Custom Technology: Should Your Business Invest In It?

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When it comes to choosing software and machinery for your business, there are lots of off-the-shelf options that you can buy. But what if none of these tech solutions meet your needs? 

Another option is to make your own software or your own machinery. This could include building an app that allows you to access all your company resources in one place or building an industrial machine that can carry out all the tasks you need it to. 

Custom technology has its pros and cons. Below are just a few questions to ask yourself to determine whether it’s worth paying someone to design and build your own software/machinery.

Is there an off-the-shelf solution out there for you?

Before splashing out on custom tech, you should make sure that there’s not already an off-the-shelf solution out there for you. 

For instance, if you want to be able to do your accounting, marketing and HR all from one place, you could find that there’s already an all-in-one software solution out there to suit your needs. 

You should only make your own software or machinery if you’re certain that there’s nothing out there for your unique needs. For instance, if you need a manufacturing machine to mass-produce a unique kid’s toy that you’ve designed, you may have no choice but to design your own machine.

Who will build it?

Unless you’re a software developer or an engineer, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to build your own custom tech. This means finding a suitable bespoke technology developer. 

There are lots of private software development companies that can build custom software and apps for you. Spend your time doing your research into these companies to compare their pricing, their reviews and their method of development (how long do they take to build software? And do they adopt an agile or waterfall approach?). 

When it comes to custom machinery, there are companies such as https://miselectronics.com/ that can handle the electronics for you – this could be basic electronics or a more complex electronic project such as custom IoT technology. As with comparing software developers, you should compare the prices and reviews of multiple manufacturers to find the best one for your needs.

How will you finance it?

Custom tech is likely to be expensive to produce. While you may be able to save some money by shopping around for quotes, you’ll likely still need to consider options such as loans.

Some companies may offer their own monthly finance schemes along with ongoing maintenance costs. This could save you having to shop elsewhere for a lender. 

Another way of affording your software or machine could be to seek funding from an investor. If you’re a startup, this could be a good option – you can find information on how to seek investment as a startup here at https://about.crunchbase.com.  

What type of ROI can you expect?

Custom technology may cost a lot of money upfront, but it should ideally save you money in the long run. Many people build their own all-in-one software as a way of reducing the need to pay multiple software subscriptions – this could save you money in the long run. Custom machinery meanwhile may even be able to speed up productivity so that you’re able to serve more customers and make more money. 

Try to do a few financial projections ahead to work out whether the ROI is worth it.

 

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Jennifer Evans
President, @B2BNewsnetwork (launched Nov 2014). Content, community and analytics obsessed. Inventor @squeezecmm. Past chair, @itac_online @whiteribbon