Why Bespoke

 

Many smaller companies have computers, costing thousands of pounds, that are little more than glorified typewriters and hence a vastly underused resource.

The software on those computers is the route to making them more effective and productive for the business enabling it to save money, minimise mistakes and obtain critical business performance information.

However, although most companies have computers with Windows and Office already installed, that isn’t enough. Software that is written specifically for a business, to incorporate the rules of how it operates, to use the same language and terminology that the business uses and to automate the business’ common or repetitive tasks is the ideal way to maximise the computers’ contribution to the business and hence improve its profits.

With SUMMIT Directions any business can afford this type of software, and the surprising thing is that no one in the business needs to know anything about computers or software to benefit from it.

Bold claims? Yes they are, but in the 12 years that I have been helping companies of all different types, sizes and industries in this way, I know that they are true.

How can software save money, reduce mistakes and provide information?

Most business, in the course of their normal day-to-day operation, have some tasks that are repetitive. Often these can be automated so that, instead of taking 5 minutes, 100 times they can all be completed in 20 minutes. Such productivity improvements enable a business to limit its needs for extra staff which in turn means less costs.

Mistakes are very costly to a business since they require remedial actions or perhaps result directly in a loss of revenue. Mistakes are almost always a result of human error. Appropriate software can provide a large degree of checking and validation as it is used, hence preventing those errors from creeping in.

Every business, over time, accumulates a vast amount of data. Customers, orders, supplies, suppliers, returns, and so on. Key business decisions are usually much better made when they are based on a good understanding of various indicators and patterns within that data. The challenge for any manager is how to find those patterns buried inside it. Software, again, can help by sorting, filtering and summarising data according to whatever it is the manager needs to see – and by doing it almost instantaneously.

I can provide examples of each of these where software that I have provided has made a huge difference to the business.

But bespoke software is costly – isn’t it?

Modern tools and techniques enable me to create software that is specific to a company’s need at prices that are within most small business’ budgets.

The smallest project I have carried out, for a flying school, was a simple invoicing and reporting system which cost as little as £1,500. This resulted in not only time savings and error reduction but also in a much improved professional appearance to its customers.

The most complex project I have carried out that took more than 3 months to complete, which required both a comprehensive in-house database system AND a linked, sophisticated web site, was still less than £20,000.

The beauty, though, is not in the initial low cost it is the fact that the software continues working for the business year on year at no additional expense. When that is compared with hiring extra staff it really starts to look like an obvious choice.

Please contact me if you would like to find out more about the possibilities.

Can I afford bespoke software?

Contrary to popular belief, bespoke software doesn't have to cost 7, 6 or even 5 figure sums. These are the spectacular projects that hit the headlines more often because they have gone dramatically wrong.

Software solutions can be developed quickly and inexpensively, usually for far less than the annual cost of the most junior member of staff. 

Buying a package of software off the shelf may, on the face of it, seem a cheaper option, however there are significant hidden costs if you take that route. For example, someone has to work out:

  • how to install it
  • how it works
  • how to carry out your business operations using it
  • how to alter your business procedures to cope with its limitations or quirks
  • how to train your staff in the new procedures and in the use of the new software

All of these can be hugely time consuming and hence costly. There are also lots of opportunities for mistakes to be  made.

Bespoke software avoids all of these pitfalls and extra costs because the software works exactly the way your business works and hence your staff will have a relatively easy job learning the new software because it's already familiar to them.

Although the up-front cost of bespoke software appears more than off-the-shelf packages, the true 'cost of ownership' over 2 years, or often less,  will be significantly lower, AND you will have a far better solution as well.

SUMMIT has been developing bespoke software for its customers since 1998 and has successfully installed many tailored solutions.