and diagrams, and what’s most important it’s built completely based on your personal needs and preferences.
Various types of education software: Coming of Age stage is a crucial timing for businesses to avoid stagnation thus it’s also one of the best times of the business lifecycle for self-growth and advancement of professional skills. This is when various EdTech software solutions are being implemented, such as:
Reference software, that maintains printed reference forms into one place (dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas, thesaurus, etc. This software utilizes and skimps the learning process.
In conclusion, many entrepreneurs think that customized software should not be included among their crucial priorities for success. Many vital software solutions are being skipped at the decisive stages of the business lifecycle. In fact, what it takes is a strong pre-planning and the right timing for software outsourcing to rapidly drive your business to ultimate success with fewer hardships along the way.
If you are still hesitant about the right software solution for the success of your business, take the chance of a free consultation with CodeRiders experts to find it out!
CodeRiders will address your web and mobile development challenges by creating custom software, helping with outsourcing services, or just consulting on your software development requirements.