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3 common myths that have kept you from developing a custom software solution for your contracting business

3 common myths that have kept you from developing a custom software solution for your contracting business

3 common myths that have kept you from developing a custom software solution for your contracting business

Is custom software out of reach for you?

Whenever I discuss custom software with owners and managers of contracting businesses , there seem to be a few common misconceptions. The word custom often invokes comparisons to expensive Italian wardrobe or otherworldly luxuries. The reality is that custom software is a great way to create business tools designed to achieve specific business goals. It’s important to dispel some of these myths in order to appreciate the true potential and overall benefits of custom solutions.

Myth #1: Custom software is really expensive.

Reality

Custom software CAN be expensive, but it can also be built to the exact specifications within a reasonable budget, making it cost effective. As a matter of fact, when custom software is developed using free open source technologies, it can be significantly cheaper than monthly subscription-based products. With custom software, you can start small with a minimal feature set and grow at your own pace.

When comparing costs between subscription based and custom software make sure to also consider projected future costs. For example, when your company is in startup mode you may not mind paying per employee for a subscription product but once your company begins to grow those costs start to mount. With subscription services, you’re often stuck with a rigid pricing plan that forces you to over-buy ahead of time. How many of you have seen pricing models that force you to buy more than you need as soon as you outgrow the starter tier? Countless service providers sell their licenses in multiples of tens or hundreds and these plans are clearly designed to benefit the seller instead of the buyer.

Myth #2: It doesn’t matter if I own my own business tools.

Reality

Business managers have traditionally overlooked how volatile some of the subscription products can be even when they come from large trusted companies. Whenever you decide to use tools that you do not own you are at the mercy of someone else’s development schedules, forced upgrades or suggested migration paths.

The reality is that even large software providers can have uncertain futures, be acquired by competitors or go out of business leading to serious disruption within your organization. Owning your own software tools provides your business with the ability to control your own upgrade path as well as plan for future development and support costs.

Myth #3: It’s difficult to find developers for custom software.

Reality

We encounter a lot of managers who feel that by using one of the large platforms (i.e. Salesforce or Microsoft) it will be easier to find developers and those developers are going to be cheaper and more available. Instead, everyone should take a good look at the hourly rates of custom developers versus platform developers. What you will find is that custom software can be built with popular frameworks that have a very strong development community.

For example, it would be easier to find PHP or WordPress developers vs. Salesforce or SharePoint developers. This case is becoming stronger as more organizations build custom solutions based on open source Content Management Systems (i.e. WordPress, Drupal) and languages (PHP, JavaScript). For those who do not want to hire developers directly, there are excellent small development teams that can be integrated into your business using agreements that give you only the services you need without all the fluff of a tiered pricing plan.

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