With so many packaged software products on the market and so many ‘SaaS’ offerings available, why would companies ever consider building their own software? Well, as Kim S. Nash, Senior Editor at CIO Magazine points out in The Secret to Successful Software Innovation Projects, there are three primary reasons to consider this approach:
1. Creating Competitive Advantage
- Major stock exchanges run custom-built trading systems which they continually enhance for speed and stability.
- A leading private equity firm needed to go further than simply monitoring the financial health of companies they own, by leveraging custom software to apply analytics and proprietary formulas for a more accurate view of overall performance.
2. Supporting Unique Business Processes
- A top global metals manufacturer builds custom software to support areas of their business they believe have a competitive edge over their competition.
3. Inventing New Markets or Ways to Operate
- A consumer products manufacturer built a custom logistics system to ensure their products reached military bases in Afghanistan – fresh and in good condition.
Companies are not necessarily looking to go back to the days of big application development, but recognize the software they need to either create a competitive advantage, support their unique business processes, or invent new markets simply does not exist. If everyone had it, there would be no advantage.
The keys to successful projects lie in being able to:
- Accurately forecast cost and predict benefits;
- Appropriately staff the initiative with subject matter experts, business analysts, architects and skilled developers;
- Manage the project differently, leveraging effective project management tools and techniques.
Because fewer and fewer organizations engage in major customer software development internally, those skills may have eroded or atrophied over time. Rather than trying to re-staff these skills internally for one or several finite projects, instead leverage the collective skills and custom application development experience of a firm that specializes in this, like RDA has for 24 years, and focus your staff on what they do best in creating and delivering your organization’s products and services.
What’s your take? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
For more information, I invite you to visit our custom app dev technical services page.