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Custom software – what is expected from you as a client?

Has your company realized that custom software is the way forward for you? Then there are several things that help to lay the foundations for a successful project.

If you’re not sure what custom software is, have a look at our article 5 reasons to choose custom software.

A willingness to change

As the client, the first thing that you must have in place is the will to change and improve your processes. It’s important that you don’t see the development of new software as just a boring must-do or something that will probably lead to something good at some indeterminate point in the future. You must be able to critically review your current processes to be able to see the opportunities that your new software will create and, as a result, really understand what a positive change it will be for your entire organization. If the will is there, there are no limits when it comes to how much value can be created.

Buy-in from the management

The management team often consists of people who can, at least initially, be the most critical of large investments - but also the most positive if they believe in it - as they want to be able to calculate exactly when they will be able to see their return on investment (ROI).

As with all types of major changes, the management team must understand and believe in what is to be done. But it's not enough that they push through the decision – it is equally important that one or several members of the management team actively take part in the whole or at least large parts of the process. This of course depends on the size of the company and the scope of the project, but without an involved management team, it is often impossible to make quick decisions, especially when it comes to cost. An actively involved management team also sends out clear signals to the organization that the project is a high priority.

On the flip side, however – having only the management team or one or two managers drive the development of new software is basically a recipe for failure.

Include the right people

A great deal of commitment from the entire organization is required when you develop your own software, and the most crucial thing here is that the right people are included. If it’s only the management team pushing the project forward, it’s difficult to create internal ownership of the process.

Senior managers usually don’t work operationally in the system or processes being developed and are therefore usually not the best people to take part in the design of the software. Often, they may even believe that things are carried out in one way and as it turns out, they’re carried out in a completely different way. If so, it becomes a bit like when a child tries to get that square block into the round hole (you know those boxes with blocks in different shapes?). Either they push and push without getting it through or it goes down in the wrong place with a lot of space left on the sides. It can be a bit like that in a company too, unless those who work operationally are involved in the development of the software. The solution won’t work at all, or will be missing important functions that could easily have been put in place during development.

Unfortunately, this internal knowledge gap between management and employees is often particularly prevalent in larger organizations. The consequence of this for software development is that the wrong thing is built, and you end up with a very expensive and unnecessary investment that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.

In order to produce the best possible solution, it is therefore important that those who will actively use the software are also actively involved in its development. Not only will this make the process much more likely to succeed, those individuals will also feel a sense of ownership and thus be positive about the change as they have been able to participate and shape it according to their own thoughts and working methods. In short, they will know that the solution will facilitate their daily work.

Flexibility when it comes to time and budget

If you as a company have decided to develop your own software, you must be prepared for the reality that it will take time and cost money – a necessity for the finished solution to generate the highest possible value for you. Both your schedule and budget must be put in relation to what you are building - a solution that does not yet exist. It is therefore important not to limit yourself from the beginning, neither upwards nor downwards. Instead, invest in a reasonable – and spacious – budget to give yourself the best possible conditions for a value-creating final product.

If you’e in the early stages of thinking about software development, get in touch with us. We love to talk about custom software and also act as advisors to many of our customers when it comes to digitalization and tech strategy.

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