Small and medium-sized companies have always looked at their goliath competitors with budget envy. “If I only had that kind of money!” Research and development. New processes. Marketing. There are so many ways to grow with the right funds. So, how can a small business compete with these behemoths? Let’s take a look.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software helps a business stay in touch with its customers. It has come to be known as “sales” software -- tracking sales activities, proposals, opportunities, and closed business. But a CRM is supposed to do so much more, including marketing communications, order fulfillment and tracking, and more. That’s what makes a custom CRM so valuable -- your business isn’t tied down to the features and specifications of an off-the-shelf CRM package that overlooks those other business functions. Let’s learn more about how you can really leverage a good CRM to make your whole business run better and more profitably.
Two things to consider when it comes to automating your business: first, your competition is doing it, so you don’t want to fall behind; second, there are opportunities to be had with automation. The time is now to automate your business process and take your business to that next level of profits, growth, and efficiency. What does automation involve? Let’s take a look.
A thorough Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis is a great tool to help CEOs and CFOs compare the costs of different software solutions. It takes into account the initial and long-term costs of creating new software for your business. Assuming that you’ve determined that your business is ready for custom software and business automation, your next step is a good cost analysis. Let’s take a look at this model.
I recently caught this article about the management company, Accenture, getting sued by Hertz for a botched software development job. Over the years, we’ve covered a lot of topics on what can go wrong in a project like that. But I wanted to use this example to reiterate some of those for you.
Your business is ready to create your own, custom software. Out of the box solutions no longer cut it. Now, you’re considering building your own in-house team versus outsourced software development. Now, we’re biased, but we believe you’ll see why using an in-house team can get out of hand when it comes to costs and training. Let’s expand on that.
Whether you’re starting from the ground up or turning your existing brick-and-mortar business into an eCommerce store, you will need to build a solid foundation for your online store. Oh, and don’t forget that business plan!
Once you’ve figured out that your business is ready for some custom software, your planning is likely to turn to budget. How much will the development of custom software cost your business? First, we’d be remiss if we didn’t ask the obvious question: how much will it cost your company NOT to build out a custom solution? Think of efficiencies, cost reductions, reporting, etc. Those need to figure into your overall cost analysis. So, let’s take a look at some other things you need to consider in calculating the costs of your software.
Adding the ability to accept online payments to your website can boost cash flows, create a better online experience for your customers, and even create entirely new revenue streams. So, what’s involved in adding an online payment system to your site? Let’s explore that.
House Bills 2259 has been introduced in the Arizona State Legislature by Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff. The bill has not progressed at this point, but it’s important for anybody running a website to keep an eye on what our elected officials are thinking. HB 2259 would have the effect of requiring any website with 500 or more users to create a user portal where those users can manage their personal information.
“If only our software did this one thing!” That’s a common frustration with business owners and their team when working with off-the-shelf software. Pre-built software serves a great need -- it’s ready to go and it’s cheap. However, as businesses grow, they quickly see the need to have a more customized solution. That’s where custom software comes in. What may seem like a significant expense at first quickly turns into an investment, as your software starts to make the whole operation run more efficiently. So, what are we talking about here with this ‘Custom Software’?
Build Loyalty Into Your Application
Here’s the thing. Businesses need to learn, grow, adapt, and do their best to see what’s coming at them. Your customers change. Your market changes. The way developers like Ping! Development build applications changes. As we look forward to new opportunities in 2019, we see that the year and the expected changes are not in a vacuum. They’ve been in the works for years. Keeping an eye on these trends is part of how we deliver a great solution for our clients. So, what do we see coming in 2019?
A digital product is online software that delivers a product or service via a web browser or smartphone app. Ping! Development’s Digital Product Development service offers our clients the ability to generate new revenue streams with these products. While the revenue models for digital products vary, the most common model is the subscription-based plan. Your company may be sitting on this opportunity right now with its existing products and software.
When an existing software solution needs to integrate with another application, we call that a ‘Connected Service.’ The goal is to pull in the power of existing processes to create more efficient business operations. While this might be part of your existing business logic, it is most often an add-on to enhance your processes through outside platforms. For example, an eCommerce system might tie into a supplier’s inventory management software to make order fulfillment faster and keep inventory costs down, thereby benefiting both sides of the equation.
Take the unique and complex way your business operates, and simplify that with custom software. Now make that solution available to your entire workforce and even vendors, suppliers and customers. That is Customized Business Logic, a technical term we use to describe how we develop software to help your business run more efficiently and your employees get more done.
A client portal provides your customers secure access to information about their account or service. The aim is to streamline interactions with your customers, from support to sales. A great example of a client portal is the insurance industry, where their clients can access ID cards, claim information, and order or change coverage. Imagine what a good client portal could do for your business. A well designed client portal will help your business create operational efficiency, a better customer experience, and even grow your revenue.
At Ping! Development, we offer Customer Support and Software Maintenance plans as part of our services. Businesses need to view software maintenance in the same way they view maintaining their vehicles and machinery. Lack of a good maintenance plan for software can lead to reduced efficiency, down time, and even security breaches. Keeping software updated will save money and lot of headaches, in the short term and long term.
Choosing the right software developer for your project can be a daunting, stressful process. This decision will likely have financial and operational impacts on your business for five to ten years to come. In previous posts we’ve covered choosing the right partner and reviewed when to fire a developer when things go awry. Now, we’ll review some of the early signs that the developer you’re evaluating might not be the right choice for your project. Too many times, we’ve seen clients make the wrong decision, only to end up spending more time and money cleaning up a mess.
From our previous blogs, you now know how involved the entire process is in developing custom software for your business, from gathering information to hiring the right developer. But what happens after the application goes live? There is always maintenance to be done, and a good software maintenance plan is key to ongoing success, not to mention keeping all of the components updated, secure and running smoothly.