Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software can only take a business so far. COTS products are mass-produced software programs that can be used at short notice to cover most business needs. Unfortunately, many of these programs have several pain points that prevent a business from evolving and moving forward.
So, how does custom software improve business performance? Custom software is tailored to meet the specific requirements of a business. Building custom software around your business’ needs can streamline internal processes and improve client relationships.
This guide will explore seven actionable tips to optimize and improve your business using custom software, including examples of business strategies and insights from entrepreneurs who have implemented custom software solutions in their businesses.
1. Streamline customer experience
Your employees spend lots of time answering customer questions and providing support. They may also become overwhelmed by the number of queries they receive. Installing custom software can assist your team by answering common customer questions and personalizing the customer experience (CX).
“A strong customer experience strategy will help you stand out from your competitors,” explains Greg Heilers, Co-Founder of Jolly SEO. “It is the driving force behind long-term company growth. Nurturing your existing customer base will also cost less than acquiring new customers. Custom software enables businesses to provide a customer experience that makes it easy to get support and ask questions.”
A strong CX strategy is one of the best ways to improve business performance in the future. Customers will return more often and spread the word about your company after receiving positive customer support.
2. Simplify internal processes
Custom software can solve specific problems within your business that simplifies internal processes. You can update custom software and easily make changes, which is more convenient and efficient than COTS software. Tailor-made software is easy to integrate into internal processes and relieves pain points that reduce productivity.
Generating reports and searching for data will be easier for your employees and improve workflow. Operating your business this way will reduce costs and allow you to utilize employees better.
3. Prevent cyber attacks
Utilizing custom software within your business improves security for your customers and internal data. The threat of cyber-attacks and data breaches grows yearly as cyber terrorism becomes more sophisticated. 60% of businesses that suffer a data breach are forced into bankruptcy within six months.
Custom software improves security by protecting your business data and systems. COTS software is vulnerable to hackers because it is available to the public. High levels of security within your business will increase the trust you gain from your customers and improve business prospects.
4. Reduce maintenance costs
Tailored software reduces maintenance costs by accelerating reporting and reducing expenses. Labor costs are not included when you buy COTS software, and businesses must foot the bill if they want IT support and resources. You may also have to pay extra to make this type of software fit the needs of your business.
“Customized software saves businesses money by removing the risk of product termination,” explains Colin Palfrey, CMO of Crediful. “Commercial software companies often go out of business or discontinue their products. You could also experience price rises for license renewals and support. Running custom software eliminates unnecessary features that may cost more if you purchase COTS software.”
One of the major benefits of custom software is that you can communicate with the creators directly. Having a direct line with the software creators will give you access to immediate support and troubleshooting.
5. Control over scalability
Dealing with mass-produced software as your business grows can be frustrating. COTS software is not easy to update and adapt to your changing business needs.
“The best way to maintain control over scalability is to choose the right software that helps you grow,” says Anthony Martin, Founder, and CEO of Choice Mututal. “Expert developers can create custom software solutions that will allow you to handle extensive data and manage a larger workforce. Scaling your business will never become an issue when your software can adapt to your changing needs.”
Having custom software can support your business as it grows more complex. Off-the-shelf software can quickly become redundant due to the limited number of users and tasks it can support at one time.
6. Improve communication channels
Customer software allows you to communicate with team members, customers, and manufacturers more efficiently. Tasks are completed faster with less margin for error by automated programs. Reducing and optimizing communication channels can improve overall business productivity. To further enhance your business skills, consider enrolling in relevant business courses that can provide valuable insights and knowledge.
Interrupted communication can be a technical disaster for your business, glitches and freezes can damage your relationships with potential clients and tarnish your brand’s reputation. Operating your business with custom software will ensure the application programming interface (API) is running smoothly to prevent software failure.
Poor communication could lead to a loss of opportunity for your business. Improving communication through custom software can help your business perform more efficiently and avoid internal conflict. Most custom business software will provide reliable technical support with a technical team that is efficient and knowledgeable.
7. Stay one step ahead of the competition
Many of your competitors will use the same COTS software. Using a tailored software system can keep you one step ahead of industry problems and trends. You can also prevent the competition from gaining access to similar software by buying the rights to your custom code.
“Maintaining your competitive edge is essential if you want to improve business performance,” says Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group. “You cannot evolve and develop your brand if your software is stuck in the dark ages. Using custom software will provide flexibility so that your business can grow and stay ahead of the competition. Custom software fits your specific business needs so that you can perform as efficiently as possible and show customers that you are the best choice.”
Reducing operational costs and improving efficiency through the use of custom software will set your business apart from the competition. Hiring the best technology professionals to design your custom software will address company-specific issues and show customers why you are the best in your industry.
Research is key to discovering how custom software could assist your company and improve performance. Here are some of the main reasons custom software can improve business performance:
- Improves employee and customer satisfaction
- Software is tailored to business-specific needs
- Provides competitive advantage
- Reduces time-consuming tasks
Custom software is a powerful tool that can take a business to new heights when designed correctly. Be clear on your business needs before searching for custom software so that you can develop the right product and avoid future growing pains.