People have become accustomed to having everything they need immediately at their fingertips. This may seem unreasonable, but today if you cannot give your clients instant gratification it reflects poorly on your business and competency. As a result, many operations are turning to software applications to keep up. With the proliferation of smartphones, providing a mobile app to your employees so they can access relevant company data from anywhere, can maximize efficiency.While using a software solution is clearly a must, it is not always clear on how to go about choosing one. For most, it boils down to choosing an existing software solution, or creating a custom software for your company. As Bob Mango points out, both have pros and cons: cost, customizability, scalability. However, for smaller to mid size businesses that may not have vast resources, a custom solution seems to be the wrong solution. Here are are five reasons why you shouldn’t build your own app.
1.) Time And Money
Developing an app will require a knowledgeable team of developers, programmers, and graphic designers. If you do not run a business that has these kinds of employees already on the payroll, you will have to either hire the team, or outsource the project at your expense. As you can imagine, creating a custom solution will take longer to implement. A customized software solution would have to be developed and tested before you would be able to consider training your team and then streamlining the process. However, with an existing solution training and use could begin immediately as the specialized team that created the software will have already resolved any complications and be set up to train your team.
In order to keep the software relevant and operational, regular maintenance, bug fixes, and updates will need to be continuously managed, so if you go down the custom app route, either with your own team or with an outsourced team, there will be a sizable amount of work to be done for the life of the software. Again, this will mean having someone well versed in software development and this solution constantly available to you. Otherwise, you run the risk of having spent an inordinate amount of time and money developing an app that your employees may soon find outdated and a hindrance to productivity. Also, you will need to keep a support team that your employees can contact if they need assistance.
3.) Distracts From Long Term Goals
If you are not outsourcing your custom app development or hiring a team because you have an experienced programmer on staff, that person is no longer available to perform the original task for which they were hired. Software development, support, and maintenance will be their new primary purpose. In that same vain, having to allocate funds to software production and preservation means taking away from other necessary project funds.
Many companies do not employ developers, you will have to familiarize those that you bring in to complete your customizing task with the core tenets of your business to ensure they come through in the app. Making sure that your brand is conveyed properly is important. Therefore, you will have to communicate it clearly to make sure the developer understands your specifications. When working with someone who is less familiar with what you do, it can also be challenging to communicate the exact requirements that the application must address today while taking future requirements into consideration. This can not only lead to discrepancies between what you expect from the final product, but can limit its ability to scale to your future needs or make the cost prohibitive to do so.
5.) You May Be Missing Something
Obviously, the greatest benefit of developing your own software is that it will be perfectly tailored to your exact needs. However, there is a good chance that there is an existing software solution provider who has a solution that meets a large percentage of your requirements and who may be able to meet all your needs through integrations with other solutions. Before diving into the customizing process, be sure to do plenty of research on what already exists, and perhaps trial a few products to ensure you are making the best decision for you business.
If your business if looking to maximize efficiency through a mobile software app, that’s good. It is a good indication that you are taking the proper measures to stay relevant in today’s fast paced business environment. However, before you consider developing a custom software solution consider the real long term costs and commitments involved in this approach. You are likely better off finding a solution from a software company whose primary focus (and source of income) is on developing, supporting and maintaining this solution, while you focus on your area of expertise – growing your business.