How Can Custom Software Help Your Business?

At RoleModel we want to guide you as a business innovator through your options with technology that can impact your business, especially related to considering a custom software project. We want to help you think about where custom software could be effective in your business, and clarify how the custom software process works at RoleModel.

Custom software development requires a different perspective than purchasing off-the-shelf software. With off-the-shelf, you know exactly what features you are going to get, but you have less control in how it integrates or changes with your business over the long-term. On the other hand, custom software grows and evolves with your business. When you have an investment mindset with custom software, it allows you to shape the software to fit your business and directly impact your return on investment. 

Your business is a system and it’s important to periodically step back and think about the system as a whole. Is it running as efficiently as it could be? Are there areas of your business that are error-prone, or tedious? Is there anything that prevents you from scaling to the next level? Custom software can help you fill in the gaps.

A common misconception about custom software is that every part of the system needs to be built from the ground up. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, there are great pieces of software out there. Instead we can build an asset that integrates with those existing pieces of software—essentially building a hub that connects all of those disparate pieces into one unified system. Connecting those pieces lets you streamline your workflows, increase productivity, and reduce errors—driving value for your business. 

“Helping transform businesses with software is what got me passionate about pursing a career as a software developer. Early in my career I was working with a company that had this process where it would take someone three days each week to create a critical asset. It was very tedious. With some software that I was able to build for them, we reduced it down to five seconds to do the same thing and it really transformed their business. And we didn’t take that person and fire them cause their job had been replaced, no we freed them up to do the creative work that humans are really good at and left all the tedious stuff to the computers.” 

Our most successful projects start with investment-minded partners with a long-term strategic vision who are looking to enhance their unique competitive advantage with custom software. Based on our experience working across multiple industries, we’ve identified three indicators that your business may be ready for a custom software solution. 

  1. You want to scale your business.

  2. Off-the-shelf software isn’t enough.

  3. You are overusing spreadsheets. 

You want to scale your business

Everyone wants to scale their business, and there are many ways to do it. You can do more of what you have been doing by hiring more employees and taking on more customers. But custom software allows you to take a step back, evaluate your processes and find your ideal workflow so you can scale the impact you have. Custom software acts as the lever, maximizing the inputs you put into the system that is your business.

Think of where you want your business to end up, are any of your current processes keeping you from getting there? Can they be simplified? Can they be used more effectively? Can you improve on the processes you already have? We can be your thought partners in understanding your processes, and then we can help you build a solution that is tailored to your business and help you scale.

How can we simplify our processes so that our growth is sustainable? One answer is, you guessed it, custom software. Software can codify your expertise and your competitive advantage—the things that differentiate you from the competition. 

Off-the-shelf software doesn’t fit your needs

Off-the-shelf software is great, until it’s not. It may only get you 90% of where you want to go, and that last 10% can be very expensive and it probably isn’t going away. But custom software can not only bridge that gap, it can also help you find other strategic opportunities. 

Sometimes there is a piece of off-the-shelf software that is critical to your business, and you are not looking to replace it. But that piece of off-the-shelf software is the sticking point in your processes causing issues like double-data entry and the errors that go along with it; those are the things that are slowing down your business. 

Recently, we had a client, Upward Management Group (case study) where we were replacing one part of their contract origination workflow but the heart of their business still ran on a legacy desktop application. We found a way to gather all the data gathered by the end users and transfer it straight into their desktop platform—completely eliminating the double-data entry and increasing accuracy along the way. That’s the kind of power and efficiency that custom software can bring to your business!

You’re overusing spreadsheets

Are you overusing spreadsheets? Often you are using spreadsheets to tie together multiple pieces of software that don’t really talk to each other. That’s where custom software comes in: thinking about how you can integrate those systems more deeply so that your custom software is the central hub of your business. Creating this hub allows data to flow directly between these systems, which reduces errors, allows you to scale, and ultimately allows you to design your ideal workflow. 

All business software starts as a spreadsheet. First you may have one, then a dozen, and then an entire collection spreadsheets to manage your business. You may be feeling the limits of that approach. Your business may be struggling with data consistency or the performance of reporting. That’s where tailored custom software can step in. The software we build together can streamline your workflows and codify your ideal business practices in software. Custom software can bring consistency to your data where it matters with the flexibility to grow and change alongside your business. 

At RoleModel, we treat your money as if it was our own, and we want to guide you to the right solution for you, whether that is an off-the-shelf solution, custom software, or a hybrid of the two. If one of these indicators hit home, it’s likely that you have an opportunity to consider custom software and we’d love to walk through those options with you.