It’s safe to say that almost every major business owner will at some stage hire a programmer or coder into their staff lineup. However, it’s not exactly clear what a coder does. You might have tried to apply for a coding job at a company and realized that the company hiring was something completely unrelated such as a beverage company or furniture dealership.
Although it may seem like completely unrelated industries, software developers are much-needed professionals in almost every large corporation. Much like how a business requires lawyers or accountants when they grow larger, a software developer is slowly becoming a business necessity due to how much flexibility and efficiency they offer. A software developer can create a variety of different services and products for a large enterprise to make it run more efficiently and increase productivity. Bespoke software is mandatory for any large corporation because there are limitations in traditional software packages that can’t be overcome.
The Advantages of Bespoke Software
When a company demands efficiency and productivity in their software, there’s no better method to achieve it than creating bespoke software. Bespoke software essentially means software that has been tailor-made for a specific use or application within a business. The development process can often be outsourced to a third-party company, or it can be handled in-house by a business’ own IT department and software development team. This is one of the reasons why developers are hired for jobs at companies that are seemingly unrelated to software development or IT in general. Companies need these teams of developers to create, manage and upgrade bespoke software that is tailored for their company.
For example, picture a company that runs a complicated logistics network that transports goods around the world. As a large corporation, it has thousands of employees that range from drivers to pilots, to captains aboard transport vessels, to warehouse staff that check in and check out goods from transport containers. If you looked on Google there will probably be some off-the-shelf software package that will allow a company to run a complicated transport network without much hassle. However, the features and the usability might not be what a company needs.
To remedy this, a transport company might create their own custom software that can be used on mobile devices that workers carry around. They could be built into the transport vehicles such as trucks, vans, ships and planes so that the software can track these vehicles with a GPS device. Those coordinates can then be broadcasted to managers around the world so that they know where their transport is and how long it will take for their orders to come. By using custom software, you can tailor your customer experience to their exact needs without having to go through third-party software. Since the software is developed in-house by a team of experts, they are capable of managing, testing, upgrading and improving the software without much of an issue.
Another great example of this is the private transport industry. A company like Uber employs many drivers around the world that all use Uber’s custom-made software that can be used on phones. It turns the average phone into a GPS tracker that also receives coordinates, orders and pickup locations that the driver can then read and carry out. Again, there are probably some off-the-shelf solutions that can help a small business create their own private transportation network, but using bespoke software gives the obvious advantage of being customizable to the needs of the business.
Protecting Your Software
Although custom software will strictly be used in-house, there’s no telling what could happen should a business go under, if the developers chose to steal the software and sell an alternate version of it, or if it is destroyed via malicious intent or because of a fault.
Software development teams often backup their software on a regular basis which prevents it from being ruined by hardware corruption or file errors. However, there are times when a disgruntled employee could potentially leak software, re-compile it to create their own versions to sell, or maliciously sabotage software which could lead to days or weeks of fixing before it is usable again. This, however, isn’t so much a problem with the software itself and is more to do with human resources and maintaining employee relationships, but it is still important to consider if you find that you have an angry or frustrated employee.
There are also code escrow services to consider should your business ever fail or go under. In these situations, the code you have and the software you’ve developed could be held in limbo and it might be unclear as to who actually owns the software. Escrow services allow you to continue developing your software even if your company is suffering from a financial situation so that your customers can continue using your products and services, or if you want to transfer your software to another business.
Improving Customer Service
Custom software is often used to improve a customer’s experience by tailor-making services and functions that work in the customer’s favour. A good example of this is a bespoke customer service process which utilizes custom software. If you have ever tried to return a product, request a refund or if you simply needed help with something you bought, then chances are you’ve probably encountered slow loading times, slow responses, buggy software that forces you into a queue or a representative that doesn’t make sense.
Most customer support software comes off the shelf and uses a very generic interface. The systems are also very archaic and they don’t take into account the business that is using it. For instance, if you use a very generic customer support software package but you are an online retailer, then there might not be a way for the customer to link their product details, order details or even their account name to their support ticket, which means that your support representative will have to manually search up an order ID, double-check with the customer and extend the process. This results in longer wait times and an inefficient customer service experience.
However, with custom made software, your customers can create support tickets that automatically link the order number in question so that your support representative can instantly see what item they are ordering, when it should have arrived, what issues it is encountering and other details that might be useful. This speeds up queue times, speeds up the process, and it makes the entire support experience more acceptable to the customer.
Customized Dashboards and Online Services
Another good reason to hire software developers is to create custom-made dashboards and online software that your customers can use. For instance, if you run an online storefront that sells physical products, you can custom-make an eCommerce system that will accept payments, where your customers can track their order status, and perhaps even record their expenses so you can reward them in the future like a loyalty scheme.
There are many eCommerce plugins available for most major website designers and platforms, but creating a custom piece of software will tailor it to your exact specifications and you won’t have to spend money on monthly or annual subscriptions to another company. If you have a knack for programming or if you don’t have much money to spend as startup, then simply outsourcing a one-time development project for an online storefront will be much cheaper than paying fees and subscriptions to another company.
You could also use online dashboards and account logins if you are selling services such as writing, designing or production. Many outsourcing companies allow their customers to log into a dashboard that will track the progress of all of their orders. If a client orders a logo to be designed, they will be able to see the order progress, get updates as the work is progressing, and even request changes to be made should the logo design not suit their needs. It’s easy to use for the customer, it improves their experience, and the freelancers or in-house staff that are providing the services have an easy way to check on their orders and get feedback from the clients.
Software development plays a major role in almost every face of a business. It helps to speed up mundane tasks, improve the customer’s experience, make your workers more efficient and productive, and is ultimately an investment that should be considered if your business is growing out of control.
Having software developers on your team can be bit of a hit or miss if you don’t utilize them properly, so make sure you read through the previous points before you make the decision of hiring a developer. Keep in mind that developers are very specialized and you will most likely need to hire a team if you want bespoke software development. Some developers might specialize in interface design, others might have a knack for networking, and some might specialize in mobile development. Make sure the team is diverse but can work with each other, and ensure that your investment pays off by creating effective software to boost your business.