October 18th 2020
Today’s Business Scaling Software Decisions Shape Tomorrow’s Competitive Impact.
Written by
Stephan Themis
CEO Nexeo
User Interface
You need to assess, today, which tools will best put your company ahead of the competitive curve tomorrow. Choices on how to grow your business have never been more abundant and exciting than in today’s fast-paced digital era. Yet, those decisions remain daunting. Especially as technologically-savvy competition increases by the day. Should you adopt an off-the-shelf software package? Or, have a custom software solution built for your purposes? The best answer depends on several factors:

  • How, and how well, will the chosen solution actually meet your needs?
  • What will be the indirect transition costs to implement it?
  • And, how can that tool evolve to support your business growth for years to come?

Let’s face it, companies have plenty of software products from which to choose to handle different aspects of business. Accounting software, ERPs, CRMs, CMSs, and cloud-based services to manage company books, enterprise resources, customer relationships, and online content come in all shapes and sizes. Kudos to you if you find a few affordable and intuitive solutions that meet most of your needs, while also interfacing with each other to avoid repetitive data entry! However, software solutions are rarely that simple.

Opting for off-the-shelf products might force you to revise long-established processes, and put a heavy burden on retraining staff to adopt new workflows. Or, maybe you work in an emerging or niche industry under-served by the current software community. More often than not, it costs a lot more to have specific, critical features added to an existing product. And in some situations, only a handful of features in a software suite actually prove useful. So, you end up paying for more than what you really need. At that point, building a custom solution makes sense strategically and financially over the long‑run.
Implementing your own software solution allows you to:

  • Embrace current, established processes
  • Improve them through automation
  • Reduce or eliminate duplicate data‑entry
  • Integrate third-party services via APIs
  • Enforce protocols and optimize workflows.
That means improved productivity, accuracy, response times, and planning! (You also introduce a minimal learning curve because the software gets built around the company’s familiar framework and terminology. Plus …no recurring licensing fees.) And, your custom solution can always be readily updated to answer future needs.

In conclusion, many tools may have a lower initial sticker price, but may not economically nor functionally embrace your current business model. Indirect costs for changes made in processes and for retraining may rise. However, custom software can focus on improving your current methods, and centralizing information in a recognizable structure. Overall, this could save significant restructuring, licensing, and training costs in the long run.

Now, you know the options for your next software decision, based on pricing, indirect costs, long-term ROI, and future capabilities. Time to assess tomorrow’s success!
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