Will Developing Custom Software Solution For My Small Business Offer Real ROI?

December 30, 2016

For many small businesses, off-the-shelf software for accounting, word processing and visual presentation software products are easy to find and implement, but for more sophisticated small business enterprises, especially those in business 10 or more years, off-the-shelf solutions often fall short.  For these more established enterprises, processes and business demands have grown in scope and complexity, so much so that a custom solution is their only option.

It’s only when current software “hits the wall” that a custom software solution might even be considered, but only when time and cost of development is justified.  Here’s a few questions we receive about project development with Scottsdale Bizz.

How much does it cost to develop custom software?

Answering this question can be complicated, particularly when different people fill different roles inside your company.  Not only must you know the roles and process steps for each persona in your company, you must be able to articulate and/or document how these processes and/or procedures can be improved upon, and then, only through A/B testing or scenario validation, validate (and justify) the costs to develop the software.  When a company only has five to employees, it’s typically not an issue, but when your company has 20 or more employees, the dynamics become more complex.  In most of our projects, cost and time are justified by developing wireframes and/or prototypes, a process requiring a certain level of patience and access to company staff.  Once the wireframing and/or prototyping process is complete, we provide an exact dollar amount to develop the solution.  To date, about 10% of projects we’ve scoped, because of costs, never see the first line of code written, and even when this is the result, our clients are always grateful to have gone through the process and discover early whether costs justify ROI.

Another question we receive is the “My software is integrated with another company who provides critical data, but they are upgrading their software, an upgrade that will no longer be compatible with our software.  What do we do now?”  For this issue, it comes down to a single question; “Is it worth spending the money to create a new integration, or do we try to bring the process and data requirements in-house?”  So long as the third-party integrator will work with your company to ensure data continues to flow properly, we will work with your integrator to ensure your software is upgraded alongside the third party’s software.  Since 100% of our application development is on the Microsoft framework, it’s typically not a problem.  Integrations are often the most cost efficient solution for a small business, with caveats.  There’s a hundred good reasons to integrate with third-party software, and a hundred good reasons not to.  With that said, it always breaks down to these four questions:

  1. Can your company develop the data in-house and bypass the third-party integrator?
  2. If converting to an in-house custom solution, will the data need to be scrubbed or manipulated for accuracy/integrity?
  3. What is the value of the data?  Can your company’s end-product maintain its value with or without the data?
  4. What is the time to integrate versus time to develop from scratch, and what are the associated costs?

For custom software to work as a solution, three additional fundamental questions must be answered during each scoping effort.

  1. By developing a custom software solution, how much (in real dollars and by what percentage) will my company’s operational overhead decline?
  2. Will staff productivity rise?  Can this productivity increase be measured, and if so, how?
  3. When the custom solution being considered is an existing e-Commerce solution, how much will creating a new custom solution improve the ordering process (inventory control, shipping, email communication management, etc.)?  Will improving the ordering process increase sales, and if so, why and by what percentage?

Scottsdale Bizz takes pride in developing software solutions that improve a small business’ ability to operate more efficiently, and for e-Commerce applications, increase sales.  Our analysts know how to uncover, detangle and document project deliverables, manage each facet of development and produce efficient, cost justified software for small businesses.  We’ve developed hundreds of solutions for companies across the Western and Southwestern states, from the initial project assessment, to the coveted first version release.

Let us show you how you can benefit from a custom solution, whether a custom software, database, Internet, mobile, prototype or e-Commerce application.  Contact our office to get started today.