Most of the time there are off the shelf products that will get close to what you need. But you will probably find that they only get you about 80% of the way to where you want to go. That’s where a new tool is required. Something that will work exactly the way your business needs it to.
Like anything, you need to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of creating new software because it can be expensive. Think of accounting software, you can get a copy of quickbooks (the popular small business accounting software) for $50/mo. There’s no way any software company could build quickbooks for less than 3,000 (5 years of paying $50/mo). If quickbooks would solve your problem, there’s no point having your own software created. But there are cases where it does make sense.
Let’s say your company has a unique billing process that doesn’t fit with any off the shelf software. Maybe you could hire 2 people - find them, train them, pay their benefits - and then you could use them to act as a buffer for your team to make that off the shelf software work. That would cost you at least 100,000 per year. If you were to create a tool that fit with your workflow, you could avoid that cost. Building that tool might cost you 70,000 once and 10,000 per year after that to make minor changes and updates. I think you can see the math on that one. Already in the first year you’re coming out ahead.
If I were to get new software built, how would it work?
At Blue Giraffe we’ve created a 7 step process that we’ve carefully hardened to make sure we get the results you want. First, we discuss your situation and learn about your business. Second we map out your process and find where we can create efficiency. We review our findings with you and ask for your insight. Once we’ve established what process changes we’re going to make, we create wireframes. Wireframes are low resolution photos of what the final software will look like. Again, we review these with you and verify that they make sense for your business. Finally, after we’ve confirmed that we’re on the same page with the diagram and wireframes, we go and build the software. That’s a brief summary, you can find a more formal write up of our process at /our-building-process.
That’s all we have to say for now. We’d love to chat software with you. A great way to do that is through our email list. We send out regular posts on software related topics. It’s mostly information and we think it’s pretty cool. You can sign up below.