Bespoke-Software-Pros-and-Cons

The Pros and Cons of Building Bespoke Software

A streamlined operation is a part of what helps businesses achieve their goals. Having an organized process means knowing you have the tools needed to meet operational objectives as a company—and this includes business software solutions.

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Generally speaking, organizations need specialized software that fulfills their business needs. Developers understand these prerequisites and have the tools and skills needed to create the programs. Business software solutions are developed and used for completing complex business tasks and reporting activities in an automated manner.

Aside from streamlining processes, business software has other benefits to companies—it offers better productivity and improved control, lessens the risk of human errors, allows for effectiveness, consistency, and accuracy, and performs tasks in a shorter period to help reduce workload. Some of the standard business software solutions include the following:

  • Word Processors: comes with spelling and grammar checker for error-free letters and reports.
  • Email and Communication Programs: helps in information exchange within and outside the company.
  • Recordkeeping Programs: comes with accounting or bookkeeping features for tracking sales and expenses.
  • Human Resource Information System: handles HR roles like employee management, recruitment, employee record maintenance, training, and payroll.

With advancements in IT not showing signs of slowing down, new software solutions that can support business operations are being introduced daily. You have the option to either build the software with help from your developers or buy ready-made ones. But, how do you know which solution best fits your business’ needs?

 

Custom vs. Off-The-Shelf

A custom or bespoke software is a program that is made-to-order to aid the specific needs of a single company, while Off-the-Shelf software is commercially available to the general public. Custom solutions are made to cater your business’ unique requirements, but ready-made programs will require your business to adapt to its features.

Commercial software can also be packaged, wherein programs are grouped to provide different tools that are under the same family in one software. The applications share a few similar features but make a complete package for the user. The best example would have to be Microsoft Office and the tools under it, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and many others.

Since off-the-shelf software is made for the public, it is generally created to be user-friendly. The interface for bespoke, meanwhile, can be complicated since it’s customized for the professional who will use it. As for the price, commercial software is generally cheaper compared to custom since bespoke software is made exclusively for one company.

However, this price difference also entails risk. Commercial solutions may be more inexpensive but may not always have what you demand. You’re assured that a tailored option will fit your needs, but since it means working through custom software development, you would have to cover all the expenses involved in the process. In this case, you may risk paying the high prices but not get what you want in the end.

 

Bespoke Software: The Good and the Bad

Based on these differences, it may seem like bespoke software has a lot more advantages for businesses with unique challenges; but benefits sometimes come with disadvantages, as well. Before you decide on a customized solution for your business, consider the pros and cons of building your own software as opposed to purchasing commercial ones first.

 

Pros

  • Your Own Solution

Custom software is made for your business’ needs and is meant to be the solution to all of your organization’s problems. Therefore, it is unique to you, and you own the software (though you may have to check your agreement first if you tapped a third-party developer to do it for you). There’s no denying the value of product that purely exists for your company’s best interests.

 

  • Flexible Support and Updates

If needed, you can easily modify and expand your custom software to keep up with the changes in your business and with technology. You can also choose to update and improve your solutions at your own convenience.  With custom software, your company can define the scope of features, the level of support, and overall design to fit your needs specifically.

 

  • No Security Issues

Commercial software can be quite risky. Since you’re sharing software with other users, your company may be in danger in case of a hack. For custom software, you can only be in jeopardy if the hacking is targeted to your software or company. Even then, developers can enhance security by integrating it with another security solution that they have.

 

  • Competitive Edge

Since the software is only made for you, your competitors won’t be able to use the same software, and you don’t have to share it with them. This gives you a competitive advantage that can’t be easily replicated.

 

Cons

  • Takes Time and Energy

Bespoke software is not a quick fix. The development phase, from understanding your business needs to discovering bugs before the actual launch, can take several months. Depending on the nature of your business—and while the process will eventually deliver a great solution—time may be of the essence and undergoing development hell may not be the best idea for you.

 

  • High Upfront Cost

As mentioned, developing custom solutions from scratch is not going to be cheap. However, the substantial upfront investment can result in robust solutions that can reward you with an even better amount of gains in the future.

 

  • Features May Be Limited

Readily-made solutions often cover a wide range of features, which can be convenient at specific instances. Bespoke ones won’t start as feature-rich; it may take some time to gradually make improvements along the way.

 

  • Dependent On Software Provider

Custom solutions need to be regularly updated and checked, which means you’d have to be reliant on your provider to maintain it. However, this can be easily remedied by choosing the right developer or company; one that you already have a good relationship with and are experts in the field.

 

Conclusion

Custom software development services are flourishing more than ever because businesses realize that they can use them to implement their unique ideas and USPs. It’s also ideal for those who want to get the most out of what technology has to offer, as long as you’ve got the time and resources to spend on development.  

Some may even go the hybrid route: buy off-the-shelf solutions but also put in custom applications that can be integrated with commercial ones. This way, they can get both the fundamental features of off-the-shelf products and the unique services of customized solutions.

In the end, the best solution will depend on your business’s nature, needs, and budget. Choose the solution that will answer your challenges and organize your processes without going over your allocation.

 

Looking to build a custom software for your brand? Contact Intelligent Bee today to find out what we can do to grow and support your business!


The-World-Needs-More-Software-Developers

The World Needs More Software Developers!

The rise of technology and digital tools in today’s modern world is evident. Everywhere you turn, you can see a student working on their laptop in a coffee shop or a kid playing games on their parent’s smartphone. The widespread use of smart devices is set to expand in the coming years, until one day, no one will be able to recall what life was like before phones and other gadgets.

Because of this, the demand for technical professionals has naturally increased. In fact, the role of software developer is the reigning “best job” in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Said survey identified jobs with the highest hiring demand, best work-life balance, and most competitive pay, among others.

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Programmers aren’t just relevant in software development companies or industries that are “obviously” tech. Demand is growing in practically any industry that needs talented individuals to create digital applications. With the digital transformation many institutions are undergoing today, this growth in demand applies to the health sector, financial service industry, and education, to name a few.

What does this say about the future of software development and the increasing involvement of tech in various industries?

 

The Growth of Software Demand

More and more companies are on the hunt for software developers, but there aren’t enough people to fill the role. In the U.S. alone, there are over 200,000 open jobs for this role, and yet data shows that there are only around 30,000 computer science majors who graduate every year.

Following this trend, there will always be a shortage of software developers in the industry. It could take almost seven years to fill the current open roles. That’s not even accounting for the future projection that there will be about a million computer programming jobs expected to open by 2020.

Companies are understandably frustrated with this situation, but they still try to address the shortage in other ways. They are hard at work to make employees interested and excited about additional knowledge in programming, creating an emphasis on teamwork rather than technical know-how.

This means building opportunities in training workshops on coding, programming, and software development to current employees who might be interested in the field.

Homegrown talent is also a major trend in addressing the lack of qualified software developers.

Bloomberg featured the strategy of two businesses, JDA Software Inc. and Social Tables, who both have programming internship programs. A senior engineer is paired up with a rookie, and from there, the company will decide if a candidate will get absorbed or not.

While these techniques work for some businesses, not every organization is so lucky. There may be a lack of general interest in programming or too little resources to implement a training program, which points back to the need for software developers.

 

Quality Developers are Still Few and Far Between

Just as with any position, having people interested in the job is not enough for them to get hired. There may be existing programmers on the market, but their inexperience may throw off companies who want to hire someone with better skills.

Therefore, it’s not just the question of having a shallow talent pool to begin with, but also the skill level of those who do want to apply. Lack of experience is one of five hiring challenges for software developers, including lack of technical skills, high salary demands, lack of workplace competencies, and lack of formal engineering education.

Besides this, there is also a great struggle retaining talent in the software development industry.

Because of budget restrictions, start-ups have no choice but to hire entry-level programmers, whose skillsets may not quite cover all of the company’s needs. As the company grows, they will be able to afford mid and senior level developers who will inevitably spot the errors of their predecessors and fix it.This issue can get repetitive and tiresome for programmers. Instead of creating something new, they get trapped in an endless cat-and-mouse chase with errors and poor coding.

In effect, some developers willingly exit the industry after over-fatigue from repetitive work. It’s a difficult situation to escape from, seeing as the scenario above can turn into a vicious cycle.

 

Final Words

Here’s food for thought: How can software developers take your business to the next level? Just imagine all the possibilities.

Technology will continue to evolve at a much faster pace than most humans will understand. Even if there are enough software developers in the world, the opportunities that new tech will bring are infinite. There will always be something new to learn, and that’s an exciting thing!

In practically any industry you put them, software developers can help make the businesses more effective. There’s a high demand for them, and this will only grow in the coming years. Supporting educational programs and opening up training for people who are interested are good ways to contribute to the reproduction of software developers worldwide.

 

Are you a prolific software developer? We want to hear from you. Visit our careers page today!


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The Future of Technical Support Outsourcing: Top Trends and Things to Know

2018 is coming to a close, and most people live, breathe, and eat the Internet. It has empowered consumers to perform a lot of tasks that previously took a lot of time to do, such as shopping, learning, banking, and more. The world has become a smaller place because of this, as the internet allows people all over the world to meet at a common place: online.

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To keep up with the needs of the people, businesses have also migrated to this space. Naturally, each company aims to provide the best products and solutions for consumers globally.

In an ideal world, business operations go smoothly and customers never have any problems or issues at all. Sadly, we’re not living in that world. If your website, e-commerce store, customer support system, or any other online channels break down, various aspects of your business could be compromised. It could even create a negative impression with your consumers or hurt your sales.

So, in a world connected by the internet, social media, and smart devices, it’s in almost every business’ best interest to invest in technical support outsourcing. It’s more than just the digital version of calling a plumber to fix your leaking pipes.

 

Tech Support Outsourcing at a Glance

Companies need tech support for a variety of reasons, and the core focus of the support will depend on what their priorities are and the industry that they operate in. Here are some of the most commonly outsourced tech support functions and how they add value to a company:

Data security – Secure data servers are essential for the business as well as their consumers. For one, company data may contain business plans, financial plans, and any or all tactics that companies use to grow. This is top secret information that should not fall into other people’s hands. On the other side, there’s sensitive information that customers entrust businesses with (credit card details, residential address, etc.) that should also be protected at all times.

Automation – Processes run faster and more efficiently when things are automated—whether it’s payroll, marketing, or inventory management, analyzing and improving the processes that can cut down operation times is crucial.

Customer service – In the age where the customer is king, it’s absolutely essential to add value to the customer experience wherever possible to stand out from the competition. Customer service and support play a huge role in defining the overall customer experience quality. And although it might not directly affect business growth, it more than makes up for it by fostering trust, loyalty, and advocacy.

Software Application Development/Maintenance –  The digital age has brought about an increased number of software projects, which can be costly to develop in-house. Outsourcing app development and maintenance helps reduce overhead costs associated with software implementation and provides the necessary technical expertise to provide high service quality.

Cloud services – The usage of cloud services has been commonly associated with Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) businesses. This involves applications that are hosted by the vendor and made available to customers through a network (the internet). This approach lets businesses create and implement applications without needing to invest in the underlying infrastructure, reducing costs and increasing overall efficiency.

 

The Future of Technical Support Outsourcing

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  • Technical Support Outsourcing Market Growth

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the technical support outsourcing marketing is growing steadily. It is set to achieve a CAGR of 8% by 2022, denoting that the industry is about to expand due to new technologies and higher demand from businesses.

 

  • Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

IBM reports that 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without human agents by 2020. Customer-centric business practices are here to stay, and chatbots help businesses achieve this. By always being there for the consumer, their questions are quickly addressed in a fast and timely manner.

This opens up new opportunities for the tech outsourcing scene by creating new roles and functions within the industry. IT experts will now have to work with the latest technology like AR, VR, IoT, and the like.

 

  • Cloud Services

Cloud services are not just limited to enterprises anymore. Small-to-medium businesses are set to migrate to cloud computing to optimize their business process, increase productivity, and reduce hardware costs. It is projected that cloud traffic will increase 3.7 times by 2020.

This is easily becoming one of the top reasons why companies outsource IT support. It’s efficient, cost-effective, and these days, they’re a business staple.

 

  • Emerging Markets

IT services are commonly outsourced in India, Malaysia, and the Philippines. In the coming years, this is set to change. Studies suggest that new markets in Vietnam, Colombia, and the Czech Republic will compete with existing markets in offering the best and affordable tech support. This signals that demand is rising, and the tech support outsourcing industry is growing.

 

  • Augmented Reality

The adoption of AR can change the tech support industry as a whole by allowing remote teams to help each other more effectively. A great example is Porsche’s AR program Tech Live Look, which allows their tech experts in Atlanta to help on-site mechanics solve issues in various dealerships. They were able to cut down service time by almost half and communicate with other team members more seamlessly while in different locations.

 

  • Predictive Analytics

Data has gotten smarter with predictive analytics. Benchmarking and calculating performance improvements will become more manageable as new tech can now analyze past metrics, customer behavior, and service outcomes. This will allow businesses to focus on their ops and keep all teams aligned with their goals.

 

  • Rising Demand for Cost-Effective Solutions

Having onsite technicians can burn a hole in a company’s wallet. Outsourcing has long been proven to help lessen that cost, and still allow businesses to provide high-quality support internally and to their loyal customers. The rising demand for this service creates a bigger market share for the tech support outsourcing industry.

 

  • Network Security

A 2017 Enterprise IT Services Survey notes that networking security is the number one priority of digital businesses. Almost half (47%) of the enterprises surveyed mentioned they outsource data security more often than any other IT service.

With the recent data breaches from major digital companies (i.e., Facebook and Google) enterprises are now compelled to focus on corporate and customer data. IT outsourcing contracts will include specific clauses to prevent data breaches and manipulation.

 

  • Customer-centric Servicing

Automated customer service is not limited to time zones or public holidays. This allows companies to deliver round-the-clock customer service and resolve issues at a faster rate. In effect, this can increase brand loyalty.

 

  • Online Reputation Management

Companies, whether digital or not, all have an online presence. They quickly realize how pertinent having social reputation management is to their name, whether they tap social media, online PR, or SEO services from their outsourcing partner.

 

  • AI and Robotic Process Automation (RBA)

RBA will continue to lower the cost of outsourced tech support services. Companies will prefer vendors that can provide this versus those that can’t. This makes use of AI workers and robots to automate common and repetitive software development tasks for increased process efficiency and cost-savings.

 

  • Adopting Emerging Technologies

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and machine learning, among others, tech systems face a lot of advancements and updates at a much faster pace. Outsourced tech support agents are usually the best people companies can approach, as they are always updated with the latest tech buzz and innovative software.

 

  • Customer Identity and Access Management

CIAM software can provide a seamless cross-channel customer experience. It’s a rich database containing all information about your buyers. With this, both IT teams and managers identify the best way to market to customers. Yet another function businesses are looking to outsource.

 

  • Closer Relationships with Managed Service Providers (MSP)

The search is on for professional and loyal IT teams. Managers are now keen on the idea of having Managed Service Providers as consultants and business partners, further illustrating the importance of tech support for organizations.

 

  • Complete Integration from Managed Service Providers (MSP)

Companies prefer to have one MSP providing all their outsourced IT functions. In line with making MSPs business partners, this will allow for seamless integration, so that all business functions can work together in sync.

 

Final Thoughts

Thanks to our increasingly tech-filled world, IT services aren’t going out of style anytime soon. Effectively managed tech support and services can pose a lot of benefits for your business, from increased manpower and lowered costs to higher customer satisfaction and retention rates.

With the rising demand and advancing technology, the tech support sector is definitely poised to continue growing rapidly over the next few years. It’ll be interesting to see what other developments come next!

 

Contact us today to learn more about what the future of technical support outsourcing means for your business!