Spreadsheet of time estimates

The problems that need solutions

Custom software solutions are a good option for common business challenges:

  • Spreadsheets are a good example of a tool that are often used to get work done, but get stretched beyond their ability and often become a liability instead of a solution. Spreadsheets are great for small problems that don’t need to scale. The first option to scaling a spreadsheet is to see if there is an already existing commercial product that can do what you need at a reasonable cost, or possibly a more scalable low-code solution, but a final alternative is a custom software solution that is designed to fit your business needs and can scale.
  • There might be great commercial products available for what you need, but it could be that the price is too high and many of the features aren’t what you need, but you can’t get a compromise from the vendor (perhaps they know there isn’t much competition). While a custom software solution is a pricey alternative in the short term, a well designed system can pay off in the long run on savings with licensing fees.
  • If you have multiple places where you store the same data or need to share data, but the two software systems don’t work together, a custom integration is a great alternative to double data entry. Most software systems provide an interface for sharing data. A great example, one of which I have a little experience with, is getting customer information from Quickbooks into an order entry system which allows the staff taking orders to see current customer account information as they enter new orders in.
  • If you already have a proven set of tools and processes that you’ve developed over many years of work and would like to take your tools to the next level as part of a business plan then a custom software solution would be a great way to ensure that your tools and processes become your trade secret. Your tools and processes can be locked safely away on an application server and your customers can interact with your tools as part of your service to them.

Custom software solutions are expensive in the short term and so a cost analysis needs to be done to see if a custom solution is the right path forward. I can provide estimates for many kinds of projects that fit in my areas of expertise and in these cases I can commit to a price so that you know the costs and timeline of my part of the work before committing.

Next: Designing a solution