Why you should consider developing systems and software in-house from scratch

From CMS, to HR, to scheduling, there are a whole host of systems that impact businesses on a daily basis. In many cases, choosing an off-the-shelf solution is the way to go.

However, there are some instances where developing your own software from scratch could actually be the perfect answer to your business’s problems, and in the long run, could save you time, money, and effort.

There are always pros and cons to developing your own systems.

The obvious con is simply having the time and resources to design and build an entirely new system from scratch.

However, most of the time, this is simply a matter of finding the right person for the job and having a clear vision for why you want to DIY. Despite the initial investment, developing custom systems save you both time and money over the long term.

Building your own system your own way ensures you’re free to implement your business’s unique logic and workflow, one that is explicitly created for the day to day user – whether that’s your staff, your customers, or your leadership team.

You’re not restricted by an off the shelf solution that may work well for some people and not for others. Suppose you are creating a customer information form.

You may want to start off with the customer’s name, phone number, address and then insert the job details. When using an off-the-shelf system, you may be limited to a specific template that doesn’t have the flexibility you need.

By developing your own system, you’re able to pivot faster – assuming that you or someone on your team understands how the system works.

Businesses face daily challenges, and having a tool that is designed solely for your specific needs is a great resource to have in your armoury.

Having your own in-house team able to make a quick change to the software is a powerful tool. Remember, it’s your software, and you can do what you like with it.

Ability to pivot faster will also help you stay one step ahead of the competition, who may be facing the same problems but are most likely restricted to an off the shelf solution.

How effective is the in-house software designing trend?

For example, in my own company, Service Today, we once faced an unexpected security risk relating to customers’ cash payments.

Thanks to our easily adjustable system, we were able to quickly create a risk-free payment solution that allowed cash transactions to become better tracked – solving the issue and maintaining safety and security around cash payments.

Tailored solutions are not only great for helping you to run your business better but can actually increase the value of your business.

With custom solutions, you own the intellectual property (IP), and everything that you build is your IP. If you decide to exit, your company valuations could skyrocket as a result.

In contrast, off-the-shelf solutions provide no added value to your business, because they aren’t your IP – you are only hiring their IP. If the software company you’re using decides it wants to raise its prices, it can.

You as a customer have little to no say in the matter, and yet even just a small price hike could have a big impact on your bottom line over the long term.

There are even examples of companies doing a complete turnaround thanks to the adoption of technology-first approaches. Did you know that Slack, started out as an internal piece of software built by a game development company called Tiny Speck?

The game they were building, Glitch, eventually failed, but the software they invented to communicate between their US and Canadian offices went on to become one of the most popular work communication tools in the world.

The same thing happened with Basecamp, which started as a web development company. The software they created to help keep their projects on track is now used by over 3.5 million people worldwide.

Even if your business isn’t destined to become the next Slack, these stories remain great examples of what building technology for a specific purpose can do.

Finally, off the shelf solutions allow you constant, unobstructed access to all customer data. In a world where cyber security is a massive concern for businesses, any chance to make your customer’s data even more secure should be welcomed with open arms.

You only need to look at sites like haveibeenpwned.com to realise that leaving your data in the hands of the tech giants isn’t a safe or secure situation to be in.

So if you’ve been feeling frustrated with your current software, or you have an incredibly specific need that you don’t feel matches any of the solutions currently in market, why not design your own?

You’ll find that in doing so, you’ll have more control, more flexibility, and a better understanding of what your business truly needs to do what it does best.

Early in his career, Zak Saboune recognised that being a skilled trades person wasn’t enough in today’s competitive world. Zak’s strong belief in reliable on-time performance and predictable, honest prices led him to found Service Today, a professional home services company offering services including emergency plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling.