Custom software can be an expensive undertaking, and many clients look at software for their internal productivity or a website with some additional functions. There is nothing wrong with that approach, but let us open your eyes to the possibilities. Software-as-a-Service is a term used by the industry to describe software that is available to business via a cloud-based, multi-tenancy, licensing platform which is easily available to business through cloud based deployment tools. The software is mostly like any other software, but due to higher volumes, the software is subsidized and is OTS-like (off the shelf). Your software is most likely going to be web driven, and it may have some ‘in-the-cloud aspects’, but is it written for your business or for your clients? Why would you spend to create software for your clients? How will it help your staff?
No one person is an island, and your business depends on and is subservient to your clients. You are thinking of productivity, getting more clients, dealing with more clients more easily. But what about your clients dealing with you more easily? When you turn it on it’s head, and think of them first, an amazing thing happens. The functionality you think will help them, turns you into a better business. Imagine an order form, you want a tool to manage orders, who is processing the order, a list of orders and a status for each order. It would not be much more effort, to place the order online and to show the status of the order to the client. Consider an invoicing system to help you build and manage your invoices. Well what about a login for your clients to see all their invoices and the ability for them to see their payments?
Consider a hair salon where your clients can insert an appointment directly into your calendar and see when the next slot is available?
Sounds simple, but you would be amazed at the high percentage of requests we receive which do not want the business-to-client portion, but only serve as a management tool for staff, leaving the order form as a document that is still emailed through. It sounds mad, and it is. When you think of custom software for your business, rather think for your clients. Think clientzone, a login, emails, profile, communication and many more features. Allow your clients to update their banking details, allow your clients to get more interaction with your services. Serve and enable your clients. When you do, you can bolt on management features for yourself.
Custom software written as a service to your customers is where you gain competitive advantage. If you are going to spend money on productivity tools and custom software, double up the return on investment and incorporate your clients into your custom software development project.