Meeting Business Needs with Custom Software
The following case demonstrates the importance of understanding business needs in achieving a great final result for custom software. The accounting department for one of our clients uses a checklist to track the journal entries they’ve completed that month for a recent project.
A SharePoint list template seemed like a no-brainer when they told us they need to start with basically the same list each month. However, we determined that these lists will contain hundreds of items that the client needs to retain for at least seven years.
We also asked them about their future plans, and they mentioned their need to completely automate the process next year based on data from another system. Their original solution suddenly appeared less likely to have the scalability or flexibility needed to handle the client’s future requirements.
Digging a little deeper into the client’s requirements and not jumping to conclusions prevented us from delivering something that works now but will fail to meet the client’s needs in the future.
A Clear Understanding
We routinely meet prospective clients who need custom software or software consulting services. These clients have taught us that a clear understanding of the business value behind a software project is essential for achieving a successful result. We always make a maximum effort on each project, but this understanding has made a big difference in the client’s satisfaction with our SharePoint consulting services.
Solutions Equal to the Need
Most businesses have problems that we can probably solve with software. These may include simple issues such as tracking contracts or more complex problems like migrating algorithms from an Excel spreadsheet to a custom software application. However, businesses don’t necessarily need to solve every problem with software.
The best way to determine the optimum solution for a business problem is to understand its true cost. This value will tell you the amount of resources you should be willing to spend on the solution. You will also be better able to set your priorities and measure your return on investment. Remember to evaluate business costs in terms of time and personnel as well as money.
Our clients often lack a high level of confidence on the full cost of a problem they’re facing when we ask them questions about its scope. This can make it difficult to measure success or determine when a project is complete.
It may appear time consuming to build a business case for custom software, but it’s essential that you do so before committing additional money, personnel and time to a project. Failure to develop a business case will quickly result in budget overruns and failure to meet project milestones. It can also result in a final product that doesn’t completely meet your needs.
Evaluating the Options for Custom Software
The prospect of building a business case for a software solution can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Fortunately, we can evaluate your project to provide you with a better understanding of the value that it represents for your company. This approach can save you money in the long run by starting out with the right solution.
For more, read our post on building a business case for custom software…