Can Custom Applications Improve Business Efficiency? 5 Things You Must Know
If you're part of one of the many businesses using off-the-shelf software, you've no doubt noticed the inefficiencies you are forced to tolerate, and the frustrations and poor ROI that comes as a result. These should all be clear signs that you should probably be looking for other solutions - most likely, a custom application more suited to how your business works.
Custom applications bring a lot of good things to the table. They offer plenty of advantages over traditional off-the-shelf solutions. Whether it’s a digital transformation or improving business process management, a custom tech solution is something to consider for your business.
Here are five ways custom applications can benefit your business:
1. Automate menial, repetitive tasks.Custom applications can improve your business efficiency by automating repetitive tasks. Here are two examples:
Automatically moving data.
A custom application can be programmed to automatically transform idiosyncratic information into specific formats you set. It’s a more efficient way rather than manually exporting, converting, and reuploading the data, and reduces the chance of human error and delays and offers more flexibility in the types of data structures that can be worked on that off the shelf systems.
For all types of successful businesses, there’s always a workflow system. Projects need workflows to drive efficiencies in complex teams and environments and with a fixed workflow engine, your options to configure a workflow that suits you can be limited. A significant amount of time is spent on making sure that workflows are moving along swiftly.
Custom applications can save you time by ensuring you aren’t limited to default triggers and actions. e.g. Sally just approved this request, so the application can update status, auto-assign it to Jim for completion, email both of them to let them know, and create the related sub-tasks based on the request type.
2. Improve team collaboration.In order for businesses to effectively serve their customers, there must be a strong collaboration between all team members and departments. Times have changed, and quick collaboration within the team can make or break a business.
The traditional solution usually involves team members switching between emails, instant messaging and tasks systems to collaborate with each other. This means that they move from program to program to communicate. This is often inefficient and can result in a few mishaps and delays when one person communicates in one system, while their teammate is busy using another. Mainly, completing tasks and work may take longer or put on halt entirely.
Custom application development can prevent this from happening by creating a way for easy collaboration. It can connect existing tech stacks so team members can communicate directly with each other without moving from program to program. Through it, solutions travel faster, and the team can quickly act to new ideas and opportunities more effectively.
3. Give anyone access to data anytime.While many businesses have gone digital with their data and moved on from back offices filled with boxes of papers, that doesn’t necessarily mean that extracting data is easier. Sure, you may have saved office space, but you are now faced with a virtual space filled with network folders and databases and task systems that creates challenges in pulling data together from these different sources.
Say you are looking for financial data for your business’ annual report. There’s a high chance that you’ll have to pull the data from different sources. After requesting them, you’ll receive spreadsheets which you’ll have to organise in order to make the overall report. Just imagine the bulk of data you’ll have to go through each time.
Businesses generate various data every day. Keeping track of and aggregating them will take a lot of time. Moreover, it can be frustrating, or lead to missing/wrong information.
Custom applications solve this problem by automatically ingesting and transforming data sources to maximise data accessibility, as mentioned previously. This means that you won’t have to worry about compiling data manually. But more than that, custom applications can also auto-generate reports for you, or allow you to access real time dashboards to really step up your data analysis capability.
Another great advantage of custom applications is they streamline and centralise all the data. This means that they allow anyone to easily and quickly access information – which can be tailored with user-defined permissions so the right people have access to the right things.
Overall, maximising data accessibility using custom applications removes the waiting process and simplifies the access of data to all members of the team. It maximises transparency, growth and, most importantly, efficiency.
4. Offer better security.In a nutshell, when you have custom applications, you are a much smaller target than out-of-the-box solutions in the market – if hackers break into big out-of-the-box solutions, they get the data of all the clients of that vendor, including yours.
However, the possibility of hacking groups targeting your smaller tech solutions is much lesser than the possibility of hacking major out-of-the-box providers. In fact, these providers defend their system from hundreds or even thousands of attacks daily. Meanwhile, custom applications will barely register on a hackers radar as the targets are so limited.
That being said – this point only applies if you've followed security best practices when developing and maintaining your custom application, and ensuring the security measures implemented are a fit for your organisation (something that, as an ISO27001 certified organisation, April9 has quite a bit of experience with).
5. Helps maximise your tech investment.A custom application caters to your specific business needs. It gives you the functionality that is needed to run your business smoothly and more efficiently. Consulting with a strategic partner like April9 will help you determine the features in your application that align with your needs. It’s one of the best ways to make your organisation’s processes more agile, efficient and customer-centric.
Rather than being forced to use the generic design of an off the shelf system, with a custom application, you can customise the look and feel of your custom app, and this means that there is less challenge in technological adoption and training. There may still be a learning curve, such as the process of tech adoption, but less time will be spent on it.
Here, the interface and integrations will work the way your business finds it more convenient, familiar and valuable. You can even customise the design to look the same way as the tools that you are already working with.
Custom applications really do bring a lot to the table when it comes to improving business efficiency. In fact, they have steadily come to meet increasingly complex business requirements among modern organisations. However, there are still those hesitant to make the change. This is mostly attributed to the belief that custom application development is expensive when, in fact, it doesn’t have to be – in fact, using off-the-shelf software often ends up being more expensive, with a combination of the licensing costs and the revenue wasted on inefficient processes hurting the bottom line of your company.
Ready to have a conversation about improving your business efficiency through custom application development? Contact our solution specialists for a consultation and let's explore your modernisation possibilities.