Considering the stiff market competition, especially for start-ups, it has become a necessity than convenience to adopt software technology to meet business objectives. While there is plenty of ready-made software available for various business activities, they somehow fail to meet the specific prerequisites. They often come preloaded with a lot of features that may not be significant for a company’s needs.
On the other hand, custom software is built focusing on the specific objectives or challenges of a company. Since every business has its distinct requirements, no one solution will ever fit for all. That is why custom software turns imperative for effective business functioning.
Built on the same principle as off-the-shelf software, custom software is developed specifically for certain users within an organization to manage specific operations. Although the development is generally expensive compared to the already available ones, if you employ a competent custom software development service, it is a one-time investment that will assure a business gets what it needs.
In this blog, we will walk you through an ideal example of how custom-built software helped a startup attain enhanced business efficiency and improved performance.
A custom-built ERP software for a logistic start-up
Here we take the case of a start-up business involved in logistics & supply chain. Their need of the hour was to streamline their credit card processing system. The company was already utilizing the capabilities of a Universal Processing system which is an ERP system for Credit Card Processing. Using OPEN-ERP Technology with a centralized server, the system enabled all the necessary functions for the organization.
However, as the business grew the need for improved efficiency, speed, and accessibility from anywhere, compelled the company to think of an alternative technology that could help enhance their productivity. At such a time, like any other start-up, the company was also amidst the dilemma of choosing a custom solution or off-the-shelf software.
What do you think the company should adopt?
Licensing an off-the-shelf system would surely provide the solution, but they probably would end up paying more than what they use. A customized ERP system, which is tailored for the company’s specific credit card processing needs, would rather benefit the business more.
Before committing to custom-built software, a business, however, needs to ascertain the requirements precisely and the development and management cost to be paid. A start-up company specifically, should consider the development of custom software as interior designing for their office space. Everything from a small showpiece to a large piece of furniture must be according to the scope of the room. This way, the company will be in a position to easily manage their workflow as well as tackle their specific challenges, within a reasonable budget.
How should a software be customized to suit a start-up business?
As mentioned above, it is imperative for a business to clearly identify their requirements, scope, and feasibility of the project before even consulting a software development firm. Let’s continue with the previously mentioned case. Here, the start-up logistics company had its credit card processing system requirements clearly defined, which made the development and implementation simpler. The company wanted a system that could be easily accessible to staff from the office as well as remote workplaces. Because of the nature of their business, it was important for the start-up to ensure the continuity of operations even when the employees were on a weekly off or on family vacations.
Thus, the company, with the help of custom software development experts, went on to create a custom mobile app solution, and customize the existing ERP system, for improved capabilities. The employees of the firm could now carry out tasks using the web version within the office, while the mobile app (made available for both Android and iOS) equipped effective business operation management from anywhere.
The basic features of the application included:
- Facility to seamlessly send emails with PDF attachments.
- Create PDFs on the server.
- Capture signatures.
- Capture images.
- Save data locally.
- Sync data with the server.
- Offline usage.
In the long-run – how a customer-built ERP software benefitted the logistic start-up?
The following benefits confirm how custom software not only enhanced the process but also added significant importance to the overall performance of the start-up in question.
1. Expedited the reporting process
As for any kind of business, reporting is an integral part. The implementation of the customized ERP saved time by having a complete record of all the credit card processes and not going through excel sheets and doc files that a non-ERP system based business needs to.
2. Secured against external threats
Just like any ERP software, customized software is also built by the developer keeping security as a priority. While managing the credit card process efficiently, the software ensured that it protects the business data from all sorts of external threats. The start-up not only customized the functioning of ERP to suit its business but also tweaked the safety aspects for better security of its data. The company considered mending the protection level for its customized software as off-the-shelf software is easier for hackers to breach compared to the customized one.
3. Business model was simplified
It is crucial for a business, especially start-ups, to always have an upper hand over competitors to survive and succeed in the market. The company knew this fact very well and made sure that its employees find their duties enjoyable and not as an obligation by leveraging the custom-built software. The customized ERP system allowed the employees to save significant time in performing tasks manually and utilizing it to focus on other important jobs. This helped the company in having a simplified approach for their business model.
4. Scope for scalability
With the customized ERP system, the logistics start-up had the option to be prepared for easy management of the operations when the business grows. And, as the time came, the company didn’t face any challenges in scaling the potential of its software as well as employees.
5. One-stop solution
Rather than having different management software to carry out operations in different departments, the company integrated all the required features in a single software. This not only helped the company in having all the information available in one platform but also bridging the hierarchy between different stages of operations systematically.
To summarize everything, it can be stated that the success of a start-up mainly depends on the fact that how well and carefully an entrepreneur plans every aspect of its business. The more time one gives to planning and management of resources, the lesser hurdles a business will need to go through. And yes, while the employees are the great pillars for a profitable organization, empowering them with compatible tools (custom-built software) is inevitable.
In a nutshell, the perfect amalgamation of human resource and business-focused software is necessary for a start-up to beat the competition and stay ahead in the race.
I have been programming since 2000, and professionally since 2007.
I work on different technology stacks, ranging from the “boring”(read tried and trusted) to the bleeding edge.
I like building, tinkering with, and breaking things, not necessarily in that order.