This is a guest post for Skills You Need.
Want to contribute? Find out how.

4 Ways to Use Custom Software
to Boost Your Business

See also: Project Management Skills

Software is at the heart of most modern businesses. In the past few decades, many previously standard business tools have all but disappeared as a result. Cheques are considered archaic, and while there are surprisingly 43 million fax machines still in operation around the globe, they’re contained within a handful of specific industries.

There are plenty of off the shelf solutions out there, and most corporate tasks have something designed with them in mind. Likewise, there are plenty of online tools out there that can simplify your business. However, one key downside to using these options is that by doing so, you’re doing things the same as everyone else – including the competition.

When software makes up such a significant part of your operations, it represents an opportunity to do things differently. Of course, the best way to achieve this is to use software in a way that nobody else does. So whether you have the expertise to develop custom software among your internal teams or need to outsource to increase business efficiency, there’s an opportunity there.

Beyond the obvious benefits of getting ahead of the competition, we’ve pulled together four fantastic reasons to use custom software and why doing so can make all the difference to your business’s future success.

1. Handle Orders, Sales and Leads in a Way That Works for You

When running a business, cash is king. Most of your efforts, and those of your employees, go towards ensuring a positive impact on your bottom line. Custom software, designed with the needs of clients, leads and employees alike, can be pivotal in making this happen and optimising the process.

Customisation options are essentially limitless, and whether you decide to create something from scratch or build on existing software, the results are highly likely to have a direct impact on your profit margins.

You could create software that captures leads on the website and automatically assigns them to both an order process and a human employee for follow-up. If you’re into manufacturing, you could create a piece of software that nobody else uses, which handles order flow from your website to your manufacturing equipment, consolidating the entire process.

One of the best things about custom software is that it takes what you already do and makes it better. That frees up employees to work on other things, cuts costs in the order process, and, with the right software expertise, the sky truly is the limit.

2. Manage Projects that Matter with Custom Tools

Project management is of increasing concern to many businesses. Even retailers that thrive on selling products directly to customers can thrive on larger-scale projects that have the potential to change the way they do business.

The software industry isn’t oblivious to the rising demand for project management software. Few packages are yet to achieve the status of being household names, but the likes of LiquidPlanner and Teamwork represent dedicated packages that help to get all projects done on time and on spec.

Like any business, the companies behind that software need to make money, and part of that means appealing to the broadest possible range of potential customers. They do many different things well but, when it comes to your business specifically, perhaps not everything you need perfectly.

By heading down the custom software route, you can design a project management package that meets your specific needs, no matter how demanding. For example, if your company uses an entirely remote workforce, your management software can prioritise remote access security.

Suppose you have unusual ways to sign off milestones. In that case, dedicated software can adapt to ensure that the right features land in front of the right eyes and not allow the project to proceed until everyone is happy.



3. Handle Quality Assurance for Specific Products

Quality assurance is an integral element of doing business. It’s easy enough to leave online reviews in places that people will see them, that you don’t want your products or services to disappoint. But, unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for reviews to roll in after launch either.

A weak initial reception to a product can result in it being dead on arrival. Those early reviews mean nobody buys the product again, and refinement and improvement are in vain as there will never be any positive reviews to overcome the negative sentiment.

The onus is on businesses to ensure that products and services are ready to appeal to the mass market before they reach the public domain. That’s what quality assurance is for, and it applies to anything your business does if you intend to do it well.

One of the best ways to determine whether your unique QA software has been a success is to trial it on the software itself. Significant testing makes for better products and services, lower costs and a better reputation for your business among new and existing customers alike.

4. Refresh Your Business’s Cybersecurity

No matter what sector you’re in, you won’t have been able to escape the increasing importance of cybersecurity. Online attacks have moved beyond installing antivirus software on computers and ignoring email attachments from unfamiliar sources.

Today, these online attacks are more sophisticated than ever before, and no businesses are immune regardless of their size and how much money they can invest in their defences.

Smaller businesses, in particular, are vulnerable, not least because many small business owners assume that their company is too small to be of interest to attackers. However, if you’re a solvent business, you have money and customer data, and that’s all an attacker needs to make such an attack worthwhile.

One of the most significant benefits of using custom software in your business with an eye on cybersecurity is that many attacks thrive on familiarity. So when they discover a software flaw, they can immediately turn their attention to attacking other businesses with the same software and, therefore, the same problems.

If you’re the only one using a particular piece of software, you’re immediately immune to common vulnerabilities.

Naturally, you can tailor your custom platform further depending on how you work. For example, if your team works remotely, you might create unique remote access software that combines the benefits of VPNs, firewalls and other standard security protocols. If you store a lot of customer information, your unique software can ensure that it remains secure with encryption only you and your senior team have access to.


In Conclusion

Staying ahead of the competition involves more than just making better products or providing more comprehensive services. How you work can be just as important as what you produce as a result.

Computers have changed the way people do business, and pushing things to the next level rather than relying on the same tools available to everyone can represent one of the most cost-effective long-term decisions any company can make.


About the Author


Joe Blake is a business technology writer that works primarily with SaaS businesses to share the benefits of various products and services with owners and employees in an easily digestible manner.

TOP