In a time when businesses are striving to be faster, better, leaner and stronger, having the best—and correct—tools at your disposal is more crucial than ever. On the flip side, with so much hankering for efficiency and automation, new apps and platforms are popping up daily. But from scalability to security to third-party integrations, there’s much to consider when entering the custom software arena. Custom can be intimidating, so I talked with WDD Cofounder and Senior Software Developer, Reed Delporte, to put together a list of scenarios in which a business should go custom versus off-the-shelf.
Scenario #1: We’ve tried a few freeware and off-the-shelf apps but none of them accommodate the nuances of our business.
Often, the nuances of a business are what provide great value to the people you serve; it’s what makes your business unique. Take, for example, Indianapolis treasure Long’s Bakery. If you’re familiar with the bakery, you know that busy mornings can mean an hour-long wait in line. So while most shops require a straightforward POS system, Long’s was looking for something more comprehensive that would not only streamline transactions but help predict product demand (think: a Colts game on a Sunday that’s predicting rain).
Additionally, the new robust POS is integrated into the bakery’s equipment, so that when it’s time to hit the kitchen, bakers need only select their recipe and the machinery will assist and monitor. Long’s collection of secret family recipes is accessible to bakers yet securely stored, and shops can better manage busier times.
Scenario #2: My business process flow has special approval, notification and/or integration requirements that we can’t implement with our current software.
This example builds on the previous theme, with an added element: software overload. After evaluating their internal workflow, Indy-based Otolaryngology Associates discovered that the team was spending hundreds of hours a year navigating the business’ various systems. From primary physician referral management to scheduling systems to transcription services to electronic medical record (EMR) management, OA could not continue to scale its practices with so many platforms to manage and a high learning curve.
Enter: “the Transcription Cube”, OA’s custom software platform. The new, fully custom platform integrates all of OA’s systems into one seamless experience for users, enabling the team to provide better and more efficient care to patients, while also reducing overhead.
Scenario #3: I need custom software for my business—and I think I can also license or sell it to other companies.
This scenario is all about capitalizing on an opportunity beyond your internal processes. Global Medical Transcription, LLC (GMT) saw such an opportunity when it sought to find a solution for physicians bogged down by paperwork. The highly custom software has a robust administrative platform that integrates into a physician’s mobile phone or tablet, allowing him or her to dictate all patient notes. The software pushes the recording to a third-party to be transcribed. Industry-standard data interchange formats are employed to seamlessly integrate with medical practice scheduling and electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
The HIPAA-compliant, secure cloud-based platform is designed so that GMT can white-label (re-brand) and license the entire application to other medical transcription services while maintaining overall control of the features, performance, and quality of their investment!
Scenario #4: Our company has an extensive list of requirements for our software but customizing an existing platform is too expensive, time consuming and complicated.
The National Precast Concrete Association faced this situation when their existing managing system was no longer supported. Rather than vet and customize an off-the-shelf solution, NPCA decided they wanted a comprehensive system that was all their own. What they got was a full association management system that integrated their entire workflow into one connected platform, including modules for a membership portal, financials, education (learning management system), e-commerce, and more.
Going custom allowed NPCA to get exactly what they needed without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on customizing an existing, imperfect platform, and without paying annual licensing fees.
Can Custom Software Solve Your Business Challenge?
The examples here are all unique and cover only a fraction of the business challenges that WDD’s software architects and developers work to solve daily. While off-the-shelf software options are many times appropriate, custom is the way to go when you’re working with sensitive data, a multitude of APIs and integrations, or complex internal workflow processes.