The case for Custom Software
Business requirements vary just as wildly as business processes, and most of our clients have unique needs that are best satisfied with custom-developed software or a combination of custom and off-the-shelf software working in unison. While it’s possible to get by using the latter, that’s precisely what you would be doing; yes, it is possible to keep a customers list in excel, but it’s far from ideal, or you could bill the work of your 5 employees using Quickbooks, but that means that someone has to sit and create all those work-orders and invoices at the end of the day, and that takes time (lots of it) and costs money (also lots of it) on the long run. A custom application could either take care of the entire process or it could be designed to work in unison with an accounting package, minimizing human intervention and the errors that come with that. It is actually even possible to have it email invoices to your clients, which would save you further time and money.
It is imperative for business owners to understand that custom software is not the exclusive realm of large companies. They don’t develop in-house systems simply because they can. They do it because they have looked closely at the numbers, have realized the benefits, and invest accordingly. Why shouldn’t you?
We have worked on all kinds of projects. Some of them have been geared towards automating one or more tasks, others to make the seemingly-impossible possible (we added barcoding capabilities to Quickbooks back in 1998, when only major retailers had access to this technology, as well as automated data entry and transactional exports, all impossible to do according to the product’s documentation), Time and Attendance, Workflow management for Service Businesses, Data migration and replication services for web site updating across a number of remote servers, Point of Sale, in a nutshell, a most diverse mix of applications and techniques, for an equally diverse set of requirements, and clients.
The one feature that is common to all the applications we’ve developed has been usability. In most cases, users needed no more than ten or fifteen minutes to start feeling comfortable using our software. Do you need to take a course in order to use a screw-driver? We feel exactly the same way: the tool needs to become invisible and users should be able to continue doing the work they’ve always done, without any change if possible, unlike other developers who are centered in applying the latest and greatest techniques and technology, with a complete disregard for the end-users’ comfort.
In addition to desktop or server applications and services, we also work on tablet/phone apps for Apple as well as Android-based devices.
A cross-section of what we’ve done…
We have created custom systems for Time-Management/Payroll, Documents Management, Data-mining, Inventory Rotation Management and Ordering. Within the Windows platform we have also worked on the creation of Services that replicate data across servers in multiple, remote, locations for Web-site backup and updating – these are programs that nobody looks at and run without a visible interface, interacting with key users by means of email and text alerts whenever intervention is required.