Where the road ends: Why is Custom Important

Identifying, solving and executing precise solutions for business problems can be a struggle for organizations of any size. This is especially challenging when solving problems that are counter to the culture or business norms of your organization.

This may sound harsh but let me know if you have encountered the following:

  • “That’s how we have always done it…”
  • “Leadership wants it this way…”
  • “We are tied to this solution for another X years…”
  • “We don’t have any more budget this year/Or budget for that project went to another team…”
I am a huge fan of design thinking and giving myself the time and space to solve problems to the best of my abilities. There are projects that require us to will a solution to success due to uncontrollable constraints. The most challenging projects are the ones that I relish most. It’s what keeps me involved and growing personally and professionally.

How do I know that I am at the end of the road?

No matter the approach when dealing with business problems and technical solutions there will come a day where the road ends and the ocean begins. At BlueFletch, organizations with projects at the end of their road typically fit in one of these buckets:
  • an industry leader looking to push the envelope
  • a desire to be the best in the world
  • when technology supports a trade secret (secret sauce)
  • the shear size of the organization and the amount of data overwhelms
For many organizations, custom solutions can be scary because of the many unknowns. How long will it take? How much will it cost? Can I can be assured that I won’t make the same mistakes as my competitors or past projects? The question often becomes “should I build a custom app that fits my needs exactly, or can I adopt off-the-shelf software to get close enough?
This is when you need a partner you can trust. Choosing the right solutions to help you grow and adapt is crucial. At BlueFletch, we have the technical prowess and industry experience to help your organization navigate the open waters.

Why a custom solution should be important to your organization.

With a custom solution you are not paying for features you’ll never use.It is tailor-made to your specifications in order to best serve your business needs. If budget is an issue, you can build the minimum necessary requirements and add more as time and resources allow. Custom software brings a flexibility and fluidity without unnecessary and expensive extra bells and whistles.

Custom solutions do not require you to change your business processes in order to fit a pre-packaged solution. With custom work, the solution does not dictate the process, but adapts to it. In addition, custom software can be changed quickly to keep up with a changing business. You don’t have to wait for an update or feature set.
When using off-the-shelf software, your organization is at the mercy of the software developer you are purchasing from. Off-the-shelf can be slow to change and adapt to industry needs while a custom solution is maintained for as long as you require it to be.
Implementing a custom strategy does not mean your off-the-shelf products are no longer relevant. Many organizations have found ways to strike a balance between custom vs. off-the-shelf solutions. Using commercial off-the-shelf software which can be modified to fit exactly with your requirements can be a cost effective compromise.
This is especially suited to workflow or process driven requirements where the engine and administration aspects of the application are already available. This way, the final custom configuration allows rule sets and processes specific to you to be easily implemented. This provides an immediate competitive advantage to the organization who is not then operating the same system as direct competitors.

Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if you can use out-of-the-box solution and fit a square peg into a round hole without too much pain or if you should build around the processes and systems you’ve worked so hard to develop.Custom solutions can be a tricky problem to solve but with the right partner it can an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

I have a half day ‘Get in the mobile game’ workshop that I provide to help organizations identify areas of improvement and next steps based on their specific needs. Feel free to contact with me with any questions or comments at richard.makerson@bluefletch.com.