Custom Software Apps & SharePoint Consulting

Software Selection and Your Business

Making good choices during the software selection process is critical to your business. Whether you go with an off-the-shelf product, a custom application, or something in between, the investment in time and resources means that your company will be using that software for years to come.

We started a series on the topic of software selection that will lead you through some of the key concerns around this process. Check out part one on the buy versus build spectrum here. For illustrative purposes, check out the below infographic, which can help your team understand the range of available options when it comes to software selection.

Software Selection: Buy Build Spectrum

Keeping Up With Evolving Software Capabilities

Periodic reassessment of the IT solutions serving your core business needs should also be an integral part of your systems lifecycle management. We all tend to focus on our daily operations and making best use of the tools at hand, but it’s prudent to regularly research available software applications that may enable your company to work more efficiently and at less cost.

Are you using an off-the-shelf application for your major operational needs, but employing custom designed software for specialized applications?  IT providers are constantly upgrading and expanding the range and depth of their software and software services.  Revisiting your current applications in light of newly evolved products and services may lead you to more efficient and less expensive software solutions.

Evaluating Off the Shelf Options

When analyzing how to best meet your IT needs, out-of-the box products should be examined first, as they’re usually less expensive than customized solutions offering the same functionality, and require less deployment time.  Is there a proven off-the-shelf application that fulfills your operational requirements, or can do so with optional available plugins or slight coding changes? If so, you should strongly consider it.

Classic examples of this are Oracle’s or SAP’s back office applications. In the arena of E&P operations, where production data must be quickly gathered, transmitted and assessed, Merrick System’s eVIN software is a premier off-the-shelf solution, easily integrated with upstream business and decision-making systems.

Less easily determined is how best to support key functions such as business intelligence, which derive their data from existing databases, but are supported by specialized applications structured to meet their firm’s unique needs.  Some of the business intelligence applications critical to the Upstream industry, such as operational, supply chain and asset management, often employ sophisticated, integrated data management solutions available from experienced E&P software consulting firms.

Evaluating Custom Software Options

There will always be some key business functions requiring innovative customized solutions.  Written in such languages as JavaScript, SQL or PHP, these applications derive their data from core databases or data warehouses, but are often built to meet the specialized requirements of senior management.

On line analytical tools (OLAP) are an example of such customized applications.  Created by software consultants to help interactively analyze multidimensional data, OLAPs rely upon information drawn from a company’s data warehouse.

Although the processes and rules that drive your business may be inherently stable, the software applications that help you manage and plan are constantly evolving.  IT firms and consultants are fast developing new products to reap the burgeoning potential they see in the booming E&P industry.  Periodically reassessing their offerings in light of your business needs, budget and current applications takes some time, but can return large dividends.

For help with the software selection process, sign up for a software audit today! We can help you understand how well your current software integrates, and then make recommendations on how to choose new software that fits with your existing and evolving business needs.


Nate Richards
Nate has over 18 years of software engineering and consulting experience. He founded Entrance in 2003. Nate is the past President of the Board of LifeHouse Houston, a Christ-centered maternity home ministry, and is past Executive committee member and Treasurer of Houston Achievement Place, a foster care and social skills training non-profit organization.
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