6 common issues businesses face in using off-the-shelf softwarePosted on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 by Intergy Consulting
There are a large number of off-the-shelf or cloud-based software applications available to get your business up and running. As your business grows, you’ll inevitably find that your current off-the-shelf software just isn’t quite doing the job you need. Maybe your systems are making it hard for you to engage with your customers or keep up with high demands, or you’re simply using too many disparate business systems and are unable to get a proper view of your business performance. In this article, we have discussed 6 common issues that businesses face in using off-the-shelf software.
- A One-Size-Fits-All Approach
Using off-the-shelf software is a great way to get your business off the ground. However, since no two businesses are the same and you have unique goals and plans in mind for your business, you’ll find that a cookie-cutter approach is unlikely to give you the flexibility to meet your needs and the needs of your clients and employees.Because these software solutions are developed with the idea of meeting many needs for many businesses, the chances of finding a solution that will meet all of your criteria are slim, especially as your needs develop. The software is likely to include additional features that you may not utilise, while falling short of the features that could greatly improve the way your business runs.
- Innovation is Smothered
One thing to consider is whether your software solutions are “future-proofed”. Sure, you need your software to solve the problems you’re facing today, but by failing to take a long-term approach, you’re likely to find that you’re stuck searching for time-consuming and costly upgrades (if these can even be implemented within off-the-shelf software), or trying to get by with software that’s holding your business back.Your software needs to be agile and easily adaptable in order to solve problems as they occur and with off-the-shelf software, you’ll find that innovation and thinking “outside the box” is highly limited.
- High Monthly Fees
If your business is growing and changing, you’re probably hiring new staff and attracting new clients. Most standard, cloud-based solutions will require you to pay high monthly per-user license fees, meaning that as your business grows, so do your software costs.
- Multiple Systems are Inefficient
Every business grapples around finding the best business systems as operations expand and proper planning of an integrated system will often take a back seat in favour of revenue acceleration over the short-term. Consequently, various systems and applications will be installed over the years, resulting in integration challenges and process inefficiencies.Many companies will first choose accounting software like MYOB/Xero, before adding standalone management systems, with separate systems for order management, customer support and inventory management. As new office locations are opened or the business expands, more standalone applications are often added in order to support recurring billing, e-commerce integration, financial consolidation and more. This can result in a web of tangled software systems, inhibiting productivity and flexibility and slowing down your business’ ability to grow.If you’re aiming to move forward with your business, employees need to be operating at peak productivity- something that’s impossible if they’re constantly dealing with disjointed and inefficient processes since this increases errors and takes focus and time away from more important tasks. Employees may be spending huge chunks of time manually re-entering information into multiple systems, which also makes it easy for data to end up lost, inaccurate, and unsynchronised, frustrating both your employees and your clients.
When these systems are not integrated, databases will overlap- making it hard to access important reports that show your performance across service, marketing, sales and finance departments.
- Ownership is Lacking
Since you don’t own off-the-shelf software, all of your data is held with a third-party. And since this third-party controls the customisation and development of the product, future updates may not be what you’re looking for, and you may find that the updates you need simply never get developed.
- Customisations are Tricky
Often standard software is unable to be customised, and when you can make customisations to this software, it’s likely that these will be both difficult and costly, failing to have the smooth and intuitive user experience that is achieved with custom software.
When you choose custom software, you own the end result, allowing you to make changes and updates as necessary. This means that the software will grow and change with your business, instead of limiting how and when you grow.
You may have previously used an off-the-shelf software solution due to lower up-front costs, included support, time constraints, and lack of technical proficiency. While this type of software can be the best option for start-ups, most businesses will find that building custom software will unlock many benefits, providing advantages over competitors and allowing you to focus on business growth. And once you’ve invested in a custom software solution, you’ll likely find that you could have accessed these benefits far earlier in your business’ lifetime.
If you’re thinking about choosing a custom software solution, get in touch today. The team at Intergy has a wealth of experience across many different industries and are sure to find a custom software approach that suits the needs of your business.