, by  Tom Simnett

One size doesn't fit all

Off the shelf software doesn't work for every business

In our last blog, we dared to suggest that the customer isn't always right.

Yet we survived to talk some more!

During that particular post, we listed 13 steps that the developers at initforthe go through, to help customers work out exactly what it is they really need. Notice I didn't say want!

We also help our customers to understand what is involved in getting them from where they are now to where they want to be.

When looking at implementing business software systems, many companies fail to ask those all too crucial questions first:

-- Who are my stakeholders, my influencers, my customers and my deliverers?

-- What exactly am I trying to achieve?

-- What is being moved – data? product? people? – and many more steps…

-- What / who are my priorities?

-- What are my 'vital-to-have', 'must-have' and 'nice-to-have' features?

-- How much time investment is needed in the user experience (particularly for external facing issues).

-- What are the implications of NOT including something?

It is very rare to find a person who has already asked themselves all these questions. Someone who has the perfect plan, written down on paper, for us to be able to work to.

Many of them go down the basic 'off-the-shelf software route. But when off-the-shelf software is bought:

-- Internal business processes often get changed to fit the software, instead of the other way around

-- Vast sums of money can be spent on customising the application to the needs of the business cost of the licenses for a standard product most likely won't be a lot different to a bespoke solution

-- People just don't use it properly because it isn't the same as they're used to. You know how we all love change!!

-- The ROI is nowhere near as good as it could be

Every company's needs are absolutely unique - even those in the same industry. By investing in a bespoke software solution, you will become the owner of a fully scalable system that:

-- Does exactly what you need, when you need it

-- Already includes a review of what you currently do and what could be improved upon

-- Will have the buy-in from your team, since they will have most likely had input during the development phase; and understand the changes they need to make to ensure it's success

-- Will deliver the ROI you are looking for!

Still looking at something off the shelf?